This week, I’m participating in the Blogger Book Fair, exchanging posts and ideas with other writers. Today, I’m glad to be hosting Becca J. Campbell. Here, she discusses her new book and the work of art that inspired it.
My New Adult Urban Fantasy/Science Fiction novel Gateway to Reality is on sale this week for only $0.99. Read on to find out about the sculpture that inspired this story.
Gateway to Reality
Talented artists shouldn’t be waiting tables, scraping by, and living mediocre lives. But that’s exactly what art school graduate Wes Teague is doing.
Then he wakes from a bizarre dream, haunted by the sense that his life isn’t real. A harrowing truth presents itself–the real world lies in his dreams, not when he’s wide awake.
The dream world he enters each night is rich and vibrant. Chicago appears the same on the surface, but chaos runs rampant as gravity, physics, and other laws of nature become fluid, changing unexpectedly. There, Wes’s parents, brother, and sister are strangers. His girlfriend Emily doesn’t recognize him. Wes longs to return, to unlearn the truth about his dual reality.
Wes would sacrifice almost anything to get back to blissful ignorance in a false world.
But now he has feelings for the real Emily.
The famous Chicago sculpture many refer to as “the Bean” is formally titled the Cloud Gate. This massive, mirrored, curvilinear piece of art sits in Millennium Park against a backdrop of angular skyscrapers, and was one of the main inspirations for Gateway to Reality.
I was fascinated by the sculpture before I ever got to see it in person. It’s difficult to capture the full essence of the Cloud Gate with a single photo, though many have tried. When I visited Chicago in 2006, I finally got to experience the Bean with my own eyes, and it immediately became one of my favorite spots in the city.
If you haven’t been there, you might be wondering why some giant bean is anything to write home about. I don’t have a definitive answer to that question, except my personal feelings about it. There’s something about modern art in general that inspires wonder. Ever since I was a child, I’ve been mystified and awed by pieces like this—elegant yet simple, and almost childlike in design.
One thing I admire about the sculpture is its accessibility. Not only was it placed in a public area, requiring no admission fee, but it isn’t barricaded with fences, posts, or warnings not to touch. The Cloud Gate was designed so that people could interact with it. If you’ve been to Millennium Park, you’ll know the pull that the sculpture has. It draws visitors in for a closer look as they examine the skewed reflections, enticing them in perhaps the way a funhouse mirror might, making them question their assumptions of what they think they should see . Beyond that, it urges people to touch its smooth surface, to walk beneath and gaze up at the kaleidoscope of images below the arch. All of this, the artist and builders have allowed.
Genius. Why can’t more art be like that?
In Gateway to Reality, the Bean is more than a piece of art. For Wes Teague, it’s the place where his sister vanished, and because of that, it exudes darker sensations. But it also holds what might be considered calming properties over him, drawing him to it repeatedly as he searches for equilibrium in the crazy world of the Existence.
What are your favorite sculptures or pieces of art and why? Do you think art should be set apart or readily available to the public?
Grab Gateway to Reality for only $0.99 (sale ends July 26th):
An avid lover of stories that tiptoe the line between fantasy and reality (even when they plunge off one side or the other), Becca looks for new angles on bridging the gap between the two. She holds a special place in her heart for any story that involves superpowers or time travel. Her passion is defying the limits of her own creativity. You can find her on her Author Blog, Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, Pinterest, and Amazon.