Does art have the power to transform?
Jon Baxter has big dreams. Make cool art, meet hot girls, dive a Porsche. His reality is a million miles away – beer guzzling father, naive mother, house a shambles and the little town a dead end. Not to mention the fact that he’s just been arrested – again. Yet, somehow, Jon stumbles upon one chance at a way out, one chance at his dream of being an artist.
Unfortunately, Jon is his own worst enemy, and he continues to dig himself deeper and deeper into a hole. He resists and fights his teachers at every turn. He hates the art school persona, particularly Cindy—that hippie girl who everyone says is so “talented.”
The only thing Jon does like about college is Katerina, a struggling student and former stripper with more baggage than Southwest Air.
As Jon flirts with disaster, he chances upon a unique and powerful professor who rattles Jon to his very core. Now armed with the weapons of paintbrush and fire, Jon must enter the labyrinth of his own soul. Only within this crucible of paint and heat lives the potential for transformation and powerful artistic expression — if Jon can summon the courage to see it through.
Based on the Hero Journey motif, The Boy Who Painted Fire is the story of a misguided young man’s search for direction and a tender, convincing and hilarious love story. It provides anyone who has explored their own creativity, or enjoys the arts, a fun, quirky, irreverent, yet moving and transformative reading experience. It is a journey of struggle, inspiration and redemption, with a host of memorable characters, all of whom change Jon in some way, as he struggles with art, love, truth, and ultimately, his own soul.
Reviews for The Boy Who Painted Fire
All of Jon’s edges are rough, but he has a wry wit and a keen eye for revealing details in the people and places around him, expressed with a poet’s eye for color and mood as well as a stand-up comic’s knack for punch lines… Anybody who has ever been in a new love relationship, with all its glories and unexpected blowbacks, will smile, shake their heads, laugh, and, yes, shed a tear or two… a terrific story, well told.
— Rick Sterry, author of Far Out: A Life on the Edge
If you get to the second chapter, you will not put this book down until you savor the last moment. Bird’s development of character and human psyche and relationships moved to a class with D.H. Lawrence and his descriptive prose rivals James Lee Burke. Bird… has become our teacher and he knows our quest.
— Rick Williams, author of Visual Communication: Integrating Media, Art and Science
The Boy Who Painted Fire is a poignant and insightful… Part coming-of-age story, part philosophy of art, author JS Bird weaves together these two aspects with a near seamless ease that enlightens as it entertains. This novel taught me to appreciate art in an entirely new way.
— Andrew Thompson, freelance writer and writing instructor, University of Oregon
More information at jsbirdpaintings.com
About the author
JS Bird received an MFA in studio art from the University of Massachusetts in 1993 and has taught studio art for twenty years. He currently teaches studio art at Lane Community College in Eugene, OR. He is an active painter and has taken part in over eighty solo and group exhibits across the U.S. The Boy Who Painted Fire is his first novel.