Ben Taylor

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My life has always leaned heavily towards the creative. Born 1970, in Australia, and growing up in Africa and Scotand, my childhood was full of active imagination, nature and many hours creating. After school years, Art College, and then a H.N.D. in traditional/industrial Modelmaking which led to a decade working as a freelance modelmaker (architectural, product design and advertising). Five years employed as an external lecturer by Chelsea College of Art & Design, teaching model making to interior design students.

A period of partying and travelling fits in hazily around this time...

I retrained during the emergence of CGI (Computer Generated Imagery), and set a different course as the next decade went digital. I was asked to set up a CGI studio in London for an image retouching company, Act Two. Here,I specialised in creating photo-realistic still images for blue chip global ad agencies. The studio became its own company, Um..CGI, with offices in London and New York, and I became a Director. As my role became more about art direction, management and shmoozing, so my hands-on artistry started to take a back seat.

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 Whilst life might have looked good from the outside, my heart was telling me that my happiness did not lie in this direction, so I quit, travelled to Africa to undergo a rite-of-passage initiation into an ancient shamanic tradition, moved out of London to a cabin deep in the woods on the edge of Dartmoor, Devon, and started to engage with life in a different way. Becoming a trapeze artist, a DJ, deep-diving into the realms of shamanic plant medicines, learning songs and instruments from African forests, and after years of working for other peoples designs and ideas, I finally began a re-exploration of my own artistry and inspiration.
    
My artwork practice (using the moniker of Mometo), can be roughly divided into sculptural work, which utilises many natural materials found on my travels (driftwood, feathers, bones, seeds etc), and more figurative, abstract and traditional mediums of oils and acrylics on canvas.
    
I work as an artist and teacher, a gardener and a guide. What i promote is the deep meditational experience, the joy and limitless potential that comes from the process itself, once we move beyond our own self-criticism and identity with the work. My experience as a teacher at CoLab, a crisis centre in Exeter, has shown me the deep theraputic benefits bestowed upon those who engage with creativity.
    
For me artistry, music, and movement are intimately connected with personal well-being. A decade of investigation into indigenous shamanic cultures and the study of Pygmy polyphonic music, alongside three decades spent in many creative worlds, has, for me, validated this statement.

 
 

Ram Chatlani.

I was born in 1958 and was educated in England. I currently run Tourné as a retreat centre and bed and breakfast with my wife Paula and our nine year old son Jiva.

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In the 1980’s I practiced as a criminal defence lawyer, appearing in several high profile public order cases arising out of the social unrest of the Thatcher years. During my time in the English legal system I gained insight political and legal polarity arising out of the miners strikes and the violent unrest in city centres.

After ten years as a barrister, I took up an offer to work as a professional storyteller, working in schools, giving trainings to teachers in accordance with the emerging national curriculum, performing in theatres and touring. I was also a support drummer and musician during that time.

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My own experiment in artistry had already begun while still at the bar, designing and hand making mandala painted board games. This eventually grew into a collective of artists and craftsmen and I was eventually made a member of the Sussex guild.

During the 1990’s, while making and painting hundreds of mandala designs on wooden board games, I began to devise and offer workshops and retreats. Since about 1996 I have regularly led retreats in different disciplines-Taoist, Buddhist meditation traditions as well as having devised and led high impact retreats and remotely supervised study courses in both /french and English in the Toltec tradition.

I moved to France in 2003 and was invited to teach meditation and chi gung at the Zen dojo in Lyon, which I did for over 6 years. During that time I ran a series of retreats and workshops including weekly course work for participants called the 100 Days.

To date, I continue to offer retreats both publicly and privately, based on the importance of the natural world, on relaxing as a means to open to inspiration and maintaining a healthy body and mind. I have worked increasingly regularly with people actively engaged in different areas of business, mainly sharing methods of restoring energy and receptivity as an essential foundation for success.

Receptivity has made collaboration with Ben even more meaningful. I’m recognising the signs that our proposal will be very useful to people who feel they are ready to allow the creative force rather than mass influence and habit to guide them.