I have finished my project that I mentioned in a previous post, and now that it’s done, I feel extremely bored. This is bad, especially considering the brand new copy of Mario Kart 8 that is sitting about five feet away from me.
Anyway, due to this boredom, and partially due to the fact that I am about to post the project on DeviantART, I decided to write a little blog entry to talk a bit about the project and explain how I did some of the things I did… You know, in case anyone is interested in the process.
“Howdju du dat?”
I spent a few weeks thinking very hard about how I wanted to execute this project. Originally, I wanted to do it in the form of a teenage girl’s scrap book. I quickly trashed this idea when I realized the following:
- I am very, very bad at scrap booking stuff.
- It’s harder to get into the character’s mind through something as impersonal as a scrap book.
But a plain journal just wasn’t going to cut it. It would be far too boring and probably pretty tl;dr for most people. Not only that, but I prefer for my work to be fairly vague instead of direct and straightforward. I like to bury things and let the reader figure it out for themselves.
Last Christmas, I got pretty much nothing in the way of gifts, which is one of those things you get to look forward to when you grow up. (Trust me, you get used to it.) But my brother, being the generous guy he is, gave me one of his gifts that he didn’t really want, which happened to be something called a “Visual Journal Kit.” It came with a really lame DVD that I didn’t actually watch and yada yada, this story detour is taking too long, but basically, I decided maybe I’d try something like that.
Cool story, bro.
Okay, but the pictures. All of the photos in this project were my own actual photos that I took myself with an actual camera. A lot of the disfigured photos are old pictures of people who I no longer remember. I needed photos, and since I could pick them up and no longer recognize who I was looking at, they had no sentimental value to me. Still, to protect their identity (and also, of course, to add creepy effect), I made sure to obscure all of the faces in various ways, mostly by melting the photo.
Fun Fact: Never attempt this technique with an old fashioned Polaroid photo. The stench will haunt you in your nightmares for the next twenty years.
And speaking of the Polaroids, I’m not going to tell you exactly how I did them (yay for trade secrets!), but I will say that I do have an old Polaroid One Step. I bought it from a Goodwill, for probably about $10, which seems like a steal until you take into account the fact that it is pretty busted. Whatever mechanism inside that is supposed to squish out the developer solution and spread it across the photo paper doesn’t really do a very good job, but it was passable up until the third Polaroid in this project when it conveniently actually did stop working properly. It fit in perfectly with everything else, so I just ran with it.
The creative process.
Writing something like this involves just kind of letting my brain shut down and do its own thing… But not too much, otherwise I just end up drawing frilly bits and writing butts on everything. If I can get into the perfect state between fully conscious and just kind of… there? Then I can spend a long time just letting the psychobabble flow freely.
How it ties into my real life.
None of the people or events in this story are real. However, personal experience does play at least a minor role in just about any artist’s work. In my case, it’s two main things: The amusement park and the mental hospital.
When I was fifteen, I was sent to a mental hospital over a huge misunderstanding involving me being angry at someone (who overreacted and called the cops) and the police finding an empty Zoloft bottle (which didn’t even belong to me and was empty because the prescription needed a refill). In general, it was an incredibly stupid chain of events. But the time I spent there wasn’t completely useless. It gave me a lot of insight into what these sorts of places are like from an insider’s perspective, including all their ridiculous rules, and yes- most of them are actually rules. They take your shoelaces so you can’t hang yourself. They keep pointy things away from you unless you’re supervised, so you can’t stab yourself. And if you want anything with caffeine, your doctor must approve it.
In short, it sucks.
As far as the amusement park goes, well… It is, or at least it was a real park until it really did close eight years ago in the wake of a certain hurricane. It was a place I spent a lot of time as a child, and being one of the few things I can clearly remember from my past, was very dear to my heart. The sad part is that I didn’t find out what happened to it until eight years later when I finally decided to take a vacation back to my hometown, and when I did find out, it was almost traumatic for me. It felt like an old friend had died, only I found out eight years too late.
The hurricane that killed it was the same hurricane that rearranged my life and landed me in my current home in the armpit of the earth.
Anyway, the photos I used were real photos of a real amusement park that really is abandoned.
Flipping through, I can’t really think of anything else to say about it, but as always, don’t be afraid to ask me questions if you have any. As long as you’re not a jerk and your question is legitimate, I will always take the time to answer you.