The Upcountry History Museum will serve as the only South Carolina stop on the Wild Things national exhibition tour. Visitors of all ages will experience the fantastical imagination of Maurice Sendak as they explore over 50 pieces of original artwork and step into the pages of his beloved books.

Just the other day I was able to catch the tail end of a fantastic exhibition of Maurice Sendak’s original works. And I do mean tail end, the show moved on to its next museum the following day!

But! I was able to take my time with each and every one of the pieces. Favorites from the Nutshell Library, Little Bear, poster art, Wild Things, and many more. It was moving to see the collection. And not to mention creatively recharging.

The first piece I went to look at was positioned a little lower on the wall so I got down to see it close up. After a minute I realized I was, in effect, kneeling before it and that felt more than appropriate. Paying homage.

A really wonderful and humbling experience to be surrounded by his work.

The presentation was great and immersive, too, with massive prints. It even featured a recreation of Max’s room from Where the Wild Things Are.

To show off the pieces in context I put together a little video tour. Enjoy!

When I discovered (or re-discovered, you might say) Sendak’s work in my early 20s it performed a kind of course-correction for me, artistically.

At that time I was pushing myself more towards animation and character design but I became completely enchanted with his books. I found a lot to love in his wild, menacing worlds. While I was already leaning that way, that small nudge helped to lead me to pursue illustration, in particular children’s books.

But as Sendak himself puts it, not children’s books, per se, but “books that children like.”

“You cannot write for children They’re much too complicated. You can only write books that are of interest to them.”

Maurice Sendak

Not originals, unfortunately! Max on the left is, but still great to see these in context of the collection here.

I only have one subject. The question I am obsessed with is: How do children survive?

Maurice Sendak

The say don’t met your heroes but I did get a chance to meet him once, at a book event way back in 2005. Got the chance to say thanks.

Years later I went on to organize an art project that I called Terrible Yellow Eyes as another way of saying thank you. Dozens upon dozens of guest artists and several hundred pieces of art reflecting on those great and terrible Wild Things. We had a show out at Gallery Nucleus, too! It was a great one.

In the intervening years the site fell away but most of the art is scattered around if you look for it.

Wild Things: The Art of Maurice Sendak is on tour traveling the United States!