Thursday Thoughts

Visual art functions at three levels:

  • Emotional
  • Optical
  • Intellectual

Most art works on one or two of the levels, but masterpieces employ all three with equal strength to create sublime and transcendental work.

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Upcoming Solo Show

Art Show Poster

August 8th, 2015

The poster for my upcoming solo show.

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Thursday Thoughts: What is Art?

81VZc-YIAiLIn his book Understanding Comics, Scott McCloud defines art as any activity not related to survival or reproduction. He says art is the way we assert our identities as individuals and break out of the narrow roles nature has cast for us.

What do you think? How do you define art?

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Thursday Thoughts: Rebuilding after Modernity

Modernity was a fascinating time because so many artists were shattering every convention and who doesn’t love watching a good demolition? However, they were building through their destruction and manifested the beautiful paradox of moving forward into the future by looking backwards and in some ways seeming to “regress.” The progression of art history from Realism through Minimalism reads like a systematic destruction of every traditional ideal while simultaneously opening new doors to many exciting possibilities. Today, however, we are faced with a challenge. Should we continue barreling forward with this mindset of destruction? The artists of modernity were reshaping art in the aftermath of the profound cultural upheavals of two world wars and the rapid changes in technology and philosophy. It seems many of today’s artists are still making every effort to pulverize any shard left by modernity. Is that really what we need now? Is there anything left to break?

It is time to take advantage of the rubble of shattered conventions and to reconstruct new systems. Perhaps not new systems that try to achieve a universal, one-size-fits-all, set of rules, but systems that seek the unique, the applied, the specific to place, community, and time. Let’s stop trying to break things and start employing the freedom bought by modernity to rebuild.

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Tuatara: A Graphic Poem (Revised)

Drawing and Di

This is a visual adaptation of a poem I wrote. It fuses images from Ecclesiastes with a fictional narrative of a near extinct creature found in New Zealand. I used Adobe Illustrator to digitally color hand-drawn images.


Here’s a sample page

I used what I learned making the digital illuminations for Eliot’s “Preludes” to update this project with some texture and variety. You can download the complete PDF for free here.

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Digital Illumination: T.S. Eliot’s “Preludes”

Digital Collage by Jacob Rowan

Digital Collage by Jacob Rowan

I am moved by fancies that are curled
Around these images, and cling:
The notion of some infinitely gentle
Infinitely suffering thing.

Wipe your hand across your mouth, and laugh;
The worlds revolve like ancient women
Gathering fuel in vacant lots.

This is the sixth and final digital collage created to illuminate Eliot’s “Preludes.” You can see the others here. The overall design differs from the previous five and I reused elements from the preceding images to create the suggestion of revolutions and vacancy. This is new territory for me and I would welcome honest critique.

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Salvador Dalí as Illuminator

Thanks to Maria Popova at Brain Pickings I recently discovered a whole series of Salvador Dalí’s illustrations for classic works of literature. Click on the caption to see the full complement of images.

Also as a bonus check out Dalí’s twelve signs of the zodiac.


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