Guest Spotlight

Christy Rupp

We have the coolest guests! An adventure isn’t just about the itinerary–it’s also about who you share it with. We want to turn the spotlight on some of our guests and what they’re passionate about.

We had the good fortune to meet eco-artist Christy Rupp when she joined our first Pilgrimage to Ladakh, a wonderful partnership we have with Tricycle: The Buddhist Review magazine. We were thrilled when she later came with us on our epic Galapagos Islands tour!

Christy “burst onto the New York art scene with ‘Rat Patrol,’ a street art response to the sanitation strike of 1979.” I love this entire Hyperallergic interview because I think it gives a peek into Christy’s practicality and her deep compassion; her works make you want to learn about these important (if daunting) topics which are so important but often overlooked. (Here is a look at Rat Patrol, since I know that got your attention.)

Ok, so, don’t tell Christy, but I’m a little obsessed with her right now! I highly suggest a deep dive at her website, I’m really digging these pieces right now (and this, too).

Spoiler alert: Christy also has a new book, Noisy Autumn, coming out in November (more on that below!)

Christy at Boudhanath Stupa in Kathmandu, Nepal. 

Tell us a bit about the projects you’ve been working on!

The past year of quiet has been productive for those who are lucky to stay home and focus on new work. As an environmental sculptor, there has been so much to work with! Intensifying awareness of climate change, social unrest, the Post Office up for grabs, so much in the balance these days to make work about.

I’m wrapping up production on a career survey book, titled Noisy Autumn. It’s an homage to the work of Rachel Carson’s groundbreaking Silent Spring (1962), in which she points out that 90% of insects are beneficial. The publication date is November 16. It features photos from the last 4+ decades and writings from 5 authors.


How does travel inspire you?

Travel is deeply humbling, flinging one out of their bubble, to learn about cultures that are often romanticized and photographed for their external beauty. I use travel as a way to gain perspective.

The other quest I’ve had in the past 15 years is trying to see cultures that are disappearing, and hear the perspectives of people in the crosshairs of climate and political chaos.

Plus, it’s just really fun!!!


Do you have a favorite memory to share from one of your travels with us?

The Ladakh pilgrimage was deeply significant, seeing how Buddhism has flourished for thousands of years, relatively isolated in the high arid terrain, and hearing from our teachers about the historic exchanges between Tibet and the other Himalayan kingdoms. Libraries, artifacts, even pieces of architecture were brought on foot, through the blizzards, with frostbite Yeti lurking behind every glacier. And today, seeing how the Indian government is building modern roads through remote valleys, and the increase in tourism flooding in from the region.

My favorite memory was when I asked Stanzin [a monk at Thiksey Monastery] to talk about climate change through the lens of karma. We were sitting on a stone bench in the monastery, he had so much wisdom to share and we were pretty engrossed in the disappearance of glaciers that he’d grown up seeing through his childhood.

Around the corner came some young tourists from Delhi, first-time visitors who were motorcycling through the area, and one of them interrupted him and asked him to explain Buddhism (just like that!!!) and astonishingly he switched gears and we went through another portal into the larger story of Buddhism. Seamlessly he pivoted…it was incredible, informative, and ironic.


Do you have any favorite ‘travel gear’?

My quandary is always the shoes: how do you pack enough comfortable shoes to take you through town, rain, hiking, poisonous snakes, and dinner? A dilemma always.


[OK, Lauren here–not to butt in, but I’ve become obsessed with the Boulder vegan boots from Lems, weighing in at just 9 oz each. They are crazy light, comfortable, and I love the wide toebox!] 

1. Your Debt My Asset Christy Rupp

Your Debt My Asset, mixed media, 2020

Christy Rupp in her studio

Christy in her studio.

Christy Rupp in her studio

Sonam, the resident Amchi (Tibetan doctor) at Thiksey, checks Christy’s pulse in 2017. 

“Enormous gratitude to Lauren and BJ for creating possibilities to visit places that would be a challenge logistically to navigate. Always the most fun and up close with these two!!! Never a dull moment and a lot of laughter. They both are incredible sources of information for the curious among us.”

Learn more about Christy Rupp and her body of work:

Christy Rupp Noisy Autumn book cover

On Christy Rupp & Noisy Autumn, from Simon & Schuster

“Christy Rupp emerged as an American artist and activist in Manhattan in the late 1970s, using commodified materials to construct three-dimensional, sculptural works imbued with a dynamic sense of life. Noisy Autumn contains her recent sculptures and works on paper anticipating the dawn of late capitalism, and the Anthropocene. Rupp is primarily concerned with humans’ perceptions of nature: where do the borders of the “natural” emerge? The work aims to deconstruct harsh divisions that separate humans from our environment, while addressing the intersection of geopolitics, culture, and economics, as they impact the vulnerabilities of ecosystems.

Her sculptures and works on paper alike leave readers pondering human engagement with the natural world amid rampant consumption––and how they may take action.”   (source)

Follow us