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I was born in Sacramento and grew up in the unincorporated suburb of Carmichael. In many ways that time seems to belong to a different person: my childhood was spent creating worlds for myself to play in along with the freedom of the American River, which ran close enough I could head down there with friends on our bikes. I remember one Japanese restaurant in particular where I was fascinated by the woodcut prints they had on the walls including, of course, Hosukai’s magnificent Great Wave at Kanagawa.

After getting my bachelor’s degree at the University of California at Davis, I was ready to leave the Central Valley, its heat, its fog (the only two seasons there) and the arid sense of a place that had once been a destination yet had become a somewhere that was not San Francisco or Southern California. I came to the Puget Sound to attend the University of Washington for my MFA and I didn’t want to leave. I’ve since worked in a number of different jobs but didn’t really come back to artwork until a Zine project with a Seattle writing collective challenged me to really get back into artwork—I had to start illustrating my stories because I couldn’t afford to have anyone else do it! 

Since then, I’ve continued working in illustrations for my fiction, but gradually, there are pictures that just stand alone. Along the way, a housemate of mine had a child. The child and I would spend a lot of time watching Studio Ghibli films and that re-awakened that love for Japanese Art, especially the ukiyo-e and shin-hanga traditions of woodcuts. I’ve been striving ever since to make digitally-finished art that expressed the same sense of awe, equanimity, tension, and harmony. I’m lucky now to live in Bremerton, which is a short distance away from many natural inspirations and even presents a few of its own, like Bremerton Vista #1, my homage to Kawase Hasui by way of Caspar David Friedrich.

David Mecklenburg

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