Wednesday, February 23, 2011

The Tree

In the middle of working on Anton Purr's Parable of the Tree, I hit a snag. I was originally going to try to monoprint the tree, but couldn't figure out how I was going to do the words. So I paused working on it and thought it out some more. After a couple of days, I came up with my solution.

The first thing that I did was decide on the words of wisdom that hold the meaning of life:

Peace Paz 和平 سلام

Love Cariño عشق

Friendship Amistad 友谊 صداقة

Kindness Amabilidad 仁慈 لطف

Respect Respeto 尊重 احترم

Honor Honra شرف

Compassion Compasión 同情 شفق

Patience Paciencia 耐心 صبر

Charity Caridad 慈善 صدقة

Temperance Templanza زهد

Hope Esperanza 希望 أمل

As you can see, I decided to use them in four of the most commonly used languages of our time: English, Spanish, Chinese and Arabic. It took me three days of double referencing over a dozen "translation" sites to make sure I had the most likely 'true' translations into Spanish, Chinese and I don't actually speak or read any of them.

Then I hand etched them into a plexiglass plate in a semi-repeating pattern. It took 8 hours of actual etching time to complete, done over roughly 4 days.

I should probably mention this meant doing all the letter backwards (;

This is what the plate looks like, inked, with my outline of the tree that I used as a guideline:

And this is what the finished print looks like:

You should be able to click on the images for higher resolution and closer detail.


Anton Purr's Parable of the Tree

This semester, for print making, I'd decided that my theme would be parables. And I've been concentrating on the parables of trees. Now I'm thinking I might shift from parables to trees, but we'll see. As there are still at least 3 parables about trees left (lol).

Anyway, I read Anton Purr's Parable of the Tree. and envisioned a print for it. So I'm going to share his story, with my images interspersed.

The Parable of the Tree

by Anton Purr

Deep in the heart of a very old forest existed an ancient tree. Etched into the bark of this tree was the greatest wisdom of the universe. Within that wisdom lay the meaning of life. Many came from far and wide just to catch a glimpse of the Tree's wisdom. Yet while many people gazed upon the words of the Tree, the way they received it in their hearts was one of 4 different ways.

The first group of people read only small portions of the text and quickly rationalized that these words couldn't have any relevance to their lives in the present. They concluded that it could have been written by anyone and continued in their lives with little to no influence of the Tree's wisdom.

The second group of people misinterpreted the writings completely, yet their passion drove them to share their newfound beliefs and practices with anyone who would listen. They gained countless supporters in the process.

The next group of people did not even bother to read anything written on the Tree and decided to worship it and the surrounding forest instead.

The smallest of these groups was the fourth. They were the only ones to read the wisdom of the Tree for what it truly was. Tirelessly, they studied its words and applied it to their lives. With that, they gained the meaning of life.

As time passed, bitter wars began and opposition against the Tree mounted, Those who misinterpreted the text had convinced their followers of the need to destroy the tree.

With legions of people, they ventured through the forest and began cutting at the Tree's bark. In astonishment, they quickly realized that every stroke of the saw was completely ineffective, as not even a scratch had been made on the Tree's bark. Tired after many hours of attempting to destroy the Tree, the people finally left and decided to burn down the forest instead. Hours later, as the smoke of the fire faded away from the destroyed forest, there stood the Tree, completely unscathed. Great wars, earthquakes, and famine soon followed, bringing death to many. What was once a beautiful land had been turned into an empty and lifeless foundation. The only thing remaining in this cold and broken world was the Tree.

The disciples came to him and asked, "Why do you speak to the people in parables?" He replied, "The knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of heaven has been given to you, but not to them.. This is why I speak to them in parables: `Though seeing, they do not see, though hearing they do not hear or understand. In them is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah. For the people's heart has become calloused: they hardly hear with their ears, and they have closed their eyes. Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts and turn, and I would heal them.' But blessed are your eyes because they see, and your ears because they hear" (Matthew 13:10-11; 13-16).

The finished piece is as large as the top of my dining room table. To unify the images, around the tree is a blue halo. This halo is around the people at the top, who live the words. To the right, it is around the word "Respect" in various languages. To the bottom, "Temperance", also in various languages. To the left, "Peace", "Love", "Kindness", and "Compassion", again in various languages. All of these are on the tree. In each of these instances, it represents what the group has forgotten.