This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

NORMAN, Okla. (KFOR) – A spark of inspiration or of anger, Bret McDanel’s artwork is never too far from either one.

He explains as he works on a piece he calls ’13 Reasons Why’.

It’s based on a book with the same title about teen suicide.

“The idea of the sculpture is that it’s putting on a face. It’s going out and acting like everything is fine.”

It also happens to be a book that often ends up on lists compiled by parents and special interest groups that lobby to remove or ban volumes like this.

McDanel, whose own mother is a retired school librarian, got to thinking about the issue a few months ago.

His response was a creative one, a series of works, each one offering a picture of his feelings on the subject.

Bret argues, “I see books as a kind of survival guide, like a road map of where I don’t want to go and where I do want to go.”

“Opening up a book and finding yourself there, the freedom that brings you, even a small amount of freedom, that says something to me.”

Dyslexia ended his own school career after his sophomore year in high school.

His experiences with these challenging books came later through movies, the audio versions, or from books his mother would read out loud.

“Our whole house was covered in books,” he recalls.

Another work called, ‘These are Dangerous’ plays with the comparison of locking up books versus locking up firearms.

“We’re locking up books but the guns are pretty available,” he observes.

McDanel’s garage studio is all about putting items together that mean one thing, then changing them to create another story in pictures.

Lists of controversial books come and go.


More Great State Stories

The ‘banned’ is always playing somewhere.

In McDanel’s unique library you don’t really have to read anything to recognize the spark.

You can see Bret’s artwork starting Friday evening, March 4 at the First Friday Art Walk in the Paseo at Studio Six.