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Edward Casagrande's

Mapping Calvino

FULL cover-DanceMe (PDF).jpg


I have my oldest friend in this world, a huge spirit, traveling this Earth. Tito, has not missed many ports of call and has always been careful not to leave footprints. We met in the early 70's in the Southwestern desert of America and continued our friendship when I returned to Cincinnati to continue my architectural studies. He, the nomad, was living simultaneously between Arizona, Maine, Washington DC , Pittsburgh and Ohio. He vanished out of America, sailing the Pacific in the early 80's washing up in Thailand in the late 80's, about the time Christopher G. Moore arrived in the realm. They became friends.

Many years and much creative collaboration transpired. I was honored to be asked to serve as his best man and was summoned to Hawaii in the early 90's. It was a trip that altered my life. I returned to Cincinnati and left my architectural job and started my sculpture business, Earth Orchestra. Earth Orchestra was deeply influenced by the Polynesian culture. After years of shaping a visual language and sculptural fingerprint I was seduced into the corporate world to assist in developing and designing a unique branding presence for a full service beauty and beauty product behemoth, AVEDA. Those years stretched my sculptural wings and I was graced with the good fortune of being rewarded with a large, razzle, dazzle studio and tour destination. Simultaneously Tito and I were developing a wide range of ceremonial, corporate gifting, and lifestyle products for AVEDA, and many private and corporate clients. The creative juices drove the creation of many large public installations highlighted by Polynesian and Asian themed sculptural events.I left the corporate world and

began working on an ambitious concept piece, "The Humanity Machine" which was an attempt to return to and acknowledge the presence of joy and optimism being revealed every moment, everywhere against the backdrop of a modernity which seemed to be becoming the greatest threat to the heart, our sense of being and belonging. Tito and I continued to work through these years to the present.


In 2018 I returned to Hawaii to see Tito who was interned by a failing liver. He introduced me to Christopher G Moore's writing with "Heart Talk" and followed that with "Rooms", two books that better fit my soul have never been written. Tito and Christopher were cobbling out the idea of a film festival which has evolved into the CCCL film festival. Tito asked me do a few covers for a 'zine he envisioned for the film festival, whose premise was "how the coming climatic collapse will affect our lives and human rights." Although the 'zine has yet to be printed, there has been a trove of concepts developed  with some drawings already being incorporated into the festival web presence. We were in hyper flourish chasing down collapse and vastness through studies and sketches. Christopher was getting bombarded with a storm of thumbnails and ideas from us.


At this time, Christopher was busy writing the latest and last Calvino. Written in the first person and placed in the future. It is a huge departure from the previous 16 Calvino's. Tito says we need to leave him alone with Calvino and the future. We slacked off on the film festival 'zines and let him write. The three of us had spilled a lot of ink. For me It was a foray into the romance and thrill of the International, Expat world. Tito is, an extreme traveler, sailor, film maker and screenwriter. Christopher, as you already know a famous author, educator, Attorney, and sojourner were two extraordinary global muses.

I was pleasantly surprised and honored by Christopher who asked me if I would do his cover for the last Calvino. At first blush a book cover has no insurmountable challenges, I thought. I began working on it immediately and naively without anything but a name and a couple of Christopher's early thoughts. My excitement and flattered creative heart drove me nearly mad as I realized there were huge challenges to this book cover. Christopher had declared his bravery with this final Calvino work. He wanted an art cover as equally brave. Tito and Christopher  have a decades old working relation. Tito wrote, filmed, and directed, "The Big Weird World of Christopher G. Moore" . It is a commentary on the Expat community that the Calvino series is written about and the mystery of who is killing the bugs in Bangkok. Tito was the bridge between the Mainlands, Paradise and Bangkok. Christopher would send us short, magical, excerpts as he worked. Another unsuspected challenge to my work. Each line, paragraph, and description was so good, cryptic, and lush my anxiety levels would rise. I had a canvas the size of a postage stamp to craft a potent metaphor for an epic tale.

Tito was now defying the gods and was thankfully recovering from a liver transplant. He was my creative liaison and we were back and forth getting the images into Christopher's Expat style. For me, the level at which Tito and Christopher spoke of the concepts and studies which juiced this cave drawer moon high. It was, and is, wing worthy curiosity. Every gesture and metaphor was given nearly archaeological credence. Eventually after months we arrived at the final Calvino cover. Tito, having mulled over dozens of concepts, hundreds of studies, revisions, clarification, translations and discussions with Christopher saw a story within a story about a story. He suggested a show mapping the evolution of the cover art. Mapping Calvino is the result of our creative triumvirate.  View the Calvino Mapping Exhibition.

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