about the concept
In January I embarked on a year-long project focused on my interest in the enneagram typing system. If you’re not familiar with it, the enneagram is a wisdom tradition that holds that there are 9 basic archetypes of personalities that humans adopt in their early childhood as coping strategies. The theory is that many of your struggles from adolescence on are in response to these coping strategies failing you. I’ve found this to be incredibly enlightening for myself, as I self-examine, but also as I live in community with others.
For this art project I am creating 9 pieces of visual art to represent the 9 enneagram archetypes. Each piece will be a different medium with a unique subject matter correlating to each archetype’s defining characteristics. This creative process has turned into a kind of performance art for me as I attempt to “live” -- more or less -- with the approach to life of each type as I create the corresponding piece about that type.
Over the course of this year I will be working on the enneagram project as a whole. The winter and spring months will be where I focus on creating the pieces of visual art and embodying the coping strategies of each type. Throughout the summer months I will work on writing an essay to accompany each piece. In the fall of the year I will develop a catalog with the collection of my work. The year will culminate with an interactive event showcasing the work in which participants will be invited into an active engagement with the art as well as the enneagram wisdom teachings.
I have always been interested in finding a way to connect to a group that wasn’t defined by culture, nationalism, or ethnic divides. A lot can be said about the blunders of jumping into another box that separates humans, but I am discovering many truths about myself and others that I want to share through this process, all the while trying to hold it lightly as just another flawed attempt at capturing the human condition.
about the artist
Rebekah Neel is an artist, art educator, and massage therapist. Raised in China, Hong Kong, and Thailand she has found her home in Southern California. Currently, Rebekah works as an education specialist at the Pasadena Museum of California Art, and as an after-school art educator in Los Angeles. She is deeply fascinated by the individuality found in our vast humanity and this is typically her inspiration for personal works of art. Rebekah is a Type 9, an ESFP, and a Ravenclaw. Among her favorite things in the world are lavender lattes, time travel, David Bowie, and learning about the human body.
level ground partnership
Having been a long time volunteer and member of the Level Ground Collective I am overjoyed to have the creative resources of this incredibly artistic family come along side me as I attempt to complete a very large project! Many Thanks to Samantha Curley and Leslie Foster for their partnering support through Level Ground!
Recently I was honored to be a guest on the Level Ground podcast, Why We’re Friends. On the show I talk more about the enneagram and this project. Check out Why We’re Friends wherever you get your podcasts and look for episode 2.4 ”Nine Types with Wings on the Side”.
The 9 archeTypes
1 - the perfectionist / principled, orderly, ethical
2 - the giver / nurturing, generous, sensitive
3 - the achiever / driven, charismatic, active
4 - the tragic romantic / emotional, creative, melancholy
5 - the observer / analytical, rational, reserved
6 - the loyalist / responsible, loyal, organized
7 - the enthusiast / playful, energetic, spontaneous
8 - the challenger / direct, passionate, guarded
9 - the peacemaker / agreeable, relaxed, complacent
January / create visual works for types 8 & 2
February / create visual works for types 4 & 1
March / create visual work for type 7
April / create visual works for types 5 & 3
May / create visual works for types 6 & 9
June / begin writing essays for all types
July / finish editing essays for all types
August / begin to edit and design catalog
September / finish catalog and send to printer
October / event production
November / interactive event
December / the great beyond...
Proposed budget for art supplies: $950
Proposed budget for catalog production: $850
Proposed budget for interactive event: $1,200
Grand total: $3,000