I began 2019 with a creative challenge. My wife Amy, a published author, my love, and business partner told me she was planning to write every day this year. I joined her creative endeavor and challenged myself to create a Sketch-a-Day. As of this writing, I’ve created more than 100 sketches. I began with an observational life sketch of my wife's fur baby, a white mini-poodle rescue named BeeBe. On the third day, I decided to have fun illustrating words that could present a unique creative perspective for my Facebook friends… puns.
Ever since I was a young boy, I was always mystified by the fact that many words are not an accurate literary description of a visual object. They got it right with blueberries and oranges, but why doesn't an eardrum look like an eardrum? Why are hamburgers made of cows and not pigs? I decided to set things right and have fun drawing ‘punny words’ so they make more sense, given their name. My Facebook friends responded very well. They are checking in every single day to see what I create next. I have engaged them as well by asking for ‘punny word’ suggestions for me to play with, and if I choose their word to illustrate, I will hide their initials within the drawing to give them credit for playing my game.
This interaction has allowed me to develop drawings that are based on my own creative interpretation of the punny words. There is no artistic director of a corporation ‘suggesting’ I create their way, no client to twist my natural creative urges into marketing imagery, logos or merchandise. These drawings represent my own sense of humor as well executed mini works of fine art pen & ink renderings. I intentionally draw these images to infuse the elements of humor, the oddly fantastic, the laughably repulsive and the adorably cute, as tools of engagement with my audience. I hope that I can attract and hold their attention for one to three seconds of their initial glance, then once they realize they have been introduced to a new visual perspective of a familiar word they already have a definition for locked in a box in their brain… this opens that box, this is a new, creative interpretation of what they think they already know. Then, they stop long enough to begin looking at the magic in the details. They begin to understand the pun and change their perspective, guided by a unique creative image that may have more meaning in it to be discovered, the longer they look. By employing the tool of ‘hidden initials’ and occasional surprise hidden objects, I can keep their attention even longer. It’s a cheap trick, I know, but if I can get folks to stop for just a few full minutes out of their busy, stressful lives, to reconsider their own perspectives, and lift them up with humor, about whatever punny word them may be, then I feel I have created a contemplative and robust work of art.
The average work of fine art in any gallery or museum is only given a cursory three-second glance by the average viewer or sophisticated art patron. Great works of art capture the observer and transport them to the artist’s world where they can live and breath in an escape from their own lives for a few minutes. I am not claiming that my Sketch-a-Day series can be compared to any of the recognized great works of art, that is for the viewer to decide, but my work does hold the viewers' attention for a lot longer than three seconds. Some folks have even sent me messages several times throughout a day asking for hints about where the hidden initials and objects are, or also engage me in discussing the hidden deeper meaning of environmental concerns, or eating less meat, or spirituality… in this or that particular piece. My work opens a neighborly door for both humorous, and serious discussion.
My Sketch-a-Day series gives me the daily opportunity to engage my audience to appreciate artwork. First, by giving them a warm and creative invitation to take a full-minute vacation. Secondly, to surprise themselves with the desire to stay in my world a bit longer and experience the change in perspective of ‘the meaning of things’ that a visual pun can encourage. Thirdly, I am encouraging the world to join in this wordplay game with me by making suggestions in hopes that they can make a contribution to the creativity of the Universe itself… and I hope sparks the light of self-empowerment to think and ‘do’ more of their own creativity. And lastly, I hope that my work lives beyond me to make the world a little bit better from my having been in it. See more on Instagram.