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Ethan Murrow tells a whale of a story

July 28, 2016 // by Sara Travostino

MOCA Jacksonville provides up-close and personal interactions with the artists of our time, and students at MOCA Art Camp had a one-of-a-kind experience with Ethan Murrow.

While the artist worked on his Project Atrium wall drawing Plethora with a team of artists, the children filed into the Atrium Gallery to learn more about Murrow and his work.

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Ethan Murrow captures the imaginations of MOCA Art Camp students. Image courtesy of Denise M. Reagan.

First, Murrow treated them to an interactive reading of the book he created with his wife, Vita Murrow. The Whale uses Murrow's illustrations to tell a wordless story about two young adventures' search for a legendary great spotted whale. The stunning, detailed drawings of the whale-seeking companions allow readers to imagine themselves on the majestic quest.


As Murrow flipped the pages, he explained, “there's no right or wrong way to tell the story.” He captivated them by drawing them into the story with his own questions. The children's enthusiasm was infectious, hands shot up repeatedly. One little girl realized that Murrow drew from the whale watchers' perspective, shouting, “He's looking through binoculars!” Another child wondered, “What are the crosses for?” when seeing the crosshairs of the viewfinder. 

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The Whale uses Murrow's illustrations to tell a wordless story about two young adventures' search for a legendary great spotted whale. Image courtesy of Laura Alcantara.

After Murrow fielded the children's questions about The Whale, he shifted focus to his current project, Plethora. The campers were curious:

“How many Sharpies will it take?

“Why isn't it in color?”

“What did you do with all of that food after you were done filming?”

One child asked if Murrow and his crew got to eat lunch while working on the drawing.

After the flurry of questions subsided, Murrow invited the campers closer to the wall to inspect the work. Two children won a chance to draw on the wall, as their fellow campers huddled around them. They joined Murrow as artists of our time.

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Murrow invite the campers closer to the wall to inspect the Plethora. Image courtesy of Denise M. Reagan.

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