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This poster encourages us to let go, drop our baggage and ascend. Featuring Sonya Shannon's much-loved artwork, "The Narrow Gate."
This poster encourages us to let go, drop our baggage and ascend. Featuring Sonya Shannon's much-loved artwork, "The Narrow Gate."
79 backers pledged $3,943 to help bring this project to life.

About this project

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This 20" x 14" poster features "The Narrow Gate" artwork created for the Transformation Oracle card deck last summer (2014). 

The poster comes with either a black or white background. 

The Goal

I want to make a version of the artwork that is affordable for everyone, and posters offer a beautiful, decent-sized reproduction. The first three short runs of this poster sold out. Now it's time for a larger printing so the poster can be sold in bookstores and "The Narrow Gate" can reach the people it wants to help. Hence, this Kickstarter project.

"The Narrow Gate" posters will ship in a gold tube.
"The Narrow Gate" posters will ship in a gold tube.

People's Response to "The Narrow Gate"

I just want to say that, even though I am the artist, I feel I have very little to do with what happens when people see "The Narrow Gate"—especially when it's shown 5-feet wide at metaphysical fairs. People literally break into tears. I keep a box of tissues nearby, as both men and women tear up BIGTIME. I really can't explain why this happens, but many people tell me they can't stop thinking about this image after they've seen it. A few folks claim it prompted them to start clearing out the clutter at home or in their offices. Several have confided they already saw this vision—or something very similar—in a dream. The poster is a way to get this message out to people who truly need it (for whatever reason.)

The Story Behind The Artwork

"The Narrow Gate" is about releasing all the stuff we've been holding onto: our possessions and the work it takes to keep them, our stuck emotions of resentment, jealousy, bitterness, and self-pity. The artwork shows 7 stages of transformation.

A woman gradually dumps her baggage: a suitcase crammed with clothes, a box of paperwork and legal documents, a cumbersome coat, and a heavy urn carried on her head. The moment her hands are empty, you can feel the lightness, the relief, the freedom. All the stress and burden she was carrying is gone.

The woman passes through a metaphysical portal. Her transformation begins. She starts morphing into her Higher Self. She grows wings and starts to ascend to the next realm. Finally, she passes through the Rainbow Portal, beyond which we can only imagine...

People often ask what the urn symbolizes. 

Here's the backstory. 

The model in this painting is actually my niece Sarah, who—among other things—is a hugely talented ceramic artist. She made this urn, but was dissatisfied with the crack in the glaze. Sarah was ready to sacrifice the urn, even before I explained this piece's intentions. If you look just behind the fourth figure, you'll see the actual moment where the urn dropped to the ground and smashed. The shards and fragments in the foreground are the actual broken urn. Thank you forever, Sarah! You are already an angel. That's why you are the model.

An urn holds ashes, the wreckage of our past, whatever got demolished along the way. It's ashes of the ancestors, old family baggage including dysfunctional patterns, beliefs, and stigmas we "inherited." An urn can also carry water, which—metaphorically speaking—means our feelings, emotions, mental obsessions, and addictions. 

I chose the urn because its gorgeous shape lends timelessness to the spirit guides' intentions. Beyond that, the real meaning is open to your interpretation.

How The Image Is Made

My background is in digital visual effects (VFX) and storyboarding/creative direction for film and TV, so I follow a feature film approach in making fine art.

"The Narrow Gate," like all my digital paintings, starts with a vision: a message from the spirit realm that wants to reach the many people who need it. My job is to capture the vision well enough to manifest it in our world—starting with quick notes and/or sketches. The costumes and props come from a large wardrobe I keep in the basement. The model is someone who can express the feelings needed for the piece. Lighting is very important, so I look for a location and time of day when the mood is just right. based on the vision from the spirit guides, I direct the model, then photograph the source imagery. 

The raw digital material is imported into a compositing program where it's layered together in a slow, meticulous process. There's a lot of masking, but even more painting with light—which is why I call it a digital painting. Most of my pieces have between 80 and 100 layers. The painted layers are lighting, shading, and special atmospheric effects. Each element has to seem like it's in the same space and time with all the others, even though the source photos may have been taken years apart.

Production Notes

We did principal photography for "The Narrow Gate" on a June evening in 2014 at my friends Karen & Harvey's farm in Erie, Colorado. I captured 169 digital photos of Sarah and the props, of which 61 ended up in my "SELECTS" folder, and 12 made the grade for the final artwork.

There are 91 layers in this painting. Each of the 7 figures has about 8 layers. The rest are background elements and special effects for the portals, from a library of photos from my travels and studies I made of things that struck my fascination. 

Tech Specs

This 20” x 14" poster is printed on 100# Endurance Gloss paper on an ultra high resolution Xerox® iGen™ 150 Press.

Praise for "The Narrow Gate"

Very beautiful. If Heaven's gate is like this, I look forward to my next experience with a happy heart. Wonderful artwork :-)  - Steven P. | Winchester, HA - United Kingdom

Sonya, your vision and connection with Spirit is divine. Your ability to communicate such deep meaning through image and symbol is inspiring. Thank you.  - Sarah D. | Parker, CO - United States

Wow I'm moved by this. Thank you for making this.  - Roland F. | Haida Gwaii, BC - Canada

Oh, I really like not only your vision and message, but the execution. Very well done. Reminds me of the Parable of the Sower, wherein one of the things that gets taken away in the gospel is the "cares of the world." In effect, "baggage."  - Valerie R. J. | Louisa, VA - United States

Creative, spiritual and very beautiful! The image is very nice but the description holds the key to understanding the symbolism. Excellent work!  - Janette B. | Tulsa, OK - United States

At first I thought this was just about death, but as you wrote it is about any Big Change. It's nice to have a positive image to strengthen one during those times.  - Maria V. | Boulder, CO - United States

I love the Great Mystery of being, and the diversity of each person's path. There is so much Love in the Universe, in many forms. Sonya, you captured so well the sense of freedom when one lets go of whatever is holding them back.  - Sarah H. | Portland, OR - United States

Risks and challenges

Honestly, there are not very many risks involved in this project. It's a 4-color process on good paper. The local print shop I use is really top notch. I've already printed and sold out of three short runs of "The Narrow Gate" poster. If people order the laminated add-on, we may lose a couple copies if the lamination gets messed up, which rarely—but sometimes—happens. It wouldn't be a big deal, as the printer always gives us a few extra copies anyway. Thanks, Kristel! You & your team are THE BEST.

This will be my first order of the gold shipping tubes. I'm confident because I've worked with this major vendor for lots of other products. The gold shipping tubes are a custom order, which I feel expresses the enduring value of this artwork. They don't cost any more than regular white shipping tubes, but add a whole lot more meaning and specialness.

Plus, if you decide to ship "The Narrow Gate" poster as a gift, I bet whoever gets it will be blown away to receive a golden tube in the mail with their name on it. They may end up loving you A LOT!! ;-)

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    LET IT GO! (Early bird special)
    1 poster (20" x 14").
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    CLOSET CLEANER
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    'OLD HURT' VANISHING FORMULA
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    DROP THE ROCK
    A 20" x 10" premium metallic print of "The Narrow Gate," signed by the artist. Ready to frame.
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    BAGGAGE BUSTER
    A 30" x 15.5" 12-color satin Giclée print of "The Narrow Gate," signed by the artist. Ready to frame.
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    RESENTMENT REMEDY
    A 30" x 15.5" premium metallic print of "The Narrow Gate," signed by the artist. Ready to frame.
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    BURDEN LIFTER
    A 36" x 19" 12-color satin Giclée print of "The Narrow Gate," signed by the artist. Ready to frame.
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    ENVY ERADICATOR
    A 36" x 19" premium metallic print, of "The Narrow Gate," signed by the artist. Ready to frame.
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    a 48" x 25" 12-color satin Giclée print of "The Narrow Gate," signed by the artist. Ready to frame.
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Funding period

- (31 days)