Obi Kaufmann was born in Hollywood, California in the early seventies to two scientist parents: an astrophysicist and a psychologist. When he was five, they moved north to near Mount Diablo in the Bay Area. Obi passed the days of his youth scrambling around the mountain, falling in love with it, and spent the nights with his father, studying mathematics, falling in love with that too. It was in college at the University of California, Santa Barbara, that he decided that visual arts were to be the professional basis of his career, although he would tell you that it was actually in the Santa Ynez mountains, off-campus, where he actually decided that. A life-long backpacker, Obi settled into writing his first book The California Field Atlas (Heyday, 2017) after spending several decades in the California summer, enjoying “more days without a roof on the trail, than under one in a house.” These days, he spends winters in Oakland with his love Alli and his little, trail dog Gordy.
The Forests of California (Heyday, 2020) will Obi’s third book, following the California Field Atlas and The State of Water; Understanding California’s Most Precious Resource (Heyday, 2019). The Forests of California is the first volume in the forthcoming The California Lands Trilogy, which will include The Coasts of California (Heyday, Fall 2020) and The Deserts of California (Heyday, Spring 2021). He will bookend the portfolio of six books with one last work on the living nature of wildland fire, to be called The State of Fire; where, how and why California burns (Heyday, Fall 2021). After that, he is going to hit the trail for a year; send him a message if you’d like to join him for a bit. You can find Obi on instagram @coyotethunder and you can read his essays at http://www.coyoteandthunder.com.