Speak For The Trees


While at an intersection waiting for a red light to change, I noticed a bumper sticker on the truck in front of me: speak for the trees. In an instant the idea for this book in all its complexity came to me. Before the traffic light turned green, I saw distinctly every aspect of this book in my mind. Speak For The Trees was complete there and then—except for the "details," of course, which meant every single step of putting the actual book together! I spent a day in shock as I realized the gravity and magnitude of the project.

This extraordinary compilation showcases a number of the most important contemporary artists working today. I readily admit that many of them had never heard of Friesen Gallery or me when I asked them to participate in this project. Most agreed just on the basis of learning the book's title. This attests not only to the energy and magic that continually surrounds this project, but also to each artist's authentic connection and reverence for trees. Talented emerging artists are also featured here; their perspectives are both fresh and timeless. I appreciate their enthusiasm and am optimistic that this book will bring further recognition to their careers.

Soon after I immersed myself in this endeavor, I discovered the author of the bumper sticker: Dr. Seuss. In The Lorax, published in 1971, he wrote: "Speak for the trees, for the trees have no tongues." This quote is Seuss's calling to us who cannot hear. Historically artists have given voice to that which most of us cannot understand. In this book, the artists have generously served us as translators, imparting the wisdom of trees. The American mythologist, writer, and lecturer Joseph Campbell has said that “artists are our modern day shamans.” This statement affirms a belief I have held for more than twenty years. My gratitude to the artists featured in this book goes beyond words, as they have spoken for the trees with both their work and their awareness. -Andria Friesen

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