“THEY’RE BACK!” announced a message written on the blacktop path near Las Vegas Park in late March. And they were: the path was covered in chalk drawings depicting a virtual menagerie of characters you’ll never see in a zoo or a Disney movie, including a scowling, spear-wielding character labeled “Orang-Bunyan (Scaryjungle Elf).” A walk down the path revealed more large drawings with names like “Spooky Floating Human/Vampire Hybrid” and “Felidomancer.”
Two days later Orang-Bunyan and his friends were gone, washed away by a big rain. And there, bent over replenishing them, was their creator–a tall, blond fourteen-year-old Ann Arbor Open student named Duncan Reitz.
Duncan, who lives a block from the park, has been drawing there since he was ten. But his parents, both art school grads, say he’s been an artist since he was two, when he created snowmen by the thousands. His mother reveals that Duncan has Asperger’s syndrome. “That would explain his extreme focus,” she says.
Orang-Bunyan was inspired by a description Duncan found on monsteropedia.com. “I said to myself, ‘I gotta draw this guy, he’s interesting. He might not be the big cheese of my drawings, but he’ll be a bit of a winner.'”
So who is the big cheese of his drawings? Duncan says he gets compliments on all of them, but his most popular ever “was a Loch Ness [monster] that took up the entire basketball court near Lawton.”