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A Series of Surreal Wave Prints Inspired By Jonathan Wilson’s Dreams

It might seem odd, growing up in Wisconsin and having rarely lived less than a few hours from the ocean that I should dream of waves, but there they are: a regular companion to my sleep.  I often think of them as my “frustrated surfing dreams” as usually, I find myself in front of some waves, but almost always something gets in the way of actually going out to surf: usually the lack of a board or the waves disappear, or I get distracted as the dream takes me off in another direction. A psychologist would probably have a field day with the meaning of these dreams, but for me, the more significant aspect is the waves and ocean themselves. Often the sense of place is so vivid and charged that these places and waves exist as a feeling in my body that I can recall days, weeks, even years later. And often the situations are surreal in unlikely ways: waves breaking in a narrow canal in a suburban neighborhood, on top of and down the side of a cliff of a large caldera, on top of a small set of bleachers in a field. A few weeks ago I found myself trying to surf inside a small living room filled with water. Usually, I never make it into the water, and if I do I rarely have a board, and if I do end up with a board it might end up being a floppy mess, or a rug, or piece of cardboard. I can count on one hand (missing a few fingers) the number of times I have actually found myself properly surfing in a dream and those dreams lived up to the lightness and grace one would expect from surfing without a physical body.

 

Hokusai's "The Great Wave off Kanagawa"
Hokusai’s “The Great Wave off Kanagawa”

 

Despite its overuse, I feel that Hokusai’s Great Wave off Kanagawa remains as one of the truly incredible images to grace humanity, and is a continuing inspiration to me as an artist, surfer, and lover of the ocean. Part of my motivation to create these images is to attempt to convey the power and grace of waves as Hokusai did. Considering the number of surfers and lovers of the ocean, I am sometimes surprised at the lack of good wave art. Also, surf art tends toward turquoise tubes and pink sunsets, which is one beautiful face of the ocean…

…but there is also the dark, moody side which deserves to be seen and learned from:  the mysterious energy of the ocean that comes to us at night like a living being, the element of water, the astral plane, la luna and the stirrings of our emotional being, the unstoppable tide of the feminine way.

 

Wave Dream #1
Wave Dream #1

 

With these dreams as my inspiration, I am undertaking a series of images to capture (if not the specifics of my dreams) the impact of the energy of the ocean in the astral plane: rolling, flowing, and surging in surreal and magnificent waves.

About the Prints

I am planning on creating a series of 10 images, two of which I have already completed.  I have chosen the medium of linoleum block printing with its bold, graphic darks and lights and elegant lines to conveys the power, grace, and mystery of the ocean.

These prints are all completely original and unique images inspired by my dreams.  I hand-carve the linoleum blocks and then hand-print them on Japanese mulberry washi paper.  Each image will be printed in a limited edition series of 200 prints, so that is all that will ever be printed.  They will be hand signed, editioned and stamped by me.  The image size is 8” x 10”, mat size: 13” x 15”, and outer frame dimensions about 14” x 16”.

 

Wave Dream #2
Wave Dream #2

 

Why Kickstarter?

At the basic level, my project will not be very difficult to accomplish—just some paper, ink, time, and elbow grease. What I really need is a little indication that the world might wants these images to come into being: to feel out if the surfing and larger wave-loving communities find enough pleasure in my surreal imaginings to support my efforts. I have set a modest goal of $700 which will 1) convince me that there is enough interest in my images to go through with the project and 2) provide me the startup cash needed to make the prints and either make or order custom-made frames.

And, as it turns out I will be moving back to Korea very soon, so it will be more difficult and expensive to make, sell, and ship these prints in the U.S., which makes this KickStarter test all the more important to convince me to go through with the full print series.

Thank you for visiting and considering my Kickstarter campaign.  I hope you enjoy my images.  I look forward to meeting you and trying to delight you with future images in this series.  Please share my campaign with anyone you know who loves the ocean and its waves.

Sincerely,

Jonathan Wilson

Risks and challenges

The only real challenge to completing this project is the fact that I will be moving to Korea mid-December. Getting them all printed before then will not be a problem, but framing and sending them out will be a bit more challenging. However, I have a few willing family members who can help me take care of that, so I don’t anticipate any real issue.

The other issue is that I was really hoping to get this campaign going in time for the holiday season for people that might want to give the gift of wave art to their favorite surfing loved-ones. I’m getting started quite late, but I still want to try to get them shipped out to supporters before Christmas. This is why I am running the campaign for a slightly short 21 days. However, it still might be difficult to get them to you by Christmas. Then the main issue will be that I plan to order custom-made frames and mats which may not arrive in time. But worst case scenario, you won’t have them by Christmas. Note: for orders outside the United States, I definitely won’t be able to get them to you before Christmas.

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