As a lover of books, I’ve always thought it would be really cool to write one. I had a ambiguous sense of accomplishment when I wrote my Master's thesis. It looked like a book, it was bound like a book, it must be a book!
But no, it wasn’t.
Perhaps because scholarly writing isn’t notably entertaining, a thesis doesn’t quite feel like an artistic achievement. In all fairness, writing one usually leads to further study and reflection on the part of the reader, but this all happens within the context of academia. Only a small cross-section of people actually get to read it!
One of my deep-rooted dreams is to eventually conceive a graphic novel, but not according to its innumerable rules and conventions. My imagining is more along the lines of “My FavoriteThing is Monsters.” I’m not sure how to divine it yet (and I don't use that word loosely). I feel as though the cauldron is boiling but my ideas and concepts are still way too vague. Looks like some serious doodling will happen in the foreseeable future.
I have however started to frolic and self-publish in the fiction arena. I made a number of digital prints of human/plant hybrids for my recent art exhibition, Suite Botanique, which opened on September 29th, 2023, at the Gueulart artist-run centre. As I was drawing, I kept thinking that the exhibition needed a companion codex. Given that my mongrel vegetation was non-existent, I decided to create pseudo-scientific documentation not unlike ancient botany books. I didn’t have much time to prepare and worked furiously on its creation using BookWright from Blurb while continuing to draw other works on my iPad Pro for my show.
This is the cover of my Compendium of non-existent flowers (more on the book will come in a future post. I still have a few things to iron out.)
I’m happy with the final result. It’s not as I envisioned it, but rather, has grown and evolved. If I were to start another it would most likely turn out differently, then again maybe not. I initially visualized a rigid concept that echoed traditional compendiums, with each plant fitting tightly within a frame. I imagined descriptions in small Roman-style serif font text. But my rebellious nature being what it is, the frames started warping and became increasingly untamed. To quote Popeye, I yam what I yam.
Most artists would agree that when we are in the throes of creation, the important thing is action. One has to "make" to keep learning and improving. Artists are rarely satisfied with their work, which is why we keep producing until we have barely any room left in our abodes or studios to function effectively. We pursue the elusive feeling of having created a masterpiece. They unfortunately, are few and far between and often found in a corner covered in dust.