The UC San Diego Arts Library will hold an exhibit featuring the work of San Diego-based writer-illustrator Geoff Relf and his soon to be published book, "Blue Planet Blues by Gordon the Giant Clam with ESP."
The exhibit, which pays homage to Earth Day (April 22), will be held in the Geisel Library building on the lower level of the West wing from April 4 through May 31.
The exhibit is centered on the fanciful characters and environmental messages of the book, featuring Relf's colorful illustrations and rhyming and narrative-style text. For those interested in the book publishing process, the exhibit shows how the book is prepared for traditional color printing, as well as for electronic delivery as an e-book for viewing on computers and other electronic devices.
Relf's experience as a designer-cartoonist-illustrator, his interest in a wide range of writing styles, and his passion for making environmentalism popular and easily understood, result in a fun read with good messages. The book's narrative is delivered via a main character revealed in the book's full title, "Blue Planet Blues by Gordon the Giant Clam with ESP."
As a child, Relf spent summers free diving beneath the waters of Puget Sound (SCUBA gear had not yet been invented by Jacques Cousteau). He became a pre-med, marine biology major at Stanford University, but switched to focus on the subjects he loved: creative writing and art. He ultimately attended a New York City art school and then went on to graduate in advertising and marketing at the University of Washington. He then trained as a naval aviator during the Korean War, and in the Cold War, flew missions across the Pacific and over the Yellow Sea and the Sea of Japan, at times just above the water to avoid radar detection.
As a parent in La Jolla in the '60s, '70s and '80s, Relf encouraged his four children to be aware of and concerned about the well-being of their ocean, just three blocks down from the Relf's La Jolla home. In the early 1960s, as the first advertising agency account manager for Sea World, Relf created Gordon the Giant Clam with ESP as his "consultant on oceanic matters" and, for several years, shared his character as a light touch with marketing managers and staff. Gordon was also a favorite Relf family character and appeared in some of Relf's other advertising work, including a special promotion involving a major San Diego shopping center with an ecological emphasis.
Relf also was the original agency account manager for the development and promotion of the University City community just south of UCSD, and during that time, benefited from a working relationship and friendship with Roger Revelle and several staff members at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography.
In finally publishing "Blue Planet Blues," Relf is delivering on a promise he made to his late wife, Connie, on her final day. For many years, she was a loyal fan of Gordon and his crew of characters. A highly talented multimedia painter, ceramic and glass sculptor, her work was exhibited in Europe as well as in the U.S. She was also well-known as a longtime board member and president of the La Jolla Art Association. Relf credits her as his inspiration and "beautiful engine."
The UC San Diego Arts Library, which supports award-winning faculty research and teaching in Music, Theatre and Dance, Visual Arts, and Literature, has been a leader and early adopter in the development and delivery of digital reserves for image, audio, and moving image. As the first major contributor to ARTstor, a digital library developed to support scholarship in the arts and other disciplines, the Arts Library was the first academic library in the nation to digitize their entire slide collection. The Arts Library is also known for its outstanding contemporary music collections, especially its holdings in experimental and 20th century music, and its lively and novel arts events, including toy piano concerts and not-so-silent film festivals. The UC San Diego Libraries, ranked among the top 20 public academic research libraries in the nation, play an integral role in advancing and supporting the university's research, teaching, patient care, and public service missions. The nine libraries that make up the UCSD Library system provide access to more than 7 million digital and print volumes, journals, and multimedia materials to meet the knowledge demands of scholars, students, and members of the public. Each day, more than 7,300 people stream through one of the university's nine libraries. The Libraries' vast resources and services are accessed more than 87,500 times each day via the UCSD Libraries' Web site.