Sunday, November 10, 2013

The Tree of Life

I've known Jay Lake for most of my professional career. He's one of my generation's most prolific and beloved writers in the science fiction/fantasy literary scene. For me, his formidable bibliography and the critical respect he commands are not the first things I think about when I hear his name.

It's the color blue.

As in blue collar.

All of us work hard in this sf/f business. You have to, if you want to sustain a pro career. Hard work is not special. Being 'blue' is beyond just being hard-working, but possessing a seemingly bottomless wellspring of willpower to overcome long odds and to keep succeeding, despite setbacks, while being true to self.

That's Jay.

He's very publicly battled terminal cancer in recent years. He's allowed all of us to share in his journey in an uncommonly transparent way. He's a shaman, a showman, a magician, a poet.

He's a force of nature.

As many of you know, I'm working on one of the major art feats of my career as I create 54 new artworks that re-engineer and reimagine the Mexican game of chance called Loteria for modern audiences. The first dozen of those artworks will appear in my 2014 John Picacio Calendar.

'El Arbol' means 'tree' in Spanish, and that icon is one of the 54 in the traditional Loteria game, as pictured here, from the classic Pasatiempos Gallo / Don Clemente version that I played when I was a kid.

Jay has agreed to be the inspiration for my version of this icon.

Tomorrow, the terrific D. Scott Frey has very graciously agreed to be an accomplice in this act of madness, as he shoots a few reference photos of Jay for me long-distance, so that I can use those as a springboard toward creating an original drawn/painted illustration. I'll work like a demon in the coming days to make this art a reality before the calendar goes to press.

I can't say what needs to be said to Jay in words, so I'll try to do it in an illustration.

Jay's days are numbered. Same for you. Same for me. Life is a deadline.

The Tree of Life lives forever.

El Arbol.

Let's do this.


Blogger Paul Weimer said...

Bless your heart for doing this, John.

8:55 AM  
Blogger Kerry aka Trouble said...

Thank you John - this is an awesome way to memorialize Jay.

Kerry aka Trouble

11:51 AM  
Blogger Ruth said...

That's wonderful, John. Thank you.

12:33 PM  
Anonymous Julianna H said...

I love this idea! Thank you for doing it. :)

12:59 PM  
Anonymous Brenda Cooper said...

Thanks, John. This is great.

6:07 PM  

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