The bones of the first of five black & white illustrations which I will be contributing to Robert Kloss’ new novel The Revelator, coming later in 2015 from Unnamed Press.

 This will be “The Black Mountain.”


Opera Parallèle's "Heart of Darkness," part 2

These are all photos I took. There are simply no words to describe how profoundly moving it was to see this performance, to witness firsthand the brilliance and creativity of Brian Staufenbiel and everyone at Opera Parallèle, and to be honored by having my work included as just one part of this incredible, transformative experience. I am still reeling from it all, but I am so deeply grateful to Brian Staufenbiel, Nicole Paiement, David Murakami, Tarik O'Regan and everyone at Opera Parallèle for this.

Walking up to Z Space and seeing my art featured prominently in the poster. But nothing could have prepared for me for what was inside.

An absolutely massive and completely immersive display of my art from Heart of Darkness. The experience was as if I was suddenly walking inside my own mind. I can't even describe how wonderfully disorienting and deeply affecting that was.

Me, standing in front of a wall of my own work as well as the shockingly realistic tusks that were fabricated for the performance.

T-shirts, bearing the promotional print I created for the opera.

Me, diligently signing and drawing on prints and books.

Another image of just one of the walls of the entry to Z Space, with a new arrangement of tusks.

I am not certain if I was even allowed to take these photos or to share them, but now that the performances have concluded I think it's okay. Here are just two images of my art being projected onto the stage during the performance of Heart of Darkness, showing how integral they were to the world of the production. Even more incredibly, David Murakami was able to animate these images in brilliant ways. The top photo shows my drawing of the rivets, or the lack of them, and in the opera this image eventually opened up dispersing floating rivets into the grasping hand below.

At the close of the first performance, I was able to meet with a few of the amazing performers. From left to right this is my wife, myself, and Shawnette Sulker, who brought fierce life to the role of the River Woman.

Finally, one of the most wonderful nights of my life concluded with an even more wonderful encounter. From left to right, this is Tarik O'Regan (composer of the Heart of Darkness opera), my wife, Brian Staufenbiel of Opera Parallèle, and myself.

Opera Parallèle's "Heart of Darkness," part 1

These photos are all from the Facebook page of San Francisco's Opera Parallèle but since many of them feature my art as it was used in the production of the Heart of Darkness opera I wanted to share them here as well. Opera Parallèle is a remarkable organization doing fearless contemporary work. If you are anywhere near them, see their productions, and even if you are not, visit their site and their Facebook page to see what they are working on.

Creative director Brian Staufenbiel, bathed in the green of my art.

Brian and, I believe, Jon Altemus who designed the numerous tusks that were an essential part of the production.

Artistic director and maestra Nicole Paiement.

Nicole, working through the music of the opera with the performers.

A rehearsal, with elements of my art projected on the stage.

Brian Staufenbiel working with the staff to begin the installation of my art in the entrace of Z Space, where the opera was performed.

Brian again, mounting my work. It looked so amazing, and Brian did an unbelievable job conceptualizing and installing this.

PLACES I WENT: San Francisco

My wife and I were able to visit San Francisco this past Friday May 1, to see Opera Parallèle's production of the opera Heart of Darkness by Tarik O'Regan and Tom Phillips. We had a few hours to ourselves before the opening performance so we wandered around the city and this is what we saw.


THE LITTLE PRINCE: The Businessman, the Lamplighter, and Earth

More images for the UC Santa Cruz production of the opera The Little Prince. I created two versions of the Businessman's Planet because I saw it in two different ways. There is also the Lamplighter's Planet, with the lamp both lit and unlit, and our own Earth as the Little Prince flies toward Africa.

Photos from the Moby-Dick in the Arts Symposium at NKU

The Moby-Dick in the Arts Symposium, which encompassed an incredible day of panels and presentations from scholars and artists, a two day marathon reading of Moby-Dick at the Covington branch of the Kenton County Public Library, and an incredible exhibition of 20 years of student work exploring Moby-Dick visually, co-curated by Emma Rose Thompson and Dr. Robert Wallace, is now a part of my history. I had an amazing four days and would like to share just a few photos and thoughts.

The Symposium began on Friday evening with a panel at the Cincinnati Art Museum on "Why Read a 19th Century Novel in the 21st Century?" I had never been to the Cincinnati Art Museum, so I was pleased to be greeted by this colossal statue of Pinocchio.

Dr. Elizabeth Schultz, author of Unpainted to the Last, the seminal work on Moby-Dick and visual art, was the first presenter. I have admired her book and her scholarship for years, and Dr. Schultz is a titan in the field. She is also one of the kindest, warmest and most brilliant people I have ever met, and I am honored to call her a friend. Seeing her speak, and speak in front of a giant projected image of one of my own drawings, was a humbling thrill.

I was up next. Dr. Schultz was a tough act to follow but I think I did alright.

The herculean efforts of Dr. Robert Wallace of Northern Kentucky University, seen here giving some opening remarks, must be mentioned. Dr. Wallace is a tireless advocate of the arts and humanities as well as an incredible teacher and thinker. He too has become a great friend of mine, and I am enriched by knowing him.

Dr. Sam Otter, current editor of the Melville journal Leviathan and professor at UC Berkeley, closed the evening. Dr. Otter completed this astounding triad of luminaries in the field of Melville studies, and was a great pleasure to get to know better. Our paths will cross again some day, and soon, I hope.

Finally, soon to be graduating senior at NKU, Emma Rose Thompson, who co-curated the exhibit of 20 years of student art for the Symposium. Emma is astonishingly sharp for someone so young, and her ability to identify and explore connections and themes in the vast body of art she had at her disposal was nothing short of fantastic. Additionally, she was able to take an unconventional exhibition space - the Covington branch of the Kenton County Public Library - and turn it into an art gallery. The works were thoughtfully placed and sequenced and gave an already wonderful library an added layer of interest.

Finally, the four of us on the panel at the end.

There is a great deal of art in show, which will remain up at the Covington branch until May 17, but I wanted to share just a few. This is Three Perspectives on the White Whale by Cara Dyne.

Moby-Dick: a mighty mildness by Kathleen Piercefield.

Queequeg by Holly Doyle

An Idea of I & Q by Shawn Buckenmeyer.

Ahab: Thou must not follow by Kathleen Piercefield.

Some of the work displayed in the rock garden area of the library.

On the left, artist Kathleen Piercefield being interviewed by filmmakers Caitlin Sparks and J. Gray.

A broadside listing the full slate of events for the Symposium.

Finally, Monday, the final day of the Symposium. There were panels, presentations, and art all day. Again, a tremendous thrill to listen to Dr. Schultz speak on art and Moby-Dick.

And an even more intense and amazing experience listening to her explore and analyze my own work and its connections. Just incredible for me.

I spoke a bit too.

Captain Ahab made an appearance. He looks quite good considering everything that has happened to him.

A walking tour of NKU's art holdings. Here, Dr. Wallace is speaking about the Frank Stella piece behind him. The sheer presence, complexity, and beauty of this piece is impossible to convey online. It must be seen.

Dr. Wallace discussing the prints of Robert Del Tredici, an artist whose work has had a tremendous influence on my own and who I will be sharing a show with next spring at the Contemporary Arts Center in Cincinnati.

I've written this before, but it bears repeating. Events like this mean more to me than anything else. Having the opportunity to publish my work and to earn some small income from it are definitely good, but being able to share my work like this, with scholars and students and artists, and seeing my work find a place in that vast body of thought and writing and art that clings to Moby-Dick like so many barnacles...that is an honor. I am so grateful to Dr. Robert Wallace, Emma Rose Thompson, Dr. Elizabeth Schultz and everyone else who attended and spoke at this singular, brilliant event.