28 September, 2016

On Big Sur

McWay Falls ©2016 Sibu Puthenveettil
It's difficult to believe, when you visit places such as Yosemite National Park or the Big Sur region, that your hands and footprints would leave behind any trace at all. When you pass through the clusters of centuries-old Redwoods, and turn a bend over a precipice overlooking the rough coast of churning blue-green water over beaten rock, you feel the sensation of detached observation. You're floating through the coastal highway, which meanders along the edge of the continent, disembodied, like a ghost. It seems untouchable in its sheer scale and solidity. Though you only have to smell the air for a moment to catch wind of the flames that had, and continue to, burn through the region. The Soberanes fire is, to a vistior like myself, the sight of a scorched landscape, darkened in some areas, and bare. It is the sight of rangers at roadside entrances signalling park and trail closures. But to those whose foundations are in Big Sur, it is the loss of homes, memories, and even life, as well as residual damage that extends to the very air they breathe. That so much could have occurred from a single unattended(illegal) campfire is mind-boggling. That a lapse in judgement or a lack thereof would have ramifications that last several months and affect an ancient region and all those who touch it, is frightening. So, what was done by a few now must be undone by several others, as testament to the blackened earth littered with signs of gratitude to the incredible firemen(and women) working to contain the flames. We're all, myself included, in such a hurry to experience and be a part of these natural privileges that sometimes we don't consider the implications of not leaving these wonderful places just as we found them. And so, our inherent awe and appreciation for these areas manifest in ways that are sometimes unwittingly detrimental to them. It's important then, to be mindful(easier said than done, I know) of the footprints we leave behind, whether it be campground maintenance or even restraining ourselves from crossing barriers to get just the right shot. But, just as the firefighters offer glimmers of solace to the people of Big Sur, so do pockets of seemingly untouched areas exist, such as McWay Falls here, the trail to which was closed. But perhaps that's for the best.

29 June, 2016

Show Announcement

Hey gang, I have a piece featured in the  
Manhattan Borough President's Office's Works on Paper Show. 
Here's some info: 

Manhattan Borough President's Office
1 Centre Street, 19 fl
New York, NY 10007
June 29-August 31, 2016 
Mon-Fri 9:30am-4:40pm

Thanks and please come out! 

22 January, 2016

Fish for Jimmy

It's a wonderful thing when a children's book can approach a topic as heavy as the Japanese experience in the US during WWII with such earnestness and sensitivity, while still being palatable for young readers.
Katie pulls off a great balancing act here, thoroughly engaging young readers while also educating them and trusting them with the mature, poetic language she invokes.

Apart from what I mentioned above,  this book is special to me because it's a model for what I want my work with children's illustrations to accomplish. Fish for Jimmy retains the elements of fantasy and wonderment capable of drawing children's attention, yet is also informative without needing to water down the importance of the subject matter involved.

And, I see a great deal of importance in this; the education of societal conditions-past or present-and the understanding of the relativity of experience should not be bound by the walls of a classroom or the restrictions of a predetermined age of appropriateness. While I don't think that the enjoyment of childhood should always be encroached upon or stifled by the 'seriousness' of the world, it is important to be able to shine a light on the fantastic things that can and do exist through the filter of the world that they know, however harsh the world may be.