In my search for cover art for The Wisdom of Les Miserables, I found a close up of church doors with beautiful inset stained glass. The church appeared to be European and date from the 19th century. That works, I thought. The grain of the oak doors spoke of solidity, maturity, and--yes--wisdom. Then, I stumbled upon a piece of art that captured in a much deeper way my vision of the book's soul. The art was titled, “Val,” and the artist, Douglas M. Lawson, was someone I already knew. What I didn’t know was whether he would consent to let me use this work for the cover of my book. I was just as thrilled when he said yes, as he was to have me ask. Now, I want you to get to know him.
AJG: Doug, how do you feel about having “Val” on the cover of a book?
Lawson: I'm elated. It’s an honor.
AJG: You’ve titled the work, “Val.” Can you explain what that means or refers to?
Lawson: “Val,” is short for heart-valve. It’s an interesting coincidence that your book is about Jean Valjean and that you were drawn to the picture. We are looking into a cutaway of a human heart. The shape of the heart, in this case, is that of a broken human being, as Jean Valjean was. If you look closely below the heart and to the right, you will see the outline of a dove—a symbol of wisdom, peace and love.
AJG: Exactly what the book is about. What is it that you try to express, not just in this work, but in your art in general?
Lawson: I want to express many different shades of human emotion—happiness, sadness, anger—and spirituality, as well.
AJG: How would you describe your artistic style?
Lawson: I don’t like to describe it in words. Rather, I am attempting to combine the surrealist ethos with abstract expressions.
AJG: What are your goals as an artist?
Lawson: To have my work published, to become more involved with video production and animation.
AJG: What media do you work with?
Lawson: I use Photoshop, Illustrator, and Video Studio. Although I am left-handed, I do most of my computer work with a right-handed mouse.
AJG: Can you tell us what you are currently working on?
Lawson: A music-video featuring Johann Sebastian Bach’s little fugue in G minor.
AJG: I understand that you have an interest in writing. Can you tell me something about that?
Lawson: I’ve started an advice book: Never Bet on a Horse Named Glue...and Other Logical Choices.
AJG: I love it already! Can’t wait to see it in print someday. Thanks, Doug, for sharing with us and for making “Val” available to me. No more suitable piece of art exists to accompany what I am trying to express in The Wisdom of Les Miserables: Lessons From the Heart of Jean Valjean.By the way, I have my eye on another of Douglas M. Lawson’s works for a second WLM book. You can e-mail the artist at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Copyright (c) 2009 by Alfed J. Garrotto