Last May I was invited to contribute original images to Nostos, a new literary journal. The term “Nostos” refers to the experience of returning home after a journey, as in Homer’s The Odyssey. I was intrigued.
As is often the case with these things, editor Lawrence Tjernell was facing a deadline and I was embarking on a two week trip to the east coast. I threw my paints in my suitcase and considered what I might do. In New York I visited the Museum of Modern Art, where I saw Robert Rauschenberg’s series of transfer drawings illustrating the thirty-four cantos of Dante’s Inferno. Though Dante’s work was created in the early 1300s, Rauschenberg only used contemporary images in his interpretation because, in his words, ”The role of the artist is to see what is in the world today.” This resonated with me and I chose to focus my images on immigration, specifically our relationship with our southern neighbors. I began each picture with a graphite drawing from aerial view of the United States-Mexican border. To these I added a watercolor overlay.
“Transit,” the left image, is from an aerial photograph of a highway system in Tijuana. I added the painted lines to create movement and the sense of going from one place to another.
“Terrain,” the middle image, derives from a photo of a mountainous area near the San Ysidro border crossing. I added the blue circular stroke to reference a topographical rendering of such a place.
“Mapping,” the right image, starts with a drawing from an agricultural landscape in El Paso, Texas. The rectangular fields reminded me of the grid on a map, an essential navigation tool.
Nostos includes work from seven poets, a short story author, an essayist and an artist.
Please join us for a reading at College of Marin on Tuesday, November 7 at 7pm in the Learning Resources Center, College of Marin Library building, 835 College Avenue, Kentfield.
Nostos is now on the bookshelves of Copperfield's Books in Petaluma, Novato, and San Rafael, and available on Amazon.