James Fenner is a freelance illustrator who has studied Media Art and Animation at The Art Institute Of Portland, in Oregon. His illustration is a harmonious mix of graphite and digital techniques, distinguished by its dreamlike approach and whimsical sets. Fenner is an aspiring editorial illustrator, most of his pieces tell their own tale, and the characters he depicts are more protagonists of a larger story than simple subjects. (cf. Fresh&Bold)
© All images courtesy of the artist
How it is fickle, leaving one alone to wander
the halls of the skull with the fluorescents
softly flickering. It rests on the head
like a bird nest, woven of twigs and tinsel
and awkward as soon as one stops to look.
That pile of fallen leaves drifting from
the brain to the fingertip burned on the stove,
to the grooves in that man’s voice
as he coos to his dog, blowing into the leaves
of books with moonlit opossums
and Chevrolets easing down the roads
of one’s bones. And now it plucks a single
tulip from the pixelated blizzard: yet
itself is a swarm, a pulse with no
indigenous form, the brain’s lunar halo.
Our compacted galaxy, its constellations
trembling like flies caught in a spider web,
until we die, and then the flies
buzz away—while another accidental
coherence counts to three to pass the time
or notes the berries on the bittersweet vine
strewn in the spruces, red pebbles dropped
in the brain’s gray pool. How it folds itself
like a map to fit in a pocket, how it unfolds
a fraying map from the pocket of the day.”
Joanie Mackowski, “Consciousness”
“ We were nothing more than a collection of infinite almosts. ”
“ I don’t know how it happened, but I fell—
and I was immense, one dislocated arm
wedged between two buildings. I felt some ribs
had broken, perhaps a broken neck, too;
I couldn’t speak. My dress caught bunched
about my thighs, and where my glasses shattered
there’d spread something like a seacoast, or maybe
it was a port. Where my hair tangled with power lines
I felt a hot puddle of blood.
I must have passed out,
but when I woke, a crew of about fifty
was building a winding stairway beside my breast
and buttressing a platform on my sternum.
I heard, as through cotton, the noise of hammers,
circular saws, laughter, and some radio
droning songs about love. Out the corner
of one eye (I could open one eye a bit) I saw
my pocketbook, its contents scattered, my lipstick’s
toppled silo glinting out of reach.
And then, waving a tiny flashlight, a man
entered my ear. I felt his boots sloshing
the blood trickling there. He never came out.
So some went looking, with flares, dogs, dynamite
even: they burst my middle ear and found
my skull, its cavern crammed with dark matter
like a cross between a fungus and a cloud.
They never found his body, though. And they never
found or tried to find an explanation,
I think, for me; they didn’t seem to need one.
Even now my legs subdue that dangerous
sea, the water bright enough to cut
the skin, where a lighthouse, perched on the tip
of my great toe, each eight seconds rolls
another flawless pearl across the waves.
It keeps most ships from wrecking against my feet.
On clear days, people stand beside the light;
they watch the waves’ blue heads slip up and down
and scan for landmarks on the facing shore. ”
Joanie Mackowski, “The Larger”