Just musings today. I am working on three separate new images at the moment: faces and situations which you are already familiar with, if you have followed my work for a while. Sometimes I receive emails asking about the characters in my art, about why they are most always pale, ethereal, overly pretty girls of an indeterminate age, and so on. And sometimes I wonder about this myself, because I have never really been able to predict beforehand just what my characters are 'up to'.....so I will try to explain...
I'm not sure, perhaps it might require more skill to create less homogenous looking faces? I suspect this is the truth, except I also think that my characters have taken on a sort of life of their own, and have come to represent a certain something which most always lies beneath. Basically, I am often more concerned with the emotional content of the image than the mundane prettiness of my characters. And their faces have simply come to represent what is most familiar to me, something which I have most likely carried with me since childhood: an impression, a reflection, a memory of old stories and dreams. I am also pale, and blonde, so I dare say there is a small reference to childhood myself, as well, as far as 'colouring' goes. Perhaps, after all, there is only one solitary character hiding behind all of them, a sort of transparent, ghostly being who can only take on a small number of disguises before she exhausts herself. Perhaps, like my digital skill, she cannot fully materialize. But it's alright, we have patience!
The old fairy tales are still my greatest influence, and the girls are often a manifestation of an idea inspired by them. In a sense, the girls are like a blank canvas which gives form to the ideas, the symbols which surround them. And the symbols are often more important to me, personally, than the characters. This is why I am constantly drawn to the somnambulist theme: they are concerned with something larger which moves us, something just outside of our physical control. Sleep brings them closer to the unconscious (and I am still using Jungian symbols in my art), to what we might collectively refer to as the other side. It is the closest that I can get to what moves me outside of poetry and film...and the films in my head are led by music, never dialogue. The girls in the image above are still quite literally sleeping. They have not been invested with personality as yet, and maybe they never shall. They are nowhere near technically complete, yet their hearts are still beating, and their dreams are vivid with potential. At this stage, technically speaking, I often wait for the character to 'tell me' what surrounds them, what they are thinking, feeling, etc. Frustratingly, I can never actually design the outcome beforehand. So many of my ideas never come to fruition because the characters simply won't join in.
They aren't supposed to imitate reality as much as they are meant to suggest something just outside of it. They exist neither in the land of the living nor the realms of the dead.Inaccessible, they are a law unto themselves, concerned only with themselves and the mysteries of nature and dreams. They cannot be wounded or hurt like mortal children, which strengthens yet distances them simultaneously. My artist friend Kim has occasionally remarked that there is something uncanny, unsettling about an overly pretty child (in reference to my work), and this is kind of the point. What initially stikes us as human, approachable, even cute, might not be all that it seems.