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How this all started

So one morning, followed by our dogs, I was crossing the yard to my studio where I was going to paint — not sure what I wanted to paint, which is frequently the way I start — when I spotted an old piece of a broken pool hose. I thought it looked like an elephant’s trunk. Before I knew it, I was hammering it onto a canvas and painting it grey. Then came the elephant around it. It was working — the colors and the movement of the paint. Then came the words, “I Am the Elephant In the Room.”

That was the beginning of this book.

Telling stories, whether on film, video or canvas, has been my life. I am a visual storyteller and my passion is taking people on some kind of ride to a place where something gets revealed.

As a director and producer, I’ve had the good fortune to be a part of some of the best shows on television, including Alias, The Sopranos, Lost and (starting this summer) Game of Thrones. Whether I’m shooting a scene or painting a canvas, I am telling a story that I need to share.

There were times I was able use my paintings as part of the storytelling — “The Hatch Painting” on Lost, “The Boy With Pink Stars Falling” on Under the Dome. With this book, it all comes together.

What’s in the book

Utilizing my paintings, drawings and sculptures along with minimal words, THE ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM tells three different stories. Like a fairy tale for adults, the characters are twisted and all struggle to survive in a strange and challenging world.

ANIMAL LOGIC is a series of animal portraits and messages containing ironic and critical messages to us humans.

THE URBAN ACROBATS is the story of Rueben and Carla, just a couple street kids from abusive homes who, in order to survive, have learned quite literally how to “float above the pain”. But defying gravity in this world has its price.

WANDA WOKE UP is the journey of a young woman who has a serious case of low self-esteem and only feels good about herself when she is with a man. Unfortunately, Wanda’s choice in men is questionable.

MY WIFE GOT EATEN BY AN ALLIGATOR is the story of revenge and forgiveness. Set in sunny Florida, this is the tale of the Highwater family and what happens when Helen, wife and mother, is playing golf with her girlfriends and is suddenly snatched and eaten by an alligator. “They were all going to have a nice lunch. But instead Helen was lunch.”

The next story begins with the premise that in the womb we know WHO WE ARE but once we are born we forget it all. The story follows a man who takes many years to remember and eventually becomes who he wants to be.

Throughout the book, there are also portraits of various animals we share the planet with. They all have messages for us humans. Sarcastic, maybe, but always things we need to hear. These animals don’t lie. Unlike people, they don’t know how. THE ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM will hopefully make you laugh, think, and feel something about our lives and the often bizarre world we live in. It speaks to the peculiarities and challenges we all face in this life and don’t always like to talk about. I wake up everyday with the desire to be the best I can be. Often I fail, but I try. All of the characters in this book, in their own ways, do the same. If you’ve related to my work in the past, I hope you will check out THE ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM. It comes from my heart, mind, and hand, to you.

Here are a few spreads I’m working on

The bear:

The horse:

The monkey:

Much more on the way!

- Jack