Desert Junk: Contemporary Illustration

Pieces of junk found in the desert in watercolor on paper.

These found pieces of junk were used for the short movie entitled, Up to Now as part of the Exodus Project--a Joshua Tree exploration in the high desert of California. I made the movie with two of my good friends: Jonathan Nesmith and Susan Holloway.

Each of these 7 x 10-inch watercolors represent a piece of emotional baggage in the story: worry, anger and rot, trauma, anxiety, an abusive childhood, bad relationships, wasted years and regret, guilt and shame, fear, and depression. There's even one for "good measure," which is the scroll. These objects, or burdens, were dragged along the desert floor by the main character in the movie: Moppet, who morphs into a spiritual being named Yuddy, a play on the Hebrew letter: YUD. The Yud, in Kabbalah, represents The Infinite Point, or Light, for which everything is created. See how complicated it all gets?

These little scrap real-life junk items were found by a friend of mine who was teaching me Hebrew at my shul. He found them in Death Valley on an Exodus trip of his own and brought them back to me, with me in mind. I did not know what I was going to do with this box of junk, but he thought I would wind up using them in some creative way. It were these junk pieces that later became the entire premise for the Exodus Project, and now, I can't thank him enough. What a huge inspiration.

After I created the whole Exodus Project, I made a little Artist's Book called the Spark that includes a copy of the movie on a special flash drive, plus the book that gives a bit of an explanation of The Infinite Light (YUD). It is part of a special edition that you can read about here.