Jay Dart has created fictional worlds known as Yawnder and Elsewheres in order to explain his creative process. The main character, referred to by Dart as his alter ego, Jiggs, is on a journey to discover an original idea. Each of his illustrations contributes to the evolving narrative about the mystical nature of inspiration, the search for innovative creation, and the dissemination of ideas.
Dart also uses allegories to toy with current challenges (and opportunities) facing contemporary artists and creators: new technologies such as cloud computing, social networking, and the global community of the internet. As an artist, Dart sees the experience of inspiration as a private process with the internal ingestion of external influences taking place, and new ideas taking shape. The world Dart has created allows him to communicate his own challenges and exploits as a visual artist, as well as connect with the universal experiences of all creators.
As the subjects of his work wander through the horizonless expanse of the blank page, they encounter a whimsical wilderness complete with allegorical characters and elements such as Magical Mystery Beards, Foredad Clouds, and Geist Trees. The term geist, defined as the spirit of an individual, is used to describe the colourful swatches that appear throughout his drawings, representing the spirit of an individual’s ideas.
Jiggs, the main character, finds a source of geists in the lights in the sky over Yawnder. These lights are a source of inspiration not only for Jiggs, but for all those who wander over Yawnder. When he procures a geist, by building himself a very tall ladder in order to fish them out of the sky, Jiggs proclaims his first invention: the Magical Mystery Beard. Soon enough, other wanderers happen upon this source of inspiration and he finds out his invention was not so inventive after all, forcing him to dig deeper to create something unique.
Greetings from Yawnder! will bring Dart’s world to life. Each illustration will recount a different layer to the story, inviting the viewer to help Jiggs on his journey. There will be installations of geist trees, jars with Magical Mystery Beards, and twig libraries, bringing Yawnder beyond the pages and into the gallery space. Visitors will be asked to participate in the creation and dissemination of ideas. With activitiy stations throughout the gallery space, this participatory exhibition will have the visitor contributing to both the story and the creative process.