I think the wild parts of the world are the most interesting. While I do believe cities, as social system of protection and systemic domesticity may harbor wild souls, I find in myself and the close friends I have gathered around me, different, vital needs that that can only be fed by wilderness, vastness, beauty and the perfume of the forest or the desert. -Obi Kaufmann
Green Lake, Matterhorn Ridge, Mono County, Sierra Nevada, California, Sept. 2013
Meet Obi Kaufmann; Oakland artist, writer, and Chief Storyteller for Juniper Ridge, the world’s only wilderness fragrance distillery. Immersed deep into the wildness that surrounds his home state of California, Obi takes pen to paper birthing words and images of the untamed. His recent book, Coyote and Thunder, is “85 pages of trail notes and dream journal entries that chronicle his quest for vision and adventure across the West.”
Obi and I spent time together last month during a hike in the Western Red Cedar forests of Portland. He is, in a word, authentic; exploring the lush Pacific Northwest trail with the wonderment of a wilderness virgin, in tune with all that surrounds. An artist in his own right, Obi’s supernal art work quickly became a favorite of mine. The anguish and exults of nature and man all at once.
“The air shimmers with a million spiritual magnets that implore me to keep up my practice of daily mark making, to participate and react to the beauty and torment of all existence. “
Today, Friday October 4, Obi’s latest work, Everything at its most Alive, will be opening at the Marisa Haskell Studio Gallery in Oakland, California.
“In Everything at its most Alive I’ve decided to show my half-thoughts, my process, my so-called trail paintings. All of this work was made while traveling California and the southwest in the Summer of 2013. In the wilderness, we don’t differentiate between angel and devil. In the wilderness, we are wild with our dreams. In this new work, I’ve abandoned previous palettes of ochre and crimson and adopted a new, bright spectrum of blues and yellows to convey a vividness of life outside of the city, outside of the cave, where I have for so long been making work. This work comes from the top of the mountain. This work comes from the rivers.”