Above Photo: Copyright All rights reserved by Josh Ferdaszweski and Atelier Pictures
"If you are a poet, you will see clearly that there is a cloud floating in this sheet of paper. Without a cloud, there will be no rain; without rain, the trees cannot grow; and without trees, we cannot make paper. The cloud is essential for the paper to exist. If the cloud is not here, the sheet of paper cannot be here either. If we look into this sheet of paper even more deeply, we can see the sunshine in it. If the sunshine is not there, the forest cannot grow. In fact, nothing can grow. Even we cannot grow without sunshine. And so, we know that the sunshine is also in this sheet of paper. And if we continue to look, we can see the logger who cut the tree and brought it to the mill to be transformed into paper. And we see the wheat. We know the logger cannot exist without his daily bread, and therefore the wheat that became his bread is also in this sheet of paper. And the logger’s father and mother are in it too. When we look in this way, we see that without all of these things, this sheet of paper cannot exist." - Thich Nhat Hanh, from The Heart of Understanding: Commentaries on the Prajnaparamita Heart Sutra
The landscape dilemma is the question of how to represent the unity of person and place. How can I convince my viewer of the striking and rich similarities between landscape and self? This dilemma is one of the largest fine art undertakings I have encountered and also the topic of my BFA thesis. The idea of a person as a landscape is very evident to me and my goal through the works below is to suggest this same concept to a viewer in the same way that I myself see it. The Buddhist teacher Thich Nhat Hanh states it much like I interpret it. The body, books, sand, dirt, paper... are all interconnected and representations of one another. Below are four groups of images, the first being studies used for final works, and the last two being finished products suggesting not only our close relationship with landscape, but also what the physical landscape has historically inspired in people... an awe of our world and creation. All of my friends will become mountains, all of my loved ones will become their favorite books. I am a microcosm, this world in miniature.