The Last Goodbye is a semi-autobiographical story about loss and nostalgic reminiscence of childhood. The son sets off for boarding school over the years and later makes the long trip overseas to begin his career. Whether at the bus stop or at the airport, his father is always there to see him off on his journeys. When the son realizes he should spend more time with his father, he finds his father very ill and misses the opportunity to bid his father a final goodbye.
The inspiration for this book includes the wordless books by Frans Masereel and Lynd Ward from the early 20th century, the montage theory of early Soviet filmmakers Sergei Eisenstein and Lev Kuleshov, as well as the American artist Keith Smith’s very influential book The Structure of the Visual Book.
I love visual storytelling and its process of unfolding meanings and emotions through the passage of time. By selecting and composing each moment, we can turn the most mundane events into memorable experiences. Connections made through the juxtaposition of images create visual rhythm, express ideas, and tell stories.
Over 100 images were developed for this project but only half were used in the book because I feel what is not shown is often more powerful than what is shown. The collision of images often creates a more interesting and unexpected message.
The Last Goodbye was selected as one of the eight finalists at the Silent Book Content of Bologna Children’s Book Fair. Bologna Children’s Book Fair is the world’s leading professional fair for children’s books and is one of the three major book fairs in the world along with the Frankfurt Book Fair and the London Book Fair. The international jury of the Silent Book Content is made up of professional designers, illustrators, and curators form Italy, France, Belgium, and Spain.
In March 2014, I traveled to Italy to present The Last Goodbye and participated in the Silent Book Exhibition at the Bologna Children’s Book Fair. The exhibition will continue to travel internationally after the book fair before the winner is selected in summer 2014.