The Moth and the Sun
The Moth and the Sun is a picture book I worked on intermittently over the past 20 years. I turned to Kickstarter for this project after having two books published through a publisher, so I could retain creative control and print this book as I had desired since its' beginning.
“This book is said by some to have a magical power. It was only by chance that it was discovered, as it was buried in the ground inside a worn metal box. It was found by an old man digging in his garden and, without thinking, the old man tossed it away, never looking to see what was inside.”
After moving to Los Angeles in the early part of 1991, the sketches for The Moth and the Sun were started. By 1993, I moved to Paris, France where the story took another turn; being influenced by French architecture and all that was around me. Determined to have this story published, I began searching for a publisher immediately after returning to the East coast of the U.S. in the fall of 1996. While working full time as a graphic designer and art director over the next few years, I rewrote the story multiple times and completed the illustrations in pen and ink. In 1998, I found a small publisher in Colorado whose interest was piqued by the story of this moth’s impossible flight and agreed to publish it.
"A BOOK; DELICATE AND REFINED WITHIN IT'S DEEP, BEAUTIFUL AND CREATIVE HISTORY INCLUDING MAGICAL ILLUSTRATIONS. IT HOLDS A UNIVERSAL MESSAGE, SPEAKING TO ALL CHILDREN OF THE EARTH, WHETHER BIG OR SMALL!"
— SONIA ALONSO, PROFESSOR OF FRENCH AND SPANISH, LYCÉE HENRI IV, FRANCE
This publisher already had a book in progress that needed illustrations. I agreed to take the job for my first book project and The Moth and the Sun was quietly placed on the back burner. A few years passed and the publisher had the need for more whimsical stories with brighter colors. While working on my second book, The Moth and the Sun was pushed back yet again. Had this not happened as it did, The Moth and the Sun would not have evolved the way it had. While presenting the first book project to school children in the Los Angeles School District in 2009, I decided last minute, to see what these children would think of seeing just the illustrations for The Moth. With a short amount of time left with this class, I asked that the children write their own stories around my images. The stories were far from anything I imagined. The children, mostly Mexican, incorporated elements of family life (sometimes violent), Spanish terms, Mexican symbolism and more. This was the catalyst for what followed.
In 2011, the book was still not published, but the learning experience in California inspired more talks in more schools within different age groups. Taking my first and second books to France that year, I spoke in 3 different cities/towns of different socioeconomic levels. The stories again, were very different, but certain similarities in writing; phrasing, word selection and themes were consistent within each region. When I returned home, after speaking to and showing my illustrations to over 1000 children in 7 cities/2 countries, the story or the backstory rather, was written. These children sparked the creation of “Papy de Nuit” (Grandfather of the night, in French) a few letters different from, “Papillon de Nuit” (moth in French). I saw the importance of, and how needed inspiration was. Many children told me that they were inspired to become artists, writers and illustrators. Some children, after hearing the story, asked if it was true, hoping for a solid, “Yes.” This magic or fairytale aspect of my book, showed me that children still need fuel to believe in themselves and at least try for what they might believe to be impossible. In January 2014, after taking the story through many edits, cities, and the eyes and minds of many children, my book was funded through the crowdfunding platform of Kickstarter. On the final pages of the printed book, one has the opportunity to write their own story along side small images of the illustrations within. If they do write, as the imaginary author/illustrator from the 1800’s in France instructs, their dream(s) will come true. As for me, I believe this; if you don’t let go of a dream, it will happen. It may change along the way and become something lesser, greater or just different, but as this one, twenty year voyage has proved to me that you can make things happen.
"SIMPLE, HONEST VALUES; THE BEAUTY OF EVERYDAY LIFE WITH THE CAPACITY TO MAKE US HEAR MORE, TO SEE MORE AND TO FEEL MORE..."
— VLADAN GRADISTANIC, PROFESSOR OF FINE ART AND ARTIST, VIENNA, AUSTRIA