Vacation, Pt. 1

Disney ticket

Our parents were best friends from college and they had put us up to this. I’m sure it seemed perfect to them—matching their two handsome only-childs. A two-family vacation to Disneyworld. The dads convinced Mom that fourteen was old enough. Shoved us out the front door of the Donald Duck bakery and told us to walk the street until we were out of sight. Told us they had their pagers on. Dad winked. They went laughing down the other side of the walkway toward Cinderella’s castle, looking for the restrooms, and Haley and I left to trot around the park at dusk for two hours until the fireworks ended.

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Bill Lee, Ceramic Artist

We’re excited to share the first of what will be a series of videos celebrating local art and craftsmanship. Bill Lee is a maker of vibrant ceramics and is based in South Knoxville. His work can be found at

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After the Death of the Garner Twins

two_geeseThe mother with pale skin and blonde wisps of hair coming loose from pins enters the room where the grieving parents are receiving friends. In a knit baby sling she carries a very small lump, with a rosybrown head still as a loaf of bread between her breasts. Her skin glows, she drinks iced tea at the buffet, talking with friends.

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An Interview with Tony Sobota

Tony is a painter, a thinking man, a caricature artist, and a joyful soul. He has worked with two of our favorite songwriters, painting the latest cover of Greg Adkins’ new record, Fighting a War, and the four serial works for Bill Wolf’s Easter: Stories & Songs. His extensive catalog of excellent personal work often explores the intersection of humanity and the deep matters of landscape, history, and faith.

FH: Your work can go to some pretty stark and difficult places, especially in the Syn Kronos and Icons series. How do you justify the use of darkness and difficulty in the stories you paint?

TS: With my work, I like to immerse myself in a subject and try to let the story emerge naturally.  If the story feels darker, I know I need to stay close to that mood or I’ll lose the message.  With the Syn Kronos series I dealt with family stories–mainly surrounding my maternal grandfather–so those pieces had a quieter, “sadder” tone evocative of my experience trying to discern meaning from black and white photographs.  With the Icons series, my subjects included some of the more controversial figures from the Old Testament, so the use of darkness or ‘grittiness’ in the work helped me convey a feeling of dirtiness while darker tones certainly provided the opportunity for stark contrasts of golden light.

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