Shacking Up with J. Otto and John Muir

In conjunction with OMCA's exhibition A Walk in the Wild: Continuing John Muir’s Journey, the Oakland Standard asked artist and illustrator J. Otto Seibold to delve into his self-admitted Muir obsession. J. Otto grew up in Martinez, California, across the street from John Muir's home, which is now the John Muir National Historic Site.

The artist completed a two-part project. The first part was an online travelogue and diary (below), and the second was a sculptural installation in OMCA's gardens.

From 1869 to 1871, John Muir famously lived in a rudimentary shack that he built along the course of the Yosemite River. J. Otto constructed his own interpretation of Muir's shack, and furnished it with art and objects about Muir's life. Through both projects, J. Otto tried to imagine Muir as a naturalist transplanted in historical time, and living in 2012.

The travelogue lives online, and the shack was installed in the Museum gardens from October 2011 to January 2012. The project was christened September 30, 2011 at a Museum event featuring a performance by Boots Riley and The Coup.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011
J. Otto Seibold

This post is my shortest of the year. Posted on the shortest day of the year. Featured is a quote by John Muir upon first seeing the Sierra Nevada mountains and a photo made up of album covers (... more

Monday, December 5, 2011
J. Otto Seibold

The journey begins! Travel John Muir's path by BART. Entertain the rambles of a botanist as you whizz over fields of cars, shipping containers, and stucco improvement. Musings on the devastation of... more

Thursday, November 10, 2011
J. Otto Seibold

I find myself moving farther down the calendar with regards to my "blog libations." The truth is I’ve been “occupied” and haven’t left town.

One of my tasks in... more

Thursday, October 27, 2011
J. Otto Seibold

This essay was a concerted attempt to write in the "adventure" style of Muir's stories, which I'd been reading for weeks. Every time my imitation got too close I would remember,... more

Wednesday, October 19, 2011
J. Otto Seibold

I've been pressing plants for years, long before I knew that John Muir was a dedicated botanist. Muir would set out on his journeys with only stale bread, coffee, and a cumbersome plant press.... more

Thursday, October 6, 2011
J. Otto Seibold

I've been thinking about how to frame the ways that my personal biography has overlapped with that of John Muir, the mythologized wilderness figure. It's not only that I grew up amongst Muir's... more