The Prophet of the Funk and Other Tales From the O is a unique look at the Central Florida tourism areas through the lens of surreal fiction. The surreal nature of the book is best summed up by the artwork. I often get questions about the artwork, what inspired it and the messages it serves to get across.
We’re going to go over some of the artwork from the book and discuss what gave way to its style and themes.
The cover is a satirical look at the images that present themselves on a daily basis, at least for those working and living inside the tourism bubble.
I opted to design the cover myself. In the image, the “Prophet of the Funk” stands atop the Roman Crossings Resort hotel, as portrayed in the story “The Pool Towel Rebellion.” I-4 is shown weaving through the landscape, passing citrus trees fighting off a freeze and marine animals making transactions. The City Beautiful has been renamed the “City Groovy”, witnessing a “JYNX” public bus fly off the road. In the top right corner a sun takes a hit of the local vegetation, taking in the experience.
When it came time for creating the Table of Contents, I really wanted to do something unique and memorable. I first envisioned the book as a physical piece of literature, and hope to publish it in print soon. However, I opted for creating an E-Book as it was easier to get the final product out there. I took inspiration from the brochure racks of the Belz Outlets of of my youth; the photos, colors, and maps created a vision of the city I fell in love with. I decided to model the artwork after a map of the city. The result, a map that represented each piece of writing in the book, with each image placed relatively near the location of its setting in Central Florida.
The map represents “The Lost City of the Swamp”; the first story in the book tells of a civilization living in the waters of the overflowing oceans. The elder in the colony discovers a map, which inspires him to share stories about the island that sits above their home. The image in the Table of Contents is the map that is discovered.
The map is divided into three colors, each which represents each part of the book.
Green– Revelations of an Enclavacation
This area of the book focuses on the politics and sociology of the Central Florida tourism scene. I coined the term “Enclavacation” to emphasize the societal effects that have occurred as a result of the tourism industry.
The Lost City of the Swamp: symbolized by a gate with an “O” at the top, this serves as the Main Entrance, please proceed to the bag check.
The Risveglio Orlandismo Manifesto: Xavier C. Plum’s roaring Manifesto on the politics, ills, and plight of the workers of the tourism industry. Rather than call for an abandonment of toruism, Plum calls for acknowledgement of those who make it happen. The piece is symbolized by a an orange with a beret and aviators, speaks for itself.
Bloated Golden Horde: A satire of the University of Central Florida’s growth and presence on the national stage. The poem is depicted as a Golden Pegasus who has had a little too much food, or tuition.
Pleasure Island Dances With Mercado’s Ghost at the Pointe: This story follows the “Turnstile Ghosts”, attractions that no longer exist in the Orlando tourism scene. Economic woes resulted in most of these closures, but many, like Pleasure Island, were stomped for other reasons. Mr. Funnmeister cracks under the Mouse’s pressure.
The Pool Towel Rebellion: The tale of Roman Crossings’ infamous event and the people who were behind the chaos. A towel is hung over Caesar’s head.
Life and Love on the Other Side: East Orlando is where the culture, arts, and true entertainment is said to take place. This stigma has led to an ignorance surrounding the views of West Orlando’s citizens. We love, we live, and we struggle to create art here too. The poem is symbolized by an Eye, a 4, and an arrow pointing West.
Hitler On Holiday: The story of one of history’s most evil men, taking a breather in the company of Florida’s most sinister Governor. The two are shown riding the Lake Eola Swan Boats, it’s love at first fraud.
Purple- The Book of Beauty
The book does not center on the ugly sides, or the truths which have not been unmasked. There is also a beauty which lies in the tourism jungle, a constant force that keeps people from abandoning the struggle. In our everyday lives, we look to something about our home for comfort.
That Guy In The Linen Cart: A look at the daily life of your friendly pool attendant; parties, pools, and poverty. A golf cart, the chariot of these Hospitality warriors, represents the poem.
Extended Cue: Using a familiar scene, the poem paints a picture of an impatient lover, learning to wait for the right things. A stanchion represents the piece, please do not climb under it.
Beauty In My Rear View Mirror: We do not know what we have until we leave it behind. We often focus on the dark, refusing to acknowledge the light. The City Beautiful is depicted as a woman, split between her passion and her punishment.
You’ll Visit Anyway: A Tourism Bureau employee struggles with maintaining the facade of a “Perfect Vacation”, eventually opting for brutal honesty with guests. The piece is symbolized by the array of Brazilian tour flags, an all-too familiar sight.
Blue-The Good News Of The Groove
The book is written with a certain rhythm in mind. A rhythm that has kept struggling masses from falling victim to the negative forces in this world. The “Groove” is alive, but not safe. This part of the book tells of the newly awakened musical force that just might save the city’s funkiest warriors.
Transcending Through The Turbulence Of Tantalizing and Trying Times: The awakening of the Funk in a young man living under in between palms and sunshine. The sun sings a joyful tune now that there is an audience willing to listen.
Thoughts On Attraction, Love, and the Groove: A short analysis of that which drives us towards one another. With the right beat in our hearts, we can take risks that bring us true love. Shani, a Goddess of Funk, proclaims this atop a red music note.
A Message to the SOBAG’s From the Divine Shani: SOBAG’s are “Souls Obliterated By Anti-Groove”. This is Shani’s warning to those who have fallen, and her advice to those who wish to groove once more. A woman weeps as a mutilated record whispers “EDM Kills”
The Prophet of the Funk: The title story of this collection is an embodiment of the book’s many themes. The tourism jungle is looked in the form of a fictional tale, one that involves tunnels, attractions, lines, costumes, traffic, love, pain, heartbreak, and most importantly the Funk. The main character is depicted in the center of the city’s tourist icons. On one side we see the direction we are heading, to the sounds of a destructive beat. On the other, the Funk, Nature, and a hospitality industry devoid of injustice.
Hopefully this helps with navigating the book, I understand that it is not the simplest Table of Contents, or concept, but I was looking to create something original and representative of my home. If you are interested in reading the book it is available for download at on Amazon. Check it out for yourself, and most importantly, keep it funky!