Archive for the ‘Books’ Category

“The Island,” Inspiration and Process

Tuesday, December 27th, 2011

“I thought I had come to the island to wrest control of my life back from the woman who had sabotaged it. But I was wrong. My mother was still writing my plot.”Island by Jane Rogers

“The Island” is my new screenprint, inspired by Jane Rogers’ novel Island. The novel is narrated by the character Nikki Black, and without getting into a full critique of the book, it’s about Nikki not only seeing the world through a distorted, revenge-bent lens, but as a reader you begin to believe her. You get sucked into her way of seeing the world, to the point that her biological mother, who gave Nikki up for adoption when she was an infant and never had contact with her, is the evil, manipulative puppet master of every disaster in Nikki’s life, from her boyfriends dumping her to bad weather. You begin to trust every defense of Nikki’s moods and action, to the point that realistic perspective is completely lost as a reader, as Nikki herself loses reality entirely in the novel.

My screenprint is inspired by not only the environment of the book, which is an isolated island off the coast of Scotland, but the events. Nikki, in her own mind, is victimized incessantly. The waves in the screenprint are not only made of water but fire, crashing into the island with an incredible, completely unrealistic ferocity. I wanted to create a single image that described the entire experience of reading the novel.


I read Island back in June in a fervent four days, and minutes after I finished I drew the first draft of the image that would become the screenprint:


‘The Island’ Digital Mock-Up and a Poem

Friday, December 9th, 2011

This is a digital mock-up for my next screenprint, The Island. It’s inspired by Jane Rogers’ novel Island.

And here’s a poem, without title:

“How long?,” my friend howls, neck craned,

Teeth bared.

She’s self-assured —

Maybe that’s the therapy.

“It doesn’t end,” she dictates.

She knows what she needs, what she feels,

At every moment.

“It’s forever,” she repeats,

In the light.

But later,

You thrash,

And trash,

And transform,

Howling your annoyance

At the waning sun.

Narcissus and Goldmund

Sunday, December 4th, 2011


“How mysterious this life was, how deep and muddy its waters ran, yet how clear and noble what emerged from them.”

“… for Narcissus loving was not a natural condition but a miracle.” — from Narcissus and Goldmund by Hermann Hesse



Thursday, June 16th, 2011

I just finished Island by Jane Rogers.

I haven’t quite processed the novel yet because I read it in a fervor. I’ve always taken a stand as a slow reader, but this book took me four days. It’s a psychological story taking place on a small island off the coast of Scotland. I suppose it could be argued that I ended up consuming it far more experientially than most books I read; I have a habit of reading exceedingly slow, taking vast amounts of notes and mentally logging information. This novel was a thunder of emotion. Fantastic. Really fantastic.

I noticed this bit of text in the back a few days into owning the book. I ordered it, and I suppose they must have specially printed it for me and sent it out. This 238-page book has only existed in the world for one week, and I’ve finished it.

June Trees and Shelley

Sunday, June 12th, 2011

I am processing graduation and the real world by taking up writing long emails to my friends. Lots of long emails to friends. I feel like I’m going to start swooning, and proclaiming “Alas!,” like the heroine of Mary Shelley’s novella Mathilda.

That story had a strange impact on me when I read it last year. It’s a nervously long account of a woman’s sadness and mourning, with little actually taking place after the first few chapters. I felt drawn to it at the time, and drawn to it now, because although we seem to enjoy making fun of the concept of “emo” as a culture, we don’t seem to actually account what takes place during a mourning, lonely period.

The story begins with Mathilda on her death bed, explaining her current depressed state. The story goes on to explain how she got there, and then meanders into her dwelling in that state, unable to return, until she dies. It’s incredibly Romantic.

You can read Mathilda for free, online here: click. (I myself bought my copy in Paris, which is funny to think, now.)

I don’t feel so emotionally and mentally distraught as Mathilda does, but it’s interesting to have read something so intensely dramatic, all from a person’s interior state. It helps you understand yourself. There are purposes to all sorts of stories: escapism, humor. This is a story that explains grief to you.

…Wow, I went impressively off-topic with this one. I was honestly just going to talk about writing letters to my friends. It’s fascinating, the different layers of writing we all participate in. Personal journals just for ourselves, holding our secrets. Letters to friends, which are meant for one person only. Then there’s the internet, which is for everyone.

And then I suppose there’s art, which is for anyone who is willing to look at it.

Quests, Good vs. Evil, and How We Are Complicated

Friday, February 11th, 2011

Self Portrait as a Knight upon the Completion of a Great Quest

In this post I talk about:

  • Arthurian Legends
  • the destruction of dichotomies
  • our fixation on steadfast character
  • playing poker with a bunch of the maintenance guys from my school
  • Lately I’ve been thinking about Arthurian Legends. It started with a conversation with my friend about the graphic novel I am currently working on, Jeremiah. The comic has nothing to do with medieval knighthood (it takes place in modern-day Iowa), but he made some comparisons to the figure from the legends called the Fisher King. Inspired by this conversation, I later wrote a thesis paper drawing huge comparisons between the Fisher King and Jeremiah, but the one that struck the deepest chord with me was this: The notion that there is no “good” and “evil,” but in all decisions, there is the better choice. The goal for everyone is to attempt to always make the better choice.

    Dichotomies do not exist within Arthurian legends. The best knights are not simply warriors, but are also wise. The concept of illumination, the gathering of information, is vital in a lot of the stories. Contemporarily, we seem to boil the legends down to good vs. evil, knight vs. dragon, etc., but it was more complicated than that. Just like real people, no one has one side to themselves. The complication of people’s lives is made into the vast metaphors of the legends.


    Book Club: Plath & Elverum

    Friday, January 21st, 2011

    Welcome to the Don’t Let The Sun Go Down Book Club. This is the first and only planned entry of the Club. In this entry I will be discussing Dawn: Winter Journal by Phil Elverum and The Journals of Sylvia Plath.

    This winter I went back-and-froth between two books: Dawn: Winter Journal by Phil Elverum and The Journals of Sylvia Plath. Each of these books are unedited journal entries by creative people; Elverum being the musician behind The Microphones and Mount Eerie (wiki), and Plath being the well-known American author (wiki). These two artists have 50 years between the times they are working, but the correlations are immense. Going back-and-forth between their intensely personal journals, I began to fantasize they were in this journey together, holding hands through the winter of life.