Sea of Cortez, John Steinbeck and Edward F. Ricketts (1941)
Etching and gouache, front and back covers. Inner pages and flyleaf, monoprints of sea life.
"If you have an objective, like collecting specimens, it puts so much more direction onto a trip, makes it more interesting.”
—John Steinbeck (from an early journal of Ed Ricketts’s)
Growing up in the backyard of Steinbeck and Ricketts, I have long been captivated by their depictions of the Salinas Valley and Monterey. More broadly, Sea of Cortez and The Log from the Sea of Cortez prompted my first introduction to an intimate look at complex biological marine systems that have prevailed along the western coast of North America. The formidable oceanic ecosystems of California have since held attention throughout my practice as an artist, revealed by both subtle and overt homages to the natural environments I find both daunting and mesmerizing.
The prints presented on and within the Sea of Cortez and The Log from the Sea of Cortez showcase the levity that each book is able to communicate. Despite the undulating and, at times, harsh nature of the ocean, Steinbeck’s literary voice disarms the mysteries of the deep, precisely documenting the creatures they discovered along the way and presenting a clarity that opens the way for further intrigue. As an homage to the longstanding friendship they maintained until Ricketts’s death, the tiki drink and its adjacent recipe plays into Steinbeck’s love of cocktails and the casual moments he shared with his good friend, Ed, with an additional nod to the Garibaldi, a species native to the areas between the Monterey Bay and Baja California.
Chandler Hubbard is a California-based photographer, printmaker, cocktail enthusiast, and all-around ocean lover. He is currently working on a long-term photography and printmaking project that investigates identity through familial and spatial proximity. He is also involved in an ongoing series of monoprints that document the cocktails of American tiki culture.