Rich Shapero is an author, writer and musician whose multimedia storytelling projects pioneer unseen worlds. His projects include Balcony of Fog, Rin, Tongue and Dorner, Arms from the Sea, The Hope We Seek, Too Far and Wild Animus. All are available as books on Amazon as well as multimedia apps fusing fiction, music, art and (sometimes) video on iOS (Apple), Android and Amazon.
At the heart of his stories are vast wildernesses, populated by mercurial private gods who promise deliverance to truer, more profound states of being. But transcendence demands sacrifice, and the paths of his protagonists are fraught with danger, dread and violence.
Combining lucid prose with entrancing music, Rich conjures immersive visionary landscapes and characters who struggle to achieve summits of personal fulfillment. > More about Rich
Balcony of Fog
In a storm-ravaged corner of post-nuclear America, Arden is left for dead after a brutal beating from his superior. On waking, he encounters Estra, a lost woman of mysterious origin, whom he smuggles into his cell. Desperate, and now in love, the two resolve to escape to the place from which Estra has come—the cloud realm.
Together, they ascend to the skies and make their home on a vacant cumulus, where Estra initiates Arden into the ways of the vaporous world. On the horizon looms a thunderhead, growing larger and more monstrous as it consumes the clouds in its path. The thunderhead is following them, and Estra knows and fears the man driving it.
As the hidden truths of Estra’s past emerge, Arden despairs, then—with Estra’s encouragement and guidance—determines to fight back.
Mixing the sublimity of fair-weather skies with the nightmarish violence of electric storms, Balcony of Fog illuminates the tension between the power of love and the love of power.> More about Balcony of Fog
Rin, Tongue and Dorner
A new ice age has driven mankind to settlements at the equator. In Clemency—a metropolis sheltered inside a transparent dome surrounded by glaciers—Planning luminary Dorner hears female voices in his sleep. As the voices become more insistent, he seeks help from neuroscientist Rin, who runs tests to identify the location and import of this interior woman, who calls herself “Tongue.”
Rin’s increasingly invasive experiments help Dorner to visualize Tongue, until he’s able to fly through the cosmos of his brain and find the distant asteroid from which Tongue’s voices beckon and provoke.
Meanwhile, Rin and Dorner fall in love. Is Tongue an agent of change, bringing desire and passion to their lives, or is she Rin’s worst enemy? With Rin’s guidance, Dorner lands on the asteroid where Tongue reigns supreme, and explores a mysterious landscape of flames and human monuments—a realm of rapture and portent that threatens to undo them all.
With wild imagination and blazing insight, Shapero depicts the inner workings of human desire, probing the depths of our buried passions, and revealing their potential to annihilate us, or set us free.> More about Rin, Tongue and Dorner
Arms from the Sea
Lyle is a young man who hates his life in the State of Salt, a cultural and literal desert. He vandalizes a State icon, then swallows a poison pill that transports him not to death, but to a liminal realm—blue, aquatic, and wholly alien.
He’s rescued and shepherded by henchmen of the Polyp, god of the watery realm they call “heaven.” A series of encounters unfolds between Lyle and the monstrous, seductive god, who gradually reveals his grandeur and mysterious purpose.
Lyle is horrified at first but soon finds himself falling for the Polyp, and the potent and bizarre creative potential he represents . . .
Whimsical and outlandish but also timely and dead serious, Arms from the Sea plunges into imagined realms of possibility, pointing to what it might mean to redeem a desolate world.> More about Arms from the Sea
The Hope We Seek
Rich Shapero's The Hope We Seek follows Zachary Knox, a sharpshooter whose search for gold leads him north to a mining camp that's home to a cult. Zack determines to overthrow the mine boss—until Hope appears and reveals the astonishing future she has in mind for him. To tell his story, Shapero fuses his provocative novel with hypnotic, original music and Visionary art. The result is a riveting and fully immersive storytelling experience.> More about The Hope We Seek
Rich Shapero’s Too Far follows a pair of ultra-imaginative six-year-olds, Robbie and Fristeen, through a transformative summer spent exploring the woods behind their remote Alaskan homes. Too Far combines Rich’s enchanting novel with his original music to create an exhilarating storytelling experience.> More about Too Far
Wild Animus is the story of a young idealist, Ransom Altman, whose quest for fundamentals drives him to the Alaskan wilderness where, alone with his dangerous ideas, he transforms himself into a wild creature of prey. In the wild he finds himself pursued by a strangely familiar pack of wolves. To tell his story, Shapero has crafted a new art form that intricately interweaves book and music.
> More about Wild Animus
Discover the Visual Art
The late Visionary artist, Donald Pass, provided the artwork for The Hope We Seek.
"I first became familiar with Donald's work about eight years ago. I heard about his vision in the churchyard, and I found it easy to believe that the scenes depicted in his paintings came from a real experience. They are that vivid. That impactful."
Rich’s passion for the work of Visionary artist Eugene Von Bruenchenhein motivated him to seek out and publicly display the best of the artist’s paintings from 1954-1963 at vonbruenchenhein.com.
“I first saw Eugene Von Bruenchenhein’s paintings in 2003. I found them mysterious and evocative, and full of energy. The more I looked at them, the more they expanded beyond the borders of the frame. They seemed to carry with them a complex history, as if they were glimpses of a world distant from our own. Many appeared to depict an event—on land, underwater, or in deep space—drawn from some alien cosmogony. The paintings were relatively inexpensive, so I purchased a few. A couple of years later, I purchased a few more. And a few more. I loved the places they took me and the power they had to stimulate my imagination. Finally, my enthusiasm for the paintings reached the point that I wanted to share them. So, in May, 2009, we launched vonbruenchenhein.com.”
François Burland is a highly acclaimed Visionary artist, often counted among painters of the Art Brut aesthetic. He has brought Wild Animus to life.