Getting ready for this show was a lot like recording an album – each diorama is like a song, with its own story. In 2009 I wrote about the joy of process and, toward the end of preparing for this show, I remembered the end of the semesters in college when I was working furiously to complete assignments and study for finals. This felt a little like that. I thought, back then, that if I could maintain that level of intensity throughout the whole semester, then I’d make the dean’s list every term and be the male equivalent of Hermione Granger. Or, Béla Bartók.

I was up until 2 or 3AM many summer nights working. Unlike preparing for finals in college, this show was a complete joy for me. I was exhausted yet exhilarated. Applying that same college level cramming intensity into something one loves is easy.

I spent the beginning of summer doing research on Magic and thinking/drawing and then I switched to production mode sooner than I usually would and Death emerged as the primary theme, with Magic playing a supporting role. Joy-of-process and production have merged and now happen simultaneously. Kind of like the two sides of a zipper. I didn’t see that coming back in 2009.

My kids and friends have been patient with me this summer. I came up with 31 completed pieces in this show, and there are 6 that didn’t make it in (not-finished-in-time/not-enough-space/not-quite-appropriate).

I’m also so very grateful to René Treviño at School33 for giving me this opportunity. He’s kind, easy going and encouraging. He let me hang the show myself, and decide how to organize it, offering helpful feedback if I asked. Emily Slaughter is super great, too.

I made a zine for this show – I always thought that would be a cool thing to do. Since there’s a deep narrative behind the dioramas, I wanted to give a few hints as to what I was thinking when I made them. Not too much, just a little more of the story than is obvious when looking at the pieces. I decided to sell work during this show, too – something I don’t usually do.  Six pieces were sold at the opening.

The opening was so wonderful and I’m so touched by everyone who came out. The Herzingers made the trip from Annapolis  – a complete surprise! My jaw dropped and I felt like my own parents were there. I’m sorry Neil couldn’t be there, but having his folks come meant the world to me. The Foster/Jewells, Roni & Bill, Amanda, Kate & Garrett, Jessica, Paul & Anna, Mandy “Slap Shot” Liberto, Saint Brawli Girl, Lauren Boilini, Brandy & Jeff, Helen & Adrian and all the new people I met made this a really wonderful night.

Memento Mori

Memento mori is a Latin phrase translated as “Remember your mortality” or “Remember you must die.” It refers to a genre of artworks that vary widely but which all share the same purpose: to remind people of their mortality, an artistic theme dating back to antiquity.  [Wikipedia]

I think another way to say it is “Remember to live well.”

The show is organized roughly into several sections. As you enter the room and move around clockwise, there are scenes from the Land of the Dead. Then, part of Dr. F’s story is told, along with the research of the Grackles.  The sea, the City of Lost Things and some major deities follow.

I am immensely grateful and delighted. It feels a lot like living well.

Work in this Show

  1. The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse
  2. Danse Macabre
  3. And then there was Light
  4. Always
  5. Deathwatch Beetle
  6. The Guide
  7. As Above, So Below
  8. Deathcat on Pine Island
  9. Vanitas
  10. Frida My Love
  11. In the Name of Research
  12. The Port Authority at the Land of the Dead
  13. Memento Mori
  14. The Magician’s Apprentice
  15. The Assistant of Dr.F
  16. Summoning the Demon
  17. The Early Works of Dr. F
  18. The Ghoul and the Grackles
  19. The Capture of Dr. F
  20. The Binding of the Ghoul (Reliquary)
  21. Chorus of Grackles
  22. Like a Fish Needs a Bicycle
  23. Shipwreck Lake
  24. The Reverse Clock Tower
  25. The City of Lost Things
  26. Vanity
  27. Midsummer Night
  28. Thy Body is a Temple
  29. The Saint and the Sinner
  30. The Three Graces
  31. A Muse when You Need Her