His words were like paint, right out of the tube. His ideas gave me ideas and it all seemed right!
Several years ago I was compelled to make paintings and drawings inspired by his book THE HALLOWEEN TREE and the Hanna-Barbera "The Halloween Tree" production. I sold the paintings and prints of them online and eventually sent some of the prints to Ray after finding his address on a piece of stationery published in a book about him. Weeks later I happened to check the spam file of my mail and there was a peculiar email, it was from Ray! He thanked me for the prints, complimented my work and said it was good that I had sent them to him, that they helped him realize his ideas were moving in the world.
The Halloween Trees and haunted houses I painted introduced me to other Ray Bradbury fans who became friends, most especially my dear friend Gregory Miller who was a close friend and disciple of Ray's. Since our meeting I have illustrated 5 books for Greg, the first, SCARING THE CROWS, is dedicated to Ray. Another friend I gained through the Halloween Tree paintings facilitated an exchange where I signed more of my prints to Ray and Ray signed some of my prints to me and also, over time, sent me signed books!
I never actually met Ray but sent him scans of hand made cards on his birthdays and Halloween
and friends through his website and his daughter would see that he received the images.
Greg called me on June 5th, 2012 and told me Ray had passed away... many of us stopped breathing and I still haven't found a replacement for the only person who was on my list of "People I'd Like To Meet". The wonderful thing that remains is the friends I made through Ray!
All images copyright 2016 by John Randall York
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