Leaves of Grass is a drawing made from a hand-written transcription of America’s epic poems of democracy, Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass. Each page is hand-written in a single line across the drawing like an individual blade of grass. Together, the book’s 438 pages form a 92 x 33-inch field of grass. Although the drawing is a literal embodiment of the poems’ central metaphor and theme—One’s self I sing, a simple separate person, / Yet utter the word Democratic, the word En-Masse—the making of this drawing was an act of engagement that challenges the distance of a viewer when contrasted to the intimacy of a reader.
These drawings take months of continuous work and almost monastic discipline to make. Though the surface imagery is benign, of street and grass, the drawings deal with some very contentious issues: What happens to one’s sense of self and home when public life is driven by immigration and war?
Title: Leaves of Grass, Walt Whitman
Size: 92″ x 33″ x 1″
Materials: Ink on Twinrocker handmade paper, Magnifiers, Audio recording
Photographed by: Thomas Little