Secret Life of Trees

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Nature has got it all figured out. Though there is struggle and competition, there is also a beneficial synergy in which all living things exist in a system of checks and balances, ultimately reliant on each other for survival. Standing firm, as the steadfast icon of this basic truth is the tree. Subject of mythology, poetry and ideology it holds the secrets to time itself. According to scientific sources, Methuselah, a 4,845-year-old Great Basin bristlecone pine (Pinus longaeva), was the oldest tree in the world until they discovered a 5,062-year-old P. longaeva. A drop in the bucket compared to the 4.543 billion year old Earth, however tree fossils have been recorded to precede dinosaurs by 140 million years.

William Blake once wrote: “The tree which moves some to tears of joy is in the eyes of others only a green thing that stands in the way. Some see nature all ridicule and deformity… and some scarce see nature at all. But to the eyes of the man of imagination, nature is imagination itself.” I have reached out to my community, near and far, to join me in a collaborative tribute to these monuments of evolution by contributing photos, stories and artifacts. Inspired by these offerings, I am slowly amassing a forest of trees, individually drawn in ballpoint pen, in sketchbooks and on handmade paper. Following their complex topography, nooks, and crannies, I record all their permutations in relentless observational detail. By paying close attention to naturalistic elements I hope to capture a sense of poetic arabesque.

Aiming to develop an example of social symbiosis, I have combined memory and skill with the experiences and associations of friends, family, and acquaintances, which enhance each other in a project that expands with rhizomatic potential. From the seed of an idea to the realization of the actual project I seek to create a system of connectivity that speaks to a sense of community and environmental awareness in the subtle form of this simple yet majestic representative of nature.