Let me paint you picture.
Sparky the Wonder Walnut is more than the creation of Jeppy Spitz. It would be more accurate to say that Sparky and his family and friends existed in his mind already and Jeppy just discovered them there. And then they escaped.
For a while he tried to capture their essence in a short lived, obscure web comic. Obscure maybe, but with faithful followers. Next came a book that collected all the comics in one place with a print run of 20. And then Jeppy disappeared. All he left us with was some unusual comics and an echo of talent unfulfilled.
I would run into him from time to time in the oddest places* and he finally agreed to allow us to sell Sparky the Wonder Walnut t-shirts again. After some pressure (I called his Mom) he agreed to share the origins of these lovable (well, not Leonard the Police Sheep really) inhabitants of the space between his ears and the space in our hearts. (Cue the sap.) I asked him why let us sell the shirts now? He said that he didn't know why or how, but Sparky the Wonder Walnut t-shirts made people's lives better when they wore them. And when friends wore them when they were together they were happier than they had ever been. Even though he walked away (for now, we hope), he didn't want to keep that kind of amazing power from the human family. We could use that kind of mysterious happiness and togetherness now more than ever.
Sparky, Family and Friends
Sparky fell out of a walnut tree in Brentwood, California in 1962. And he landed, of all things, on his chicken legs. It was dark and shady and cool. He wandered around for several years talking to the other walnuts in the tree and on the ground but no one ever talked back to him. So he went to the Library and began to teach himself about the world. Then he bought a T.V. and watched the original Bat Man and almost joined the Church of Bat Man. But in the end he just made a donation and walked back to his walnut orchard. He decided that the answer wasn't out there, it was right there in the fields and orchards of Brentwood.
And that is when he met, Trixie the Wonder Walnut. The first walnut that talked back. She was smarter, funnier, and sportier than he was. And they have been together, as long as he behaves, ever since.
Once he found Trixie, the world opened up as more unusual friends joined the crew.
One day they were chasing dragon flies in Marsh Creek and they met Bicky the Frog reciting poetry in an old tire. Bicky told them they should meet one of the last living razor back dinosaurs...over in the old irrigation pipe on Pippo's farm. Mister Dinosaur was happy to eat, I mean meet them. And so it went, Leonard the Police Sheep had the one legged Prune Brothers locked up over off Sellars and Hi-way 4. A small bribe freed the innocent and formed an unbreakable bond. Better to be friends with the only sheep with sharp teeth in the County!
The Cheese Monkey's were growing sweet corn of all things off Eden Plains. Jonny the Toob Fish was having breakfast at Orwood. And Mrs. Unk the Mysterious Hamster was teaching science and alchemy under the bleachers at Edna Hill Middle School to a single curious student...One Mad Turtle. Nope, no one knows why OMT is mad, but no one knows why he is a Turtle either.
And that is the story. If you look carefully, sometimes you can see them hanging out on the Delta or sitting in the shade of some apricot trees, just trying to enjoy life, figure a few things out and get along. Because like all of us, all they have is each other.
*Places I have run into Jeppy Spitz: Backpacking in Carson Iceberg Wilderness, underneath a BART train at the Lafayette station, hitch hiking through Montana, as a Carnie at the County Fair in Bakersfield, and in the Himalaya's... he had found the Dalai Lama's golf ball, to name a few. Have you seen him anywhere? Tell him to call me if you do.
Thrity years ago, a once in a life time talent burst on to the burning hot performance art scene in Brentwood, California. Not the OJ Brentwood. The other Brentwood. The one that was there first. Cherries. Apricots. Sweet Corn. And a creative fire that burned as bright as it burned quick. Burn, burn, burned, burn.
Fame attached itself to Spitz in a way that is difficult to describe. And then he faded away, leaving only a whisper of his genius.
Sparky The Wonder Walnut and his friends have warmed the hearts of ten's, maybe a dozen, mostly family, over the decades. But someone outside the persistent fad following asked about Jeppy about six months ago and that radical increase in demand prompted this website.
We are here to curate his work and hawk t-shirts. Maybe he will come out of obscurity, but we are really hoping he moves on to the next life so we can benefit from the deceased artist appreciation phenomenon. Be the first to honor Jeppy and collect all 10 members of the Wonder Walnut Family.
Besides the speculative nature of your purchase, don't discount the undocumented stories of incredible positive changes that happen when someone is wearing an authentic Sparky the Wonder Walnut t-shirt.
For example, my wife loves playing golf and normally hits her Driver about 200 yards on her best day. Then one day she was wearing her Trixie the Wonder Walnut t-shirt and she said she hit her drive 420 yards.
Anyway, I should go pretend to do my chores, but you get the idea. There was something special about Jeppy Spitz. There is something wonderful about wearing his timeless art on your chest.