In the artist’s life, the rewards are few and the indignities many. A slap in the face is more likely than a fond pat on the shoulder or an encouraging thumbs-up. This harsh reality was challenged recently when I received a precious gift, a troublesome jewel of affirmation and recognition. I have a new nickname.
Since I am making art that issues the sublime, a Buddhist scholar in Alaska has come to the conclusion that I am the earthly manifestation of the prophesized Buddha of Joy.
Frankly, I am beginning to think he’s right. I’ve always had a little glow.

It beats the hell out of “knucklehead” or “asshole.” Buddha of Joy has a happy ring to it. You can’t say those three little words with anger or contempt. The title will look great on a business card.

Weary, my days and nights have been consumed with the production of a large conceptual piece. Over 3,100 images, five books, seventeen videos, six essays, over 500 web pages, three shows and 200 objects is a lotta work. Time has been thankless and the isolation brutal.
In the middle of this sweaty maelstrom, I received an email from a Buddhist scholar in Alaska. The studied gentleman had seen “Fortuna Rising” my recent exhibition at Western Project. Every week, over twenty-one weeks, the Internet show presented a series of philosophical notions or ideals that together define a thorough cosmology. In short, salvation can be found in the search for the sublime. Fortuna Rising led the scholar to conclude that I am the prophesized “Buddha of Joy” who has been sent to this earth to show humanity a few new things.

With divine manifestations bouncing in my head, I got a little giddy with the possibilities. The Buddha of Joy would always get the best table without a reservation. I could upgrade from coach to first class. I might even get crazy comp’d like a George Clooney.
As an endorsement, this can be a slam-dunk. “The Buddha of Joy sez Get Your Zen On with new Pepsi-Zero!” “Color me Nirvava!” “Lighten your soul and your wallet at the Buddha of Joy Weekend Car Blowout Event!”
I’ll probably need an agent.

As an introduction, my new designation is sure to impress.
“What do you do?”
“Funny you should ask,” I say, as I coyly glide my finger along the rim of a martini glass, “I happen to be… the Buddha of Joy.”
Depending upon the situation, I wonder if I can change it to Buddha of Love? It might help seal a deal.

These were exciting possibilities with much to think about. Do I look good in saffron? Must I gain weight? Can I keep my bad habits? Do I have to go to Buddhist school? In these quietly sober moments, I recall my grandfather, or maybe it was Obi-Wan Kenobi, who once said that with great power must come great responsibility. This was the second shoe to drop.

Having gleamed a little off the Internet, I wish to teach you all that I have learned. It seems that the Maitreya Buddha, a self-professed big chief, has a bit of work on his hands. And now I, the Buddha of Joy, am here to help. Like Peter Parker trying to make sense of his destiny and a spider bite, I’m learning that my cool new moniker comes with a history, a future and a price.

With the End of Times just around the corner, there is a palpable fear with regard to the Apocalypse. According to written reports, the Godzilla-sized angry Madhi and the angry Jesus are going to settle it once and for all, mano a mano. If you believe what you read, it’s going to get messy on a big, big scale. Something even FEMA can’t handle.
Do not fear. I have just learned that it’s not going to play that way. No Roland Emmerich stuff. (As it turns out, the Apocalypse and all of the doom, gloom and guilt were all about tithing and book sales.)

Just when the big boys are about to square off, suddenly the Maitreya Buddha appears, shames the angry religionistas and unites the world in one universal faith. (There was no mention of a global currency.) Unlike the G20, this Buddha will introduce the Age of Aquarius, a new era of universal harmony and love.
And I hope a whole new pop culture. We badly need a makeover.

As prophesized, this Buddha of Joy has been sent to this earth and I’m hard at work. My Buddha of Joy job is to teach the world about the transcendent joys of beauty and, conversely, the sublime beauties of sadness.
Since my artwork has the same MO, it’s an easy slam-dunk. I have the chops, and now I have the cred. It’ll help the fourth show, “Fetish Fortuna.” It’s a doozey.

And it looks legit. From what I am learning, the Buddhists have a direct line to the higher power. They don’t need a Pope or a Cleric to rubber-stamp my application. I’m in. I can write my own canons and fatwaas.
That’s Mister Buddha of Joy to you.

GORDY GRUNDY is a Los Angeles based artist and writer. His comprehensive new work of ideas and relevancy, “Fetish Fortuna”, can be found at