Into the Deep Progress

2nd panel cutting progress of 8 panel series Into the Deep

2nd panel cutting progress of 8 panel series Into the Deep

I recently decided to chronicle the progress of the project Into the Deep on my blog as well as on Patreon.

Into the Deep Project Overview


This project aims to answer these questions but also create new questions

What would happen if we could actually drop into the very deepest part of the ocean?

What would we see/ experience?

What would we learn about ourselves if we took that same journey into the recesses of our mind/ body/ soul?

What can we learn from bioluminescent sea creatures that live in the most extreme environments on earth?

What is bioluminescence? is the production and emission of light by a living organism.

To present these animals in a way we’d find them in the deep each panel will feature creature from a specific Zone or Depth of the ocean


Mesopelagic ( Twilight) Zone- 200-1,000m (660-3,300ft) Bathypelagic ( Midnight) Zone- 1,000 - 4,000m ( 3,300-13,000ft) Abyssopelagic ( Abyss) Zone - 4,000 - 6,000m (13,000 - 20,000ft) Hadopelagic ( Trench) Zone - 6,000 - 11,033m (20,000 - 36,200ft)


1st creating sketches 2nd translate drawings to 4x4' woodcuts 3rd spending 30-40hrs woodcutting each of the 8 panels 4th printing the panels on fabric estimated printing in spring 2019 of all panels cut ( 1-3 panels) 5th stretching fabric over frames/ creating wall hangings 6th hand- painting the parts of each creature that are bioluminescent with reflective paint 7th additional small woodcuts of creatures created for educational purposes. 8th educational guides will be created for the exhibit with names, sizes of each creature categorized by depth/ area 9th Exhibition collaboration with local musicians/ video artists to create a whole experience


Aim to have 8 4x4' panels cut and printed by the end of 2019 but this could potentially take longer

The scope of this project is very large and will likely take several years ( this started in 2018) Aiming to have first exhibition locally in Madison in spring of 2020

There is potential to travel with this exhibit


Included for the really deep divers...

Inspiration and Philosophy

The inspiration for this project came while reading the book “Glow: Animals with Their own Night - Lights” by W. H. Beck with my oldest son. The book is about bioluminescence and this particular passage about dinoflagellates stuck out.

"Little animals glow. But if you have enough of them they can have a BIG effect"

The fact that small creatures can coalesce together with spectacular results ( in the case of dino-flagellates glowing tides) is a metaphor for the times we live in.While researching further I discovered that Bioluminescence is the most common form of communication on earth!

I was ever curious and then read the book “Other Minds: The Octopus, the Sea, and the Deep Origins of Consciousness” by Peter Godfrey-Smith and learned that the ocean is the cradle of life, how we evolved from single-celled organisms, developed nervous systems to support our consciousness, just as an octopus has but in a completely different way. A powerful quote from the book:

“When you dive into the sea you are diving into the origin of us all”

This perfectly describes this feeling deep within that pursuing this project is also a way of raising consciousness.

Into the deep on the surface is about these amazing creatures and a sci-fi take on humans being able to descend into the ocean, but it’s also about diving deeper into ourselves. It’s about how these creatures living in the harshest most extreme environment on the planet, without light have evolved in the dark and how we can learn to do the same.

All of these interesting facts compiled together were instrumental in turning my fascination, awe, and curiosity into admiration, respect, and love.

Education and saving the sea

Aside from philosophy, a huge goal of Into the Deep is to allow people to experience what the depths of the sea are like. To bring these creatures into focus is the start of changing the way we think about the oceans.

Again Peter Godfrey-Smith sums this up:

“ The features that made the sea productive of life and mind are invisible to us most of the time. They exist on a tiny scale, the sea does not change visibly as we do things to it- not in the way that cutting down a forest is immediately, undeniably visible. Waste poured into the sea just seems to drift and dilute away. As a result the sea rarely appears urgent as an environmental problem”

To evoke the same feelings of wonder most people feel about space exploration in artwork/exhibits about the deep sea is the first step in caring about the ocean and about the actions we take that affect it.

This are the titles of each Panel:

Panel 1- Surrender ( epipelagic)

Panel 2- Detachment ( mesopelagic)

Panel 3- Discovery ( bathypelagic)

Panel 4- Conception (bathypelagic)

Panel 5- Renewal (abyssalpelagic)- lower left

Panel 6 - Trials and Tribulations (abyssalpelagic)

Panel 7 - Reconnect ( hadalpelagic)

Panel 8- Resurface (epipelagic)

2nd panel in progress detail shots

2nd panel in progress detail shots

I started cutting panel 2 before having worked through all the sketches and it originally was going to be the first panel but I decided to add an additional panel because I felt it was important to include the very first panel as a how this started or light introduction or acclamation before the panel by panel descent begins.

This project has included vast amounts of research, cross referencing, evolving and story building to get to this point and now it's about execution. It's the most focus I have ever given to a project and has been ongoing since the beginning of 2018. I have given many details about the overall project and even the titles of each panel but that is all the detail I am going to give about each individual panels meaning because every person has their own journey and should be able to determine in their own way what each panel is saying to them.

On Patreon, I feature video clips, other progress shots and have talked about other meanings that have attached themselves to the panels as I'm producing them. If you'd like to see this project unfold in real time or would like to support this project and receive awesome awards click this Patreon link for more information

Denver Art

Denver River North( RiNo) Street Art/ Murals, Denver Art Museum and other public art, Boulder Dushanbe Tea House from Denver trip February 2019

My husband and I traveled to Denver so he could participate in a Doomtown tournament. While he gamed for 2 days I went out to get interact with art in Denver.

We did get to spend the day together in Boulder and attempted to get to the top of the first few Flatiron Mountains but without spikes on my hiking boots I kept falling and eventually we had to go back down so I didn't get seriously injured. ( part of the way down I butt skied) We walked around on Pearl st for a bit and then went to have tea at the Boulder Dushanbe tea house which was imported piece by and piece from Tajikistan and put together on site. It's the only tea house of it's kind in the United States. It's definitely a magical place. If you're ever in Boulder make sure you visit, the tea was as excellent as the surroundings.

The very next day, in 30 degree weather which was like spring compared to the weather I was used to, I went to explore the street art of River North (RiNo) district of Denver. I walked mostly on Larimer st but wandered wherever I saw more color from afar in and around buildings and alleyways brought a feast for the eyes. I spent about 2 hours walking around and counted over 50 works of art in a 10 block radius. I'm positive I didn't see all of the art tucked carefully in every nook and cranny but what I did see was amazing. Here are some of my favorites.

The murals above were all found down one alleyway

The murals above were all found down one alleyway


I love the creative treatment of all the surfaces. The eyes of the birds in the mural on the top right are actual windows. The knives and tools of the mural in the top center I found out are there because a handyman inhabits the space. The telephone pole in front of the mural also gets a coat of paint to blend in. The robots in the top left were so very curious about what was happening down the street they were peeking out from a door. There's a playfulness, whimsy and carefree in all of this street art that is more comforting to me. It's out in the open there isn't a rest in between murals for your eyes to rest and that's the point. This art cannot be contained by stark white spaces it's meant to interact and play with it's surroundings or help you see opportunity to where it didn't exist as a garage door or brick wall. It's a journey to multitude of worlds.

Below is my absolute favorite mural of this area and probably most captures the spirit of RiNo

That night we ventured downtown once again to eat at Domo an authentic Japanese restaurant for the 2nd time of our trip. This time with friends and when we left we were in a full blown snowstorm but as Midwesterners we still had time to stop for the famous VooDoo Donuts before we drove back through the blizzard to the hotel.

Photos above at Domo Japanese Restaurant with the best sushi ( Wankosushi) I have ever had. Bottom center is a duct tape mural in VooDoo Donuts. Bottom right is the Hibiscus frosting donut I ate, so good!

The very next day I ventured downtown again to visit the Denver Art Museum. The Harrison building ( top left) actually hangs over the street which is crazy. The other building that is apart of the Denver Art Museum is being remodeled so I saw a smaller selection of the collection the museum has. I could have seen the Dior exhibit if I had known enough in advance the whole weekend was sold out.

This is a highlight of what I saw. It was a pleasure to see that along with museum admission people could dabble in printing n house by scratching into styrofoam plate and then printing them ( top right, second row left). Jordan Casteel's exhibit Returning the Gaze was treat. ( second row middle and right, third row left) Her depictions of people she saw in her Bronx community was so inspiring, transforming people often overlooked on the street into characters of great esteem. She approached people to have conversations before taking photos that she would create paintings from. This gave me so many ideas to incorporate into a collaborative art class I will be teaching over the summer. From the Museum's collection Stampede is an exhibit featuring artwork that contain aminals in several categories. It was fun to see a Nick Cave piece( third row middle) in the Imagined animals section and always a pleasure to see more of Deborah Butterfield's driftwood horse family ( there's one at the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art) ( third row right). My favorite Julie Buffalohead piece in the Eyes On exhibit was Six- pack colonialism ( bottom left) with powerful imagery of colonial ships emerging from plastic 6- pack plastic rings. I wanted to hang out in the interactive insect nursery Incubation Effect by Nicole Anona Banowetz and squish the inflated sculpture for much longer but I wanted to see more of the city

After wandering around the Denver Public Library for a bit I went outside and heard loud music and announcing which turned out to be The World Cup of ice climbing so I took a bit of time watching the last of the women compete before walking down 16th street mall on my way to see the big blue bear looking into the Convention Center and walking back to head back to the hotel and relax.

Left sculpture outside Denver Public Library, Middle Women's Ice Climbing competitor in Civic park, Right 40 ft Blue Bear looking into Denver Convention Center.

Left sculpture outside Denver Public Library, Middle Women's Ice Climbing competitor in Civic park, Right 40 ft Blue Bear looking into Denver Convention Center.

I packed a bunch of art seeing and culture into this short trip I hope to go back and visit other areas of this culturally rich city. I miss Denver already.