In recent years I discovered that there is a belief that art can manifest things into being. I’ve read that this is also possible with writing. The Scottish graphic novelist Grant Morrison, in interviews, mentioned that he would find himself in the same kind of strange situations he would write about in his comic books shortly after penning them and putting them out into the world. It could be argued that some of these situations may have become self fulfilling prophecies. An example would be if you wrote about being out in the Mohave Desert and getting into trouble with a bunch of scorpions and after writing about it, flew out to the Mohave, wandered around for a few days and got stung by a scorpion. Naturally if you put yourself in that position it’s more likely to happen. If you wrote a fictional story about yourself winning the lottery, there’s obviously more chance of your “fiction” manifesting in real life if you bought a lottery ticket. In some ways these instances could be explained away as slightly self fulfilling, but there are other times when it seems we can say something out loud, write something, or even draw something and eventually it happens without really intending it to happen.
I know that sounds bizarre, but thoughts of Leif Erikson, Erik the Red and Columbus came to me and I wondered about the natives that lived there. I thought about the pilgrims who first stepped foot off the Mayflower. I went to the Appalachian festival and met people who lived in or around the mountains. That carried through to the next year, when I visited the U.S again. This time I was on a plane flight home from the U.S and I was flying over Greenland. Seeing the snow peaked mountains in the distance, all the way to the southern coast where you saw icebergs floating around in the sea surrounding it.
About 2 years later I drew a self portrait of myself studying a map of Ireland and the UK. It was more a representation of the fact that a lot of my communications with people happened to be through the internet and the frustration that comes with that as a young person. (continued below)
It would be a further six years later before I got a call from Art Ward, a member of my local town’s community group. Art asked if I would be interested in applying to illustrate the town map. So I applied and got the job. Now the town map can be seen throughout the town in four outdoor areas and also inside the tourist centre. The map can also be found inside the brochure which is available in many places throughout town. Some years there are close to a million visitors visiting the area from all around the world, and you can imagine it gives me great happiness to see foreigners using my illustrated map.
We’ve had Japanese customers, and we’ve had customers from California buying our tarot decks, and Japanese and American tourists have picked up our illustrated town brochures here in Ireland. Without an exaggeration I can say my artwork has travelled to or been seen by people from the four corners of the earth.
The next strange thing to happen was the following. As family members often do, they’ll ask you if you’re working on any new projects, or what you’re currently working on now. This particular family member was not impressed that I had been working on a tarot deck, which I completely understand. From a religious perspective, most tarotists already know that most Christians do not look too kindly on anything tarot related, and this family member was very interested in working his way up in the church. Knowing this, and knowing his reaction from the first deck, I didn’t think there was much point in mentioning something that you know beforehand is going to annoy them. At the time I was working on the second Tarot deck, Simply Deep, and I knew that by my mentioning work on a second deck, it would ruin the mood. Who wants to ruin the mood at a family get together if they can avoid it? So I did what anyone would do in that situation who wasn’t really working on anything other than the thing they can’t mention…I told him I was working on a children’s book for someone in Rhode Island. It was a lie of course, and yes, part of me feels bad about it, but I also didn’t want to say I’m working on nothing. For my family, working on nothing would be as bad as working on a Tarot deck! So why Rhode Island? Why the tiniest state in the U.S? Your guess is as a good as mine.
Again, this may be a coincidence but out of all of the states in the U.S I’ve never worked on a children’s book in any one of them, except for Texas, and that was years before I’d told my little white lie to my family member regarding Rhode Island. It remains to be seen if I actually do illustrate this lady’s children’s books, but I really hope so. If she still wants me to do so, it will be after the project I am currently working on for her.
James is the artist behind the illustrations on this site, maintains the website, writes the blogs and puts together the newsletter.