When we are young, if we are lucky, we get to visit the worlds inside children’s books.
Anyone who hasn’t had that experience or has misplaced their copy of “The Wind in the Willows” may want to visit “Plaidcats,” an exhibit of illustrations by Christopher Cyr at Endicott College.
“I’ve never quite let go of the imaginative, childlike attitude of, ‘Let’s explore these places, it’s fun to think about,’” Cyr said.
A work like “The Night Ferry,” which appeared in an exhibit at the Society of Illustrators in New York this spring, is characteristic of Cyr’s imagination.
This picture of a beetle carrying creatures on its back through some underbrush creates a new world from a few familiar — if slightly embellished — elements.
“I did have an assignment going for a class, taking something natural and unnatural and fusing them in some way,” said Cyr, 22, who studied illustration at Rhode Island School of Design. “I knew I wanted to do something involving a boat, and the bug idea — I’m not sure where it came from.”
Looking at the picture, we can’t help but wonder who these creatures are, where they are going and what they are leaving behind.
The notion of a night ferry, “which ran between England and France way back then,” was something Cyr discovered online and stored away.
“At random one day, it popped in my head,” he said. “I pulled all these resources and bits and pieces in, and had this whole little story that would take this bug from one side of this darkness to another.”
The whole story isn’t evident, but creating one that fits the action is what makes the picture fun to look at.
“I want to spark the imagination,” Cyr said. “I’m trying to liberate the imagination.”