Illustrated Tapes 165: A Tacit Dimension

✏️ Sunny Eckerle
🗓 16.06.22


Sunny is an illustrator and educator based in Portland, Oregon, USA.

Howdy Sunny. Can you tell us a little bit about your tape and your song selections?

The inspiration for my playlist came from the idea that some of the most profound moments or truths in life are found in the mundane or the unsaid - hovering just below the surface of our attention but always present.

There’s a book by almost the same name as my playlist - The Tacit Dimension by Michael Polanyi. In it, he writes “I shall reconsider human knowledge by starting from the fact that we can know more than we can tell.”

I also love the first few lines from Walt Whitman’s Songs of Myself, 30 -

All truths wait in all things,
They neither hasten their own delivery nor resist it,

It’s fun to apply this idea to theoretical, cosmic ideas about the universe and our place in it, but lately I’ve been thinking about it on a smaller scale. Logic vs. emotion. Learning to trust my intuition and accept that I can know something to be true even if it can’t be spoken or named. These songs give me the feeling that I’m getting in touch with A Tacit Dimension.

What direction did you take with your cover art, and what was your process?

I’d been anxiously waiting for the rhododendron in my front yard to bloom, which typically happens in May. I watched plenty of others in my neighborhood start to flower while mine sat dormant. It started to feel like a metaphor for other things in life. Just as I had accepted that it might not happen, the buds began to open and the beautiful flowers emerged. I realized this was a sort of tacit dimension - flowers hiding in their buds, not yet blooming. We can’t see them but they’re still there, waiting to present themselves when the time is right.

It felt appropriate to include rhododendrons in my artwork for this reason.

What are your fave album covers, records with a great music and artwork combo, or musical projects with a visual component?

I love the artwork for Angel Olsen’s albums Half Way Home and Burn Your Fire For No Witness. The majority of her other album artwork is photography based. Using illustration - the imagery, style, and texture - for these two albums fits the songs so well.

Half Way Home – Angel Olsen
2012, Bathetic Records
Artwork: Plastic Crimewave

Burn Your Fire For No Witness – Angel Olsen
2014, Jagjaguwar
Artwork: Kreh Mellick

The artwork for Youth Lagoon’s A Year of Hibernation (one of my all time favorite albums) mirrors the feeling and textures of the songs perfectly.

A Year of Hibernation – Youth Lagoon
2011, Lefse / Fat Possum Records

“The Disintegration Loops” by William Basinki is a powerful and moving blend of sound and visuals. I’m always hit harder than I expect whenever I revisit it. 

“Disintegration Loop 1.1” – William Basinski
2001, Musex International
Video: William Basinski

What did you listen to growing up?

Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers, REM, and Heart were all on heavy rotation in my parent’s cars. I also remember singing along to the 4 Non Blondes tape whenever my mom would drive, ha! Probably why “What’s Up” is my No.1 karaoke song now.

And what’s on heavy rotation for you at the moment?

Angel Olsen – Big Time
Widowspeak – The Jacket
Tenci – My Heart Is An Open Field

What’s happening in your creative world at the moment?

I freelance full time, mainly editorial and book illustration, but this spring I joined the illustration department at the Pacific Northwest College of Art here in Portland. Teaching has been a fun, challenging way to use my illustration skills in a new context and start to think about my practice in a different light.

Where can we find you?

Thanks Sunny 👋🏽