by Maureen Keeney

My father passed away suddenly during the summer of 2019. Shortly thereafter, I started working on “Waves”, the first piece I’d worked on after a long hiatus from illustrating.

People often compare grief to the ocean: in the beginning, wave after wave washes over you — taking your breath away, leaving you in a state of disorientation. Initially, these waves are unrelenting; the world seems to stop, and the ceaseless thrashing leaves you in a state of dissociated calm. “Waves” is a visual representation of these early days of grief.

What initially struck me as a somewhat cliched metaphor took on new depth and meaning after experiencing grief for myself. Death and the grieving process is something that, at least for me, remained elusive until I lost someone I loved. The loss of my father made me view the world differently. It made me step out of my shell, and forced me to find inspiration in even the most agonizing of experiences.

Most importantly, pushing through my self consciousness — making art for arts sake — would make my father proud.

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