Here's the latest piece, finished Wednesday, which I had a lot of fun with. I was first thinking of cool places to build little cities, having already put cities in a tree (Tree Palace), on a giant sea turtle (Aspidochelone), and on an air ship (Sky City). But once I began to imagine a city growing out of a book, I realized that this idea is much bigger. It's more than just a cool fantasy scene. It's a love letter to books, and a tribute to the magic of story and imagination. I was thinking about the new worlds that exist within books and the exploration possible between their covers. I don't mean just new fantasy worlds, either, although of course I happen to have made a fantasy image with its medievalesque architecture and its dragons. After all, every time you open any book you're embarking on an adventure of discovery. Sometimes you might learn new things about our own real world, sometimes you might learn new things about the human heart, and sometimes you might just have a nice vacation. As T.S. Eliot said, "We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time."
So I had a lovely time imagining the scene, sketching the image, carving, and printing… and then I ran into trouble. What to call it? First I thought "Here be Dragons," with an idea of unexplored territory. Then D suggested "My Home Town" with a thought of living in books, and of having in books beloved places we can return to. T favored "Once Upon a Time," but I thought that was too narrowly fairy-tale focussed. P voted for "Invitation," but T wasn't sure people would get it. I liked "Beckoning," but not enough to overrule the others, who didn't...
Titles for art can be so difficult. Sometimes I just stick with the basics, like calling the armadillo Armadillo. But a title can also be an opportunity to hint at multiple levels of meaning, and that's what I was hoping for here. Alas, it's so hard to be deep without being cheesy, clever without being pretentious, subtle without being obscure. And then, of course, probably nobody cares about the title except me anyway, and I'm wasting my time worrying about it! Oh well. Here it is, and I hope you like it!
[Picture: The Open Book, rubber block print by AEGN, 2013.]