Renee Luna Bebeau
Renee Luna Bebeau has been an artist since she was a child. Over the years her spiritual connection grew within her practice. In the 90’s she learned the art of henna. When she was unable to draw henna on people during the pandemic, she practiced on round wooden disks to create beautiful, intricate mandalas.
Renee is bringing her henna mandalas to Beloit where she hopes guests will find their own spiritual connection with her work. Whether her art brings you peace or brings you closer with your subconscious, you’re sure to feel something thought provoking. Check out her incredible pieces when you do something different on October 15 at DEVIATE.
How would you describe your work?
I work in many different mediums in my art practice but for this show, I'm focusing on my henna mandala art. This series is created with henna paste on wood to produce a mandala which is a decorative disk used for healing and meditation to promote relaxation, higher thought, focused attention and astral travel. A mandala is a portal or doorway to other dimensions or to your subconscious.
Where do you find your inspiration?
I am inspired by sacred geometry, symbolism, nature and magic. I often start a piece by choosing a card from a tarot or oracle deck and meditating on it until I feel the urge to make marks. I will usually start with a few pencil lines of circles to set the space and then allow the piece to evolve in the moment. Nothing is planned ahead of time.
How long does it take for you to do a piece from start to finish? Each mandala takes anywhere from approximately 10 to 30 hours including drying time for three coats of polyurethane, depending on their size. I start with a compass and pencil to sketch the foundational design and then I use henna paste to draw the line work and to create tonal shades and textures.
The medium I use is henna paste. This is made from the dried leaves of the henna plant, crushed into a powder, mixed with lemon juice, essential oils and sugar. It is then put into a plastic cone or tube used in the application.
Usually henna paste is used on skin-- traditionally on the hands and feet of brides in India and Pakistan. I experimented with henna on wood years ago and loved the result. During Covid, I couldn't henna on people so I continued my practice on round wooden disks to create mandalas to satisfy my need for henna. I buy the henna paste from an artist in CA called Gopi Henna who I follow on Instagram.
Where can we find your work? Examples of galleries, stores, and events you have been involved in. I sell my work out of my art studio, online through my website and social media posts, gallery shows, shops and markets. www.reneebebeau.com @reneelunabebeau on Instagram Renee Bebeau on Facebook
Is this your full-time job? If so, where do you work? I am a full time artist (henna, painter, print maker) reiki healer, spiritual guide, fortune teller, art instructor, curator and drummer.
I work out of my art studio in Riverwest, a neighborhood in Milwaukee, that I share with my artist husband, Todd Mrozinski. It is a 1,200 square ft space equipped with an etching shop and lots of room to paint and host clients for studio visits, open house events, workshops and classes.
What are your future goals for your pieces? I am in the process of creating an oracle deck of cards, soon to be launched, using the images from the henna mandala series as the main subject of the deck. It will be a tool that can be used by anyone to get a message from your Higher Self or to deepen your meditation practice. I'm super excited about my first deck!
What do you want us to know about your art, your design, or anything at all?
My art has a spiritual component which offers the viewer access to other dimensions and has the ability to shift the energy in a space, like for the purpose of Feng Shui. Feng Shui is a practice of arranging the pieces in living spaces to create balance with the natural world. These mandalas are representations of our complex universe, chaos in balance represented by all the designs and patterns that your eye can get caught in to induce a calm, relaxed state.
What is your background? I have been an artist since childhood in many various ways. I took art classes in high school and then attended Beauty School which was a creative outlet in a sculptural way. I am a self taught artist who has been heavily schooled and influenced by my husband who is a master in the fields of art history, drawing, painting and printmaking to name a few. I resumed painting again in 2011, encouraged by my husband, after a very long hiatus and now the creative flow gets stronger every day.
I learned the art of henna in the late 90s from a man named Damon Henderson who came from Chicago looking to do henna in our tattoo shop. I did not know what henna was at that time and was intrigued by it so we allowed him to offer henna at the shop. He taught me everything about it from mixing the paste, to ways of application and design ideas. I am ever grateful to him for instructing me with this ancient, sacred artform.
What are you most excited about for DEVIATE? I am most excited to be able to connect with other artists and guests that attend the show! Also very excited to perform and to create a mystical interactive experience for our guests.
Be a voyeur as I apply henna to my model for the first few hours of the show--see the designs appear in a hypnotic and satisfying way.
Then experience a mystical, interactive experience where guests can visually "enter the portal" of a mandala for a few minutes while I perform a reiki healing/cleansing on them. Reiki is a healing modality that involves using the hands to hover over a person's body to move or awaken the energy of the body/aura. You may experience astral travel, messages from beyond or momentary relaxation all during this high energy event!