The blackened sea roils and rises, reaches out, a beckoning from the deepest deep.
A flurry of wings answers, a rapid beat of vibrant joy.
From the unfathomable tangle, a single thread has been made clear. A connection unsullied and true, delivering a singular thought, a nimble pulse.
News most welcome.
Apparently, when I first wrote about this piece, I didn’t have anything to say. Which is weird, because it's an important piece for me, historically (if I can flatter myself by calling anything I’ve done historic), thematically, and artistically.
Also, I always have something to say.
H is for history
A Welcome Messenger was first published as the cover of the July / August 2007 issue of Create Magazine (which apparently is no longer being printed and, as far as I can tell, has no web presence to link to). As such it was my first magazine cover! It was also one of the best experiences I’ve ever had working with a Creative Director; supportive, empowering, and freeing.
A Welcome Messenger was the first “full-size” piece I’d ever made on wood, using the wood grain as a feature of the work. Oh sure, I’d done kihagaki (wooden postcard) pieces, and many of them were quite good. All of those had been intended as experiments - that success with the smaller sizes gave me the confidence to try similar techniques larger scale.
T is for theme
It should come as no surprise that Communication with a capital “C” is an area of interest for an artist. Especially one who started off planning to be a writer. While this wasn’t the first time I’d tried to attack the concept of connection with others and the world-at-large, it was easily the most successful yet (I hope I’ve since surpassed it…).
More importantly, this was my first attempt to approach the topic from an optimistic (if not quite rainbow-hued happy happy joy joy) point of view. The possibility of forming communicative connections in an increasingly fractured society seems even more vital now then it was ten years ago.
Do any of y’all remember when the internet was supposed to be the medium that brought us all together? No? Just me?
A is for art
I’d actually forgotten the timeline. I had thought that Hitching a Ride on the Breath of Fortune was the first appearance of these dark, elemental beings with their craggy faces. I was wrong. I posted Fortune to my site first, but Messenger was actually created about a month previously. Despite the substantial evolution of their faces, bodies, and forms, these somewhat insubstantial, indefinably shaped entities inhabit a central place in my work. They’re proved adaptable to nearly any theme, element, concept, shape or message.
A Welcome Messenger print flutters back into the shop today. It is lucky number 9 (with a bunch more to come).