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The Abyss

Welcome to Planet SJ!

I started drawing when I was four. On a white chair, I think. At some point I moved from chairs to paper. And then from paper to celluloid, making experimental non-fiction animations and films. The films allowed me to explore the religious imaginations and comic impulses of displaced persons, primarily denizens of Prague, among whom I lived and trained artistically during the nineties.

I hand-drew every animation, mostly with India ink and a #512 nib, a tool to which Brown University professor Walter Feldman first introduced me. I was still using this method when Walter died last spring 2017, shortly after telling me a joke. I like jokes. I like to make people laugh. So does the Universe: Mann trakht und Gott lakht.

In 2010 relocated from Seattle to New England and began producing immersive, color-rich, maximalist images, which, in one pictorial field, contained as many marks on the page as an animation. When the film labs closed I found a way to engender incremental time-based movement of these images – albeit with fingers instead of projectors. With my art as the image and cardboard as the medium, I created jigsaw puzzles from my color-intense paintings – as well as anti-fascist greeting cards from my gouache and India ink drawings, making the images more accessible to my community.

Filmmaker Charles “Killer of Sheep” Burnett once told me he viewed his film as prayers and the theatre as a kind of sanctuary. I could be making this up. My mind also thinks our conversation was accompanied by cherry pie. When I vend my work at outdoor markets or host my Pie and Puzzle Happy Hours I feel like I’m running an ad-hoc ministry – the jigsaw puzzles = prayers; the participants = congregants. And everyone is eating pie. Because everything is better with pie.

World peace, piece by piece…

Planet SJ’s December

Inspiring Idea

“Move your brush, move your mind.” —
Barbara Diane Barry

© Sarah Jane Lapp, 2019