on mind and minimalism.

Discovering people.

One of the supreme enjoyments I have is discovering people. It is especially a blessing to find creative individuals that are willing to express themselves and who also identify with passionate creative bents. In my studies at the University of Texas at Tyler, I have particularly enjoyed the study of minimalism. If you haven’t yet read my abstract on this project, feel free to read it here. The idea that, “less is more.” Of course, I am naturally drawn to those that have a similar passion… So, if I may have the pleasure, here is the story of Cole Beckham.

Cole is a senior in Mechanical Engineering at the University of Texas at Tyler, and has high aspirations for his future career and life. He lives in a relatively “normal” house just a few hundred feet from the university campus. There is not anything particularly unusual about the house, nor would anyone be attracted to it for any reason other than cheap rent and close proximity to the university. However, as one ventures into the house and the room where Cole lives, one can see a remarkable stylistic demarkation.

A room of a minimalist. Highly functional and a clean space.

A room of a minimalist. Highly functional and a clean space.

The room.

The room itself…well, it is quite typical. Four walls. Ceiling. Window. Fan. Normal. However, as you begin to observe this space, you begin to realize certain things.

The desk is made of glass and wood, furnished with a architect lamp stand. A bed is sitting on similar wooden posts as was used to make the desk, and even the mattress is custom made. A steely blue mountain painting is drawn to attention by the Mexican blanket spread cleanly. Adjacent to the blue is a crimson mountain range, associated with Japanese characters…also drawn out by the crimson curtains. A little handmade shelf is delicately balanced on the wall, holding particular drawings. A violin also hangs on the wall, joined by its bow and cleaning rag. Gently placed. On the opposing wall, a massive whiteboard stands at attention. Little notes are written all over it, but in an organized fashion. A weekly schedule here…study notes there.

The room is a highly functional and clean space.

A violin hanging on the wall, serving as art and hobby.

A violin hanging on the wall, serving as art and hobby.

Back to Cole.

When asked about how he first got into minimalism, Cole indicated that his environment has always been very important to him. He recalls experiences in the Rainforest Cafe and how it was always an exciting experience. Cole remarks, “It was so different. I remember being a kid and trying to hang up fake plants in my room.”

Throughout his life, Cole realizes that his mom and dad always seemed to praise him when he cleaned his room. Of course, this praise began translating into instillment of values, and that is where minimalism really started for him.

During high school, I began to build little pieces of furniture. I would oscillate in and out of extreme minimalism…which is interesting because I also have a high value for a studio feel - highly cluttered and very functional.
— Cole Beckham
Cole, working on a drawing while sitting at his glass desk.

Cole, working on a drawing while sitting at his glass desk.

The mind and minimalism.

It is a fascinating thing to see how an artistic style can be seen so vibrantly in a person’s environment. It shows many different aspects of the individual’s personality, perspective, and even mentality behind why they do what they do.

I asked Cole about emotions, and how minimalism ties into the topic. He quickly identified with how there is a huge emotional difference between being in a cluttered room and a clean room. He understands that, “if you have a cluttered desk, it is not as attractive to sit down and get an assignment done. It is not as attractive to have a meal there. It is not as attractive to be in the room.”

His perspective is very unique.

I don’t have a problem with minimalism at all because I don’t see the world as having something that is really worth gaining. If you were to give me the whole world, I hope that I would have very little problem giving it back. For someone that does not follow Jesus Christ, they want to get as much as they can out of this world because it is were their security is. Their stuff. Their identity.
— Cole Beckham


Cole finds that minimalism is very beneficial and says that, “I really love art, so I don’t want to be quick to say ‘your style is bad.’ There are some people that simply have a cluttered style.” His perspective is that there is a big difference between a cluttered style and an unclean space. The former of which, is not a problem to him, the latter of which is.

I do think that people should be minimalists at some point. Although I don’t think being a minimalist doesn’t necessarily mean not having a lot of stuff. I think there is a modesty about my personal view about minimalism that is attractive but not necessary to push to everyone else.
— Cole Beckham

From this one perspective, minimalism seems attractive. It cannot, of course, be verified in one simple encounter. However, as minimalism takes on a more permanent status in society (as opposed to a trend), it should be seen that the benefits of minimalism amount to more than just pleasant surrounds, but also healthy living.