Oliver Jeffers’s The Wall is part of a series that explores the conflict between the drive to understand things beyond our comprehension and the relative ease of blissful ignorance. Jeffers mixes classical styles with modern imagery to articulate a search for knowledge that is frustrating, at times, and, often, absurd. The Wall’s comic image of a man who goes beyond beating his head against a wall to literally forcing his way through it struck us as the perfect cover for our Rejection issue.
The Wall represents just one facet of Jeffers’s vast catalog of art. The Brooklyn-based artist works in a wide range of styles and media, from oil paintings with scientific and mathematical formulas scrawled over them to more conceptual dipped portraits in which a large portion of the canvas is obscured by a solid coating of paint. He is also well known for his picture books, which have been translated into more than thirty languages and have received numerous awards. His first book, How to Catch a Star, was acquired by its publisher the day after the manuscript was submitted.
Jeffers views his many techniques as pieces of a unified practice, using whatever method best complements the concept. On his website, he writes that his “picture books are about storytelling, and [his] art is generally about question asking.” He adds that “both are about . . . trying to make sense of the world.” It’s this sense of investigation and curiosity that makes Jeffers’s work both accessible and provocative.
More can be seen at www.oliverjeffers.com.