The Traveler’s Tale: Once Upon a Time is a surrealist collage made with vintage maps, monoprints, cut-outs, drawings, and watercolor pencils. This piece blends together a wide variety of parts and techniques, probably more so than any of my other work. The sky, tree, and apples are pieces of discarded monoprints, and the castle is an ink-jet print of one of my old pen-and-ink drawings. The main part of the landscape is a very large vintage map, to which extra color has been added. Many of the details, including the decorative border, came from a calendar that had reproductions of medieval art. The figure is cut from two different maps.
I started this surrealist collage series, which I called The Traveler’s Tale, with the expectation that I would do several large, mixed media pieces relating to the various stages of life. Life’s journey, I guess you could call it, with its many chapters. And of course, since it’s about a journey, maps would play a big part in these pieces. But each one was so involved, and took so much time to execute (especially this one!), that I just kind of moved on after completing four pieces. I’m unsure as to whether The Traveler’s Tale will continue, but I do have ideas for more, so I may go back to it at some point.
This piece creates a mood, rather than tells a specific story. I wanted to leave it open for the viewer to interpret it in their own way, based on their own experiences. As a kid, I was fascinated by fairy tales and their illustrations, which have had a strong influence on my art. The woman, dressed in a long gown, appears to be entering another world, perhaps an imaginary one. Her path leads to the mysterious castle, but why, and what will she find there? So many possibilities and unanswered questions on life’s journey.