unfortunately, these things do happen. a few months ago, i was laid off from my job as a concept artist at a start-up video game studio here in the Bay Area, ending three years of work with no product to show for it, and nothing substantial to add to my resume. many friends of mine have been unemployed for a very long time now, and now i've joined them. it's actually quite depressing, the layoff went down just in time for seasonal affective disorder to take hold.
the upside is that work that was being put off can be realized. so far this has limited itself to quick paint sketches, but i have plenty of bigger, more refined pieces coming down the pipeline, which i intend to print and send in for various art competitions. i am also making an endeavor to get back into traditional art, as was inspired by a trip to a sketch-night at a local gallery, where my work was very well received by enthusiastic art scenesters.
but until then, here is what i have so far.
Haibane Renmei is a short (13 episodes) anime series from the creator of Lain, and centers on a few girls living in an isolated village, who have awakened as angel-like creatures with no memory of their past lives. the plot is very slow and meandering, but the emotions that are kindled as the series progresses are searing. i found myself crying while watching the later episodes. i was especially struck by the character of Reki, the selfless caretaker of the group, and her emotional struggles - which of course resemble my own.
Greer Gilman's Cloud and Ashes: Three Winter's Tales is the best novel i have read in many years. the craft, the images, the themes, the sheer poetry of the three stories (two shorter ones to set the scene, and a long novella) has filled my mind with beautiful images for months now, but no real complete pieces have come out of it so far. the abstraction and ethereal tone is sometimes difficult to pin down in a precise image or character design, the prose is told as if through a haze of all the words that came before it. the experience of reading Cloud and Ashes is to be fully immersed in the present moment, being overwhelmed with the english language. sounds pretentious, but it's true. of course it helps that the authoress is a lexicologist.
the plot circles in on the unassuming and reticent girl, Margaret, who was born and raised in the celestial plane of Law by her sinister grandmother, the goddess of the moon, Annis - but escapes. Margaret is the product of an incarnation of Annis' daughter, Ashes, who came was stolen away to the earthly land of Cloud with a simple fiddler. her journey through Cloud to find her mother and escape the prying eyes and spies of her grandmother is a myth as rich and multilayered as any hero journey from the european tradition.
so far i am on my third reading of the book.
and finally, this piece is purely a personal work, inspired by a particularly distressing session at therapy. the emotional struggle that i have been going through lately, in attempting to reconcile and grieve for my past self, has been harrowing. this piece was done in the weeks leading up to a trip back home to stay with my family, and the anxiety and guilt that i felt was almost enough to make me back out of the whole thing. so this character, whom i named Turmoil, is the representation i have chosen of myself, when i am overwhelmed. i'm using a bit of overt symbolism, but the emotions elicited are what i am after. constriction, suspension, and the feeling of gasping in brackish water.
until next time,