The Boy Who Painted Fire




Does Art have the power to transform?


Jon Baxter has big dreams. Make cool art, meet hot girls, dive a Porsche. His reality is a million mile away – beer guzzling father, naive mother, house a shambles and the little town a dead end. Not to mention the fact that he’s now in jail. Yet, somehow, Jon stumbles upon one chance at a dream, one chance at a way out.


Jon's edges are rough, but he has a wry wit, a keen eye and a stand-up comic's knack for punch lines. Unfortunately, Jon is his own worst enemy; he continues to dig himself deeper and deeper into a hole. He resists and fights his teachers at every turn. He hates the art school persona, particularly Cindy—that hippie girl who everyone says is so “talented. The only thing Jon does like is Katerina, a struggling student and former stripper with more baggage than Southwest Air.


As Jon flirts with disaster, he chances upon a unique and powerful professor who rattles Jon to his very core. Now armed with the weapons of paintbrush and fire, Jon must enter the labyrinth of his own soul. Only within this crucible of paint and heat lives the potential for transformation and powerful artistic expression -- if Jon can summon the courage to see it through.


The Boy Who Painted Fire is the story of a young artist in search for direction and involved in a tender, convincing and hilarious love story. It provides anyone who has explored their own creativity, or enjoys the arts, a fun, quirky, irreverent, yet moving and transformative reading experience. It is a journey of struggle, inspiration and redemption, with a host of memorable characters, all of whom change Jon in some way, as he struggles with art, love, truth, and ultimately, his own soul.


                                Reviews of... The Boy Who Painted Fire



We watch from the inside as Jon finds his way toward understanding the transformative power of art and reluctantly comes to accept an artist's responsibilities. We watch him resist all of his attractions to Cindy, then give in to them only to find her as incomprehensible as art itself. Anybody who has ever been in a new love relationship, with all its glories and unexpected blowbacks, will smile, shake their heads, laugh, and, yes, shed a tear or two... I highly recommend it for everyone else who enjoys a terrific story, well told.    Rick Sterry, author of  Way Out



Part coming-of-age story, part philosophy of art, author JS Bird weaves together these two aspects with a near seamless ease that enlightens as it entertains... Bird uses his own knowledge of art to infuse the narrative with pointed insights about the artistic process in a way that transcends the immediate medium...  This novel taught me to appreciate art in an entirely new way.    Andrew Thompson - freelance writer, writing instructor, University of Oregon



JS Bird is a master of development of style that inherently matches the growth and development of his compelling characters...  I was completely seduced by the third chapter and as Jon discovered the magic, the frustration and the transformative qualities of creating art. Bird's development of character and human psyche and relationships moved to a class with D.H. Lawrence and his descriptive prose rivals James Lee Burke. Bird is a painter and teaches painting. When he invokes Jon's art teachers to illustrate how exploring and creating a painting is self transformative in the way of the warrior, we know that he is not only entertaining us. He has become our teacher and he knows our quest.    Rick Williams, author of Visual Communication: Integrating Media, Art and Science.



JS Bird has written a powerful, multi-layered novel...This is one of the best novels I've read in a long time. The supporting characters -- all are deftly and richly drawn... being in Jon's head as he navigates the unfolding situations around him is sometimes irritating, often laugh-out-loud hilarious, and at times profound and moving. But always engaging... it's a compelling read that's hard to put down. Afterward, the characters and themes continue to haunt me.    Kevin McNerney, freelance author