Where the Spirit Illustration

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Where the Spirit is a newly completed 44 page wordless graphic narrative.
The following is the forward from the book:

Both of my children came out of dire situations in two far-away corners of the world. Due to the complexities and devastation of poverty, they had somehow been deemed expendable; they were treated as throw-away kids.

Over the last 20+ years, I’ve been witness to a mysterious interweaving between their nearly tragic origins and their maturation into individuals with profound creative abilities. As far away as the past may seem, its brokenness has always pulled at them, has always tried to claim them. But I’ve seen them begin to claim the past instead. I’ve seen them use music, craft, image, and story to pick up the broken pieces of their origins and put them back together in ways that are at once haunting and redemptive, achingly raw and startlingly new.

Where the spirit detail

Where the spirit detail

Where the Spirit is a symbolic narrative that tries to express the essence of the story they share with so many.

The book tells the story of a Scarecrow who finds itself outcast to a foreign environment, useless and unneeded, brooding on an obsolete telephone pole.

When a spirit-wind invades the scene, it tugs at the Scarecrow’s scarf, inviting the Scarecrow to come explore a reality beyond its marooned uselessness.

But letting go of old ways and old lies is hard to do. The Scarecrow hangs on as long as it can.

In my work I’ve always been inspired by motion. In Where the Spirit, motion is symbolic of a life set free. The Scarecrow’s dance with the wild, spirit-wind is the formation of a new identity. An identity shaped by mystery, and wonder, and risk. An identity formed by truth.

When the Scarecrow touches ground again, it tips its hat: a wink of ironic grace to a still-blind world, a moment of Sabbath after a bout of new creation, and a shy genuflection of thanks to the mysterious giver of long-hidden gifts.

Where the Spirit is an ode to all the secret virtuosos who sit stranded on the world’s garbage heaps or sleep starving in its rubble. It is a fight song for anyone who feels cast away or exiled. It is a prayer for the world’s untapped magic to be spared, discovered, and unleashed. The book expresses the longing I hold for my children, my students, my community, and myself: to let go of disposable culture, to say no to disposable life, and to let ourselves get swept up in the danger and grace and mystery of a spirit-wind.

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