"When Adam Jones first contacted me about making a poster for TOOL's 2020 'Fear Inoculum' tour, I was absolutely thrilled. I was in the midst of working on a large solo exhibition at the time, and was feeling the inevitable fatigue that comes from spending months on end working grueling hours. This opportunity was like a shot of pure inspirational energy, and the painting that I ended up making for the poster also served as a centerpiece for my solo exhibition 'Into the Spirit Garden.'
All of my paintings are connected by a mythological story that chronicles the lives of the Border Creatures, a group of hybrid beings that live in the verdant wilderness of the Borderlands. The Border Creatures exist in symbiotic harmony with the natural world, but are antagonized by the Specters, spirits of pure energy that casually burn the landscape that they walk upon. In their first conflict with the Specters, the Border Creatures triumphed when Healer, the leader of the creatures, transformed many of the Specters into rainbow-hued Spectral Witnesses. This transformation removed the destructive instincts of these new rainbow spirits, but left them uncertain about their place in the world.
After being banished by the remaining blue Specters, one of these rainbow Witnesses named Penitent Spirit set out on a quest for redemption. 'The Birth of Spirit Gardener' marks the end of Penitent Spirit's search for absolution, and shows them moving beyond their life as a rainbow Spectral Witness. Spirit Gardener is a new Border Creature created from the head of a deceased Border Creature, the natural ecosystem of the Borderlands, and the spiritual energy of Penitent Spirit. The Border Creatures welcome the new addition to their kind with a ritualistic celebration, launching fireworks in colors that echo the rainbow of Penitent Spirit's body. This painting tells a story of finding a space between heaven and earth, soul and flesh, a space in which the ties of community are the very soil in which our spirits grow."