Scott Eagle: Art Is Life, Life Is Art

(Scott Eagle, in his studio, which is in a lower level of his house.)

My wife Ann has just posted a gallery of Scott Eagle’s art as part of her regular feature on io9. Ann first published Scott’s art in the 1990s in her magazine The Silver Web; here’s the cover of the last issue of that magazine, by Scott.

It’s through Ann that I first experienced Scott’s amazing art. When it came time to think about cover art for City of Saints and Madmen, I recommended Scott, and he did an amazing original, which now hangs on the wall next to the equally wonderful piece he did for my short story collection Secret Life. Other art by him has graced the cover of my nonfiction collection Why Should I Cut Your Throat?, my novella The Situation, and, most recently, Last Drink Bird Head.

On my book tour, I was lucky enough to be able to stay at Scott’s house in Greensville, North Carolina, before heading on to Chapel Hill. Scott’s house and workspaces were as imaginative as his art. Since Ann’s just posted her feature, I thought a short visual tour of those spaces might be a worthy grace note, and Scott has graciously given his permission for me to do so. All photos were taken with my phone, so please forgive the quality.

His workspace is open and uncluttered, and yet surrounded by an incredible number of artifacts.

Some areas are almost like altars or alcoves.

Even areas normally thought of as functional, like a desk, are opportunities to create art.

One wall is devoted to depictions of birds by Eagle’s guests. It’s not only a great idea, but for some reason a very calming and peaceful space.

Some details from his work space…

Scott also creates sculpture and masks.

I believe this one is by one of Eagle’s sons.

Eagle keeps boxes full of parts for use in his art installations.

Even small preserved animals.

Scott showed me a couple of pieces I hadn’t seen before.

This one is a collaboration with another artist. Scott tends to have little ego or sense of ownership when it comes to his art, and is always looking for ways to collaborate.

I didn’t feel comfortable taking many photos of the rest of his house, because it felt intrusive, but this Christmas display demonstrates how creativity permeates the entire space. I’ve never been in a house that was itself so much a work of art, and so suffused with a sense of art that transformed functional spaces into something out of a dreamscape.

A detail from the guest room I stayed in.

The ceiling of the guest room. The raven with ivy is emblematic of the house. In the kitchen, there were vines above the cabinets and little fantasy houses peeking out of the vines.

At his office at East Carolina State University, the creativity, the depth of imagination, doesn’t end. A recurring motif in his art is the tornado. Erupting from his desk is a tornado made of pieces of wood.

Here’s a better view.

Hanging on the wall was the original art for my PS Publishing book The Situation.

Against the wall was a newer painting, one that took my breath away. I just stood there gaping at it for a moment. I don’t think my photos can really convey how amazing this piece is, but something about it affected me deeply.

The painting reminded me again how privileged I’ve been to have such an amazing artist visualize my fiction for various projects. And that such an amazing artist also happens to be spiritual in a way I can’t quite define, and seemingly so centered and living a life of creativity…that’s a blessing too.


  1. says

    When I grow up, I want a house like that. I mean, I always thought my desire to collect random stuff was something I should grow out of… and now I know I can make it an artistic feature of my workspace. Inspirational.

  2. Jeff VanderMeer says

    Dylan: He does a good job of compartmentalizing the possible clutter, as you can tell from the organization of his workspace, with everything like that around the periphery, leaving lots of open space.

  3. Chris says

    Wow. I loved it all but the dichotomy of the last, new piece, took my breath away: recently watched The Wizard of Oz again, and that painting is truly over the rainbow.