Report from the Surface is the result of a collaboration between visual artist Craig Hill and writer Phil Brooks during the Covid Pandemic (2020-2022).
Using coloring books ranging from the 1930's-early 2000's, Craig Hill has produced a series of 25 bizarre and darkly humorous collage scenes-- dreams, space adventures, and exotic fantasies that seem to bring some sort of dark subconscious into view. The shared themes and content of the series of visuals came to inspire Brooks's poetic text, becoming fodder for a warped quasi-religious folklore.
As an artistic team Hill and Brooks developed a kind of visual and poetic osmosis. The texts rarely responded directly to a specific collage i.e. the text was not a "caption" for a given collage, nor was any collage created as an "illustration" for a poem. In addition, unlike in most collaborations between a poet and visual artist, it was Hill who generally matched a text to a chosen collage before ordering the whole to create a dreamy narrative where image and text complimented each other.
In the end, the creative process wed Hill's hallucinatory visions with Brooks's uncanny, blurred recollections of love, interstellar travel, and religious origin story. Their hope is that the experience of "reading" the complex imagery of the collages alongside the evocative poems creates something like scenes from a silent movie watched in the mind's eye.