Vance Feldman’s ForeverScape began on September 26, 2009 and has continued to grow ever since, soon to break the thousand page threshold. The illustration started as pen and ink, now watercolor and even oils are entering the toolset. Eventually other physical media will be incorporated. Spanning over 800 seamlessly linked pages, the ’scape extends about two football fields in length. The combined weight of all 8.5x11" paper sheets is about 16 lbs. The past several hundred pages not only connect left-to-right. When squeezed down into a five-column format, it connects to form a continuous vertical image that tiles endlessly in any direction. It is an immense puzzle wrapped lovingly with satire, social commentary and savage irony—it is a psychedelic existential crisis.
Now loading the longest ongoing
illustration in the world.
Please be patient...
“It goes until I do...”
Vance Feldman has pledged to continue expanding the ForeverScape until death or other unfortunate circumstance. Unwavering dedication presents several challenges. First of all, it is inconceivable to partition the works individually. Selling them one-by-one would be a travesty. In essence, Vance can’t sell his work like most artists. When he works on other art, he feels like he is cheating on a spouse and therefore does so only under rare circumstances and with great remorse. Commissions are turned down on a regular basis. “There is no escape from the ForeverScape,” it haunts his dreams. He has spoken of waking up blinded by hundreds of pages hung on the wall that he has not yet drawn. The ’scape’s past, future and present are like voiceless incarnations emerging from darkness, pulling Vance’s already cold and calculated mind into a world of self-deluded insanity, much to our delight. ■
As the creator of the ForeverScape, I find it hard to speak to its meaning. I don’t feel like I am the most qualified person to make such judgements. Yes, I do make narratives. Often people ask if it is a graphic novel or a comic book. It is not. That’s not to imply there are no stories or plot arcs. I spend a great deal of time pondering the story—I have a general idea of where I want to be in one-hundred pages, five-hundred pages and I even have specific ideas about where characters, motifs and style will be after the next thousand pages. I won’t tell you though, it would spoil the surprise.
I can say that I foresee no point at which I will become bored with the project. I have a few “Break-in-case-of-emergency” ideas in my back pocket in case I ever have a meltdown. Extra dimensions anyone? After the first couple months, I feared that I would be bored after a year. The exact opposite was true, I was even more passionate. After the first year, I thought there’s no way this could keep up, but once again my worries have no merit, over two years later.
I almost never work in the studio. People often imagine that my workspace must be enormous with a big drawing table at the heart of it. In fact, the exact opposite is true. I almost exclusively work at the local pub or coffee shop. I very rarely work on more than four panels at a time because of this constraint. There’s something about the white noise of human socialisation that provides the perfect backdrop to the repeated gestures of drawing. Since I work in public, I am constantly bombarded with questions about my art while I work it... Sometimes the distraction is well, distracting, but most of the time enjoy the direct insight of the casual observer. A second pair of eyes can illuminate something that was there all along.
The earlier parts were much easier to work with physically. It only required butting two pages together and I used only black ink with no sketching ahead of time. Now, with the vertical dimension, I often have to deal with four-corner intersections and color complicates things to no end. I used to only carry a pen, now I lug around a bag stuffed with 128 markers and pencils.
Wrapping around the fifth column is also tricky, and leads to difficulty in keeping every page in order. I try to do as little pencil sketching ahead of time, but sometimes it is required to assemble some of the more complex scenes. Plus, if you draw something in pencil first, you have to re-draw it, only slowing down progression. I’m very particular about line and form, but I roll with mistakes— I never throw out a “Mess-Up” page, at least I have not so far.
On Art History
I have done a great deal of research both personal and academic into artists and movements. But honestly, I have no enthusiasm for what art historians might make up about my work. I’ve studied 13th-17th century Chinese porcelain and scrutinized medieval illuminated manuscripts, post-modernism, modernism, psychedelia and the surrealist movement and even French Romanticism with a bit of ancient Greek architecture and Chinese handscrolls tossed in. Granted, it takes some skill to fluently piece together influences, connections and even individual pieces of art into the grand scheme of things, they are only secondary to the art. Some would argue that the institutional historians can influence the direction of art by calcifying public perceptions of acceptable art, I say it is a whole load of hogwash. The art is what I remember. Theories in Art History cannot be repeated and tested.
If you had asked me ten years ago, my go-to influences would have been the standard contemporary surrealist’s response: Magritte, Paul Rosenquist, Heironymous Bosch, Escher, Max Ernst. Some people have pointed at portions of the scape, saying it resembles Alex Gray. Well, art historians, I’m making it easy with the scape. Every single piece is in chronological order, so stringing together a narrative between periods should be easy, right? As of 2011, I’ve only read one graphic novel, and I’ve only seen two drawings by R. Crumb, who by the way is a sissy: it took 10 years to draw 200 pages of Genisis. ■
Vance Feldman emerged into the world in December of 1982. Even in his youth, he exhibited a dire passion for art and held several exhibitions of works in oil prior to attending university as an International Baccalaureate. Vance declined nearly full-ride merit scholarships to the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and the San Fransisco Art Institute. He chose to pursue a more rounded liberal arts education. He earned his B.A. in Studio Art from Reed College with a thesis in Digital Animation. Vance has resided in Portland, Oregon for the last decade and is an accomplished interactive developer and animator. He has exhibited his art throughout the Northwest and his shows are met with capacity attendance. Vance was the Sustainable Seattle artist in residence for 2011. He has shown the scape in Portland, Denver, Eugene and at the Seattle Center (Space Needle).
Vance has worked with many world-renowned creative directors in the entertainment industry. In his early professional career he created interactive animation for the Beastie Boys Mix It Up Tour
and designed 3D sets for NFL Special Events. He has worked on numerous interactive projects from an 18-foot long media wall at the Library of Congress to a permanent installation at the Portland Art Museum. Currently, Vance works as a full-time software developer and adds to the world-famous ForeverScape every moment he can find.
— The Denver Egotist
“To call his work monumental would be something of an understatement.”
Read Full Article in Reed Magazine
“An impressive work of ink and watercolor...”
Read Full Article in Portland Mercury
“It’s a surreal piece, spanning many landscapes and environments— bringing in everything from a factory manufacturing Buddha statues to colonies of germs spewed from a "McSludgewich" box.”
— Portland Mercury
“This just blew my mind. Seamless stacked hand drawn illustrations that go on, well, forever.”
“Wow. That looks like an illustration of the craziest dream ever.”
“I clicked on a facebook ad... and it blew my mind. Imagine what you‘d get if you handed Salvador Dali a pen and an endless roll of paper... then you started feeding him acid.”