The third annual R A Lafferty conference took place June 9, 2018. Once again I had the honor of illustrating the official poster for the event. A little known bit of trivia is what influence artwork had in shaping this year's focus. It turns out a great deal (more on this in a later post.) Part of that influence was my choice to illustrate the short story Snuffles which then later became the subject of an hour long Podcast during the day.
Posters for the previous years had featured the man himself, in one fashion or another, and I had the feeling that it was time to move beyond portraits and into wilder content that might appeal to new readers and attendees.
I chose Snuffles because it was one of the most loved Lafferty stories, because I'd just finished another illustration for the story which I knew could make a good back cover for the program booklet, and because Lafferty himself admitted that he was, probably, Snuffles, if he was any character in his writings. Thus, as a transition away from Lafferty portraits, this subject matter seemed the smoothest.
The initial image from the reading was of two figures walking through a field of strange fruit while a large teddy bear like creature observed from rocks above the horizon.
I struggled with this illustration. And even now I feel uncomfortable when people compliment it, though I'm thrilled that they do. It's not that I'm displeased with the results, it's just that I can still feel the bruises under my skin where I wrestled with it.
Elements of the short story I tried to incorporate include the sense that Snuffles (the bear-like creature) was the center of all things and tied to all things, that the world was mercurial and wavering in a psychedelic fashion. The red flowers among the yellow grass are poppies. And there are blue representations of both barley and cannabis in the lower corners.
I'm still apprehensive toward the work, but I like the compliments it brings (which, I will note, include the first instance of someone inquiring to purchase a print of my work.)