C von Hassett and Rachel Reid Wilkie are, as they say, co-conspirators in all things – with heavy emphasis on spirit – which together they’ve been exploring since the day they met. Throughout the years they have collaborated on numerous projects in the Arts, both in Los Angeles and New York City. Their time in the East Village culminated in a monumental exhibition, Documents of Love, at the famed Hosfelt Gallery in Chelsea, where the couple exhibited a diverse body of work – poetry, paintings, photography, a short film – to the attendance of thousands. Upon returning to Los Angeles, C von & Rachel founded Riot Material magazine, a now thriving and widely read literary-cultural magazine with its eye on Art, Word, and forward-aiming thought.
Rachel and C are the rare married couple who not only work and create together, but practice together day after day, side by side, often knee to knee, in the singular pursuit of knowing the deeper self beyond the conceptual self – that timeless, eternal Being which births forth the temporal one. To that end, the Pandemic Years saw the couple in contemplative retreat at their high-desert ranch in the Northern Mojave, a sacred landscape which sits just below the 12,000-foot peaks of the Eastern Sierra Nevadas. Here, beyond their full immersion into meditative practice, C von wrote Entering the Mind, while Rachel delivered to the world her inaugural spoken-song album, titled XI.
. . .
C von Hassett is a writer, editor, and the co-publisher of Riot Material magazine. He is a onetime professor of literature and a decades-long practitioner of Dzogchen, a radical if not revolutionary wisdom practice which points the practitioner directly toward the recognition of their own mind in its natural state – there but to awaken. Hassett’s principal teachers have been a confluence of writers, philosophers, transcendent thinkers and wisdom seekers whose boundary-obliterating ideas arrived time-and-again as hallowed transmissions through the written Word. Hassett, as a martial artist, trained for many years under the fiercest of Japanese masters – himself perhaps the highest-ranking martial artist in the world at 75 dan – Toshishiro Obata Sensei, who still teaches at his Honbu dojo in Little Tokyo, Los Angeles.
Since the early 1990’s, Hassett has received instruction from such eminent Dzogchen masters as Namkhai Norbu Rinpoche, Khenchen Thrangu Rinpoche, Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche, and Tsoknyi Rinpoche, extraordinary teachers, each, who in their own profound yet humble ways have changed the lives and unlocked the minds of many thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of men and women around the world. Hassett’s new book, Entering the Mind, is a richly poetic and deeply insightful exploration of that transformative wisdom practice, Dzogchen. His first book, The Boundary Stone, is a narrative poem set in the embering afters of an apocalypse. He currently lives with Rachel and their two dogs in Los Angeles and Joshua Tree.
. . .
Rachel Reid Wilkie’s esteemed 20-year career in fashion culminated in directing Calvin Klein’s Global Design Concept Team from New York City. Her direction allowed the brand to articulate, through style, the cultural zeitgeist of the day and its influence on the way today’s youth relates to their identity. In her last season at Calvin Klein, Wilkie designed and developed the iconic catwalk denim collection for the renowned and newly appointed creative director, Raf Simons. Rachel went on to take the helm at 7 For All Mankind in Los Angeles, becoming the brand’s first woman Creative Director.
Years earlier, having left England at the age of twenty-one to pursue a life of fashion in Italy, Rachel’s career began auspiciously by assisting Alessandro Dell’Acqua in his formative years before taking on the leading role as head designer of womenswear at Costume National. Rachel was then hand selected to work side by side with the renegade and altogether radical designer Carol Christian Poell, who to this day is still seen as the ultimate maverick of the fashion industry. After honing her talent in Italy, Rachel’s expertise was called upon to design bespoke tailoring and custom leather jackets for such influential individuals as Chloë Sevigny, Zendaya, Justin Timberlake, Iggy Pop, Thom Yorke, Jay-Z, amongst numerous others.
Rachel has since left fashion to pursue a life led by consciousness, earth awareness, and a full commitment to the Arts. Returning to poetry, an integral part of her creative life since early womanhood, she explores the art of song and its relationship to the word, to writing as a dimension which leads into and shines light on the inward self. XI, her recently released spoken-song album, denotes the self which continually passes, and the I-entity which is released once inner transformation has begun. This collection of poetry put to song, and illustrated through film, is reflective of her ever-evolving journey of self-realization. Rachel is also dedicated to the highly creative process of navigating her own mind through meditation and movement, these through the practice of Dzogchen and Vinyasa yoga.