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Arboretum a Book by David Byrne, a Compendium of Tree Drawings


Associating everyday life with spiritual tradition, the ex band leader of Talking Heads draws his personal labyrinth.

The famous David Byrne (Scotland, 1952) a prolific musician that has been creating hits and revolutionizing music industry since the 70´s with Talking Heads or solo projects, has now embarked in a beautiful artistic, poetic, philosophic, profoundly human project.

Arboretum published in 2006 is a book with a series of visual thoughts around different ideas. He draws diagrams, sometimes funny and other times satiric that represent ideas around human nature and its condition. He has sketched several tree mental maps of imaginary territories in a creative, playful and sensitive manner.

Maybe it was a sort of self-therapy that worked by allowing the hand to ‘say’ what the voice could not. If you can draw a relationship, it can exist. The world keeps opening up, unfolding, and just when we expect it to be closed — to be a sealed sensible box — it shows us something completely surprising.

The drawings have titles such as Möbius Structure of Relationships, The Legacy of Good Habits, Morally Repugnant or Gustatory Rainbow. They look like diagrams of past traumas, projections of deep desires, philosophies of time and the everyday life. All this has a trace of the Mandala Buddhist tradition. Maybe David was merged in the need of representing his microcosmos and building a personal image of modern life situations, accomplishing as well, a representation of the world. A project that started out almost by accident and resulted in a work worthy of any sincere search for self knowledge.

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