Surreal Series | 1998 | synopis
I have always looked at the world through a distorted pair of eyes. Growing up in my family definitely influenced all of my art and our house, especially, drove me to draw. My drawings could be called twisted observational drawings. They aren't photo realistic, but give the illusion of an actual space (I would like to see the house in reality). Each drawing (if you can't tell by the title) is based loosely on a room from my house. Since all of the pieces contain similar elements (notably furniture), each draws from the original living room. If a person looks at my pieces, he/she will see that there is that characteristic chair in every piece. A plush armchair in a hilly bathroom has been my dream since childhood.
In the beginning, the surreal universe was nothing more than a simple experiment in techniques. I had been doing what I call "solid color" drawings (my term for colored pencil drawings in which colors are blended into each other and none paper is visible) for over a year (starting halfway through eighth grade). Somehow I ended up buying a set of gray colored pencils and doing solid color drawings with them. I discovered was how easy it was to get realistic gradations when only working with grays. My first test was a small drawing that resembled a Celtic rune, and with that being successful, I jumped headfirst into the Surreal Livingroom precursor (just a smaller version). My earlier pieces were small, due mostly to lack of supplies and confidence. Later, I realized that the Surreal Series had become, as Mr. Diffy would say, "a plug and chug" type of art. Once the initial concept was decided upon, all I had to do was throw ready-made surreal elements (such as the spheres, lamp, chair, etc.) into the piece. Lack of creativity was further visible when I made three "new" surreal pieces that were only larger copies of earlier tests. Feelings of inadequacy continued for two years.
Changes occurred soon after with Surreal Bedroom. It was larger, more unique, and it still incorporated all of the surreal elements of my past pieces. Now the series started to express isolation, something that i had striving to express, but never could. My Junior year, Surreal Bathroom was created. That was the beginning of what i would call my "end" pieces, for I claimed that Surreal bathroom would be the last in the series. It was until the beginning of my senior year when I created Last Dream? As the title expresses, at the time i wasn't sure if it would be my last dream, my last surreal piece. I had been slowly incorporated more symbolism into my pieces, and by this time, it was reaching its climax. But in the back of my mind, I was dissatisfied with the piece as an end to the series. I toyed with the idea of incorporating the outdoor mono print environment (its influence can be seen in the conceptual sketches), but it never had the feel I wanted. Surreality is distortion, and while the tendril environment was distorted, it called for an exterior of a building, not a building that could both contain and be in the environment. I decided that the universe would have to be represented as a strange mix of interior and exterior. I jumped in without anymore thought, planning the piece with a white colored pencil in two hours. I was able to make definite rooms but still leave the viewer wondering if he or she is inside or out (I coin the term "ixterior").
Symbolism abounds in the Surreal Universe , a dominant theme is ancient civilizations. The structure is influenced by Byzantine, Persian, Egyptian, South American, and Sumerian architecture (Hagia Sophia, column shafts, pyramids, Mouth gate (Aztec looking), and Ziggurats (respectively). Art has become an accessible medium for me to express my views on creation. Starting with Enki's Lament, I incorporated both the universe's and mankind's creation themes. Since Surreal pieces do not allow for human narrative, I had to symbolize the gods, their structures, what they did in them, and how we were created. It was hard, and the message isn't as clear to the viewer as in the Enki piece, but it gives more meaning than ever possible before. But i have taken the surreal series as far as I can. From one lonely room, it has come to express the entire universe. There is nowhere else to go; it is the last piece, and that's a guarantee.
How I do it I can't tell you how I plan the elaborate compositions, it just happens. I do little planning that leads to a finished piece, as illustrated by how different the conceptual sketches for the Surreal Universe are from product. Instead, I plan out the composition on the piece itself, not allowing erasers (somehow the composition works out fine every time). The surreal drawing process is tedious, since there is so much to do and no way to correct any mistakes. I constantly have to switch colors, and my hands and eyes become sore after hours of constant work (Surreal Universe was finished over the course of a week, with approximately 18 hours spent working. All of my other pieces were not timed). But in the end, I have produced a unique piece, a piece that is can not be duplicated by anyone else's hand. As far as materials, I use either black mat board or solid black foam core board (the most recent pieces are on foam core because it takes less effort to make smooth gradients) and white, black, and three shades or gray Prisma Color colored pencils (I have not found a better brand of colored pencil) $$.
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