As I sort through the old drawings and story boards of early versions of Stumpy and Flicker (initially titled "Flicker and Stumpy") I am struck by its evolution. In the beginning it was going to be a story about a boy, a dog, and a stump that comes to life after the boy carves a face on the stump. Over time the boy and his dog vanished and a little candle character came to the forefront.
The candle’s name was Flamer. He had no mouth and could only speak through gestures and forming figures out of wax. This inability to speak was interesting but ultimately abandoned for a fully functioning mouth and an endless stream of words of wisdom. Once these two characters, a stump and a candle, both had eyes and mouths, arms and legs the story blossomed.
Unforeseen themes began to emerge between Stumpy and Flicker; the awakening of consciousness, the joys and responsibilities of relationship, the struggles of self-empowerment, death, and what lays beyond. The basic questions of humanity “Who am I? Where did I come from? Where am I going?” found their way into the engaging story, as the writing in prose form turned into rhymes.
It is very interesting that this story from 1993 has found its way back into my life in 2020 with its bright shining light of hope and inspiration during these darkened times. Stumpy and Flicker have jumped into my lap and said, take me to the next level.
In accepting this challenge I imported the line drawings into my computer, created editable vector images, played with color pallet possibilities, and wordsmith-ed the language to a better state.
This story has lit up my life again and retaught me some of its deep lessons. It is a profound experience to give birth to these two charming characters and hold space for their individual development. It is even more rewarding to have them come back into my life almost 30 years later giving opportunity to help them find new ways to share their story with the world.
Doug Hammett is an artist based in Pasadena, California: MFA from Art Center College of Design. His artistic explorations range from music and theater to the visual arts and writing. Story is the common thread that ties these disciplines together, each having its own unique voice and contribution.Doug has dedicated time to exploring archetype, spirituality, science and psychology, throughout his life. He has recently fully illustrated and narrated a Tarot deck called "Journey of the Bearded Tarot". This deck is comprised of 78 cards steeped in archetypal imagery and meaning. Discovering the heroic journey of the characters in Doug's paintings or theatrical piece is a big motivational force behind the work.The story of "Stumpy and Flicker" came into being, as does a lot of his artwork, through the gentle nudges and questioning of a character, "What's your story?" Maybe the stories will inspire a deeper question of the viewer's own existence, and possibly spark new ideas and inspirations.