Sunday, March 20, 2011

Star Wars Tarot- The Fool

For those who thought I had forgotten about this series: I haven’t. :)

This is the latest submission for my “Star Wars tarot” deck project I have been working on.

I think this one was an obvious decision, as I even had some people inquire if Jar Jar would be the candidate for "The Fool". I had already picked him way back in the day, but having people confirm this with their opinions made me sure of my decision even more.

Like the originals “Fool” Card, Jar Jar is aloof and seemingly unaware of the danger that lurks right around the corner- however I substituted the cliff with the war-tank behind him. The green and watery landscape of Naboo help build that contrast to the “foreboding” dark base color the card is illustrated on- and even the sky changes color from a serene blue, to a wild yellow. A card of “innocent ignorance wile inobservance” is the main criteria, and Jar Jar’s bright body color and jolly detached attitude plays the part really well.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Circle of Crows

Commission for client.

She wanted to have one of three dreams illustrated in the NWP style, and I told her I would only if they wouldn’t break any taboo or infringe on cultural concepts. Lucky that after I reviewed what she wanted, nothing out of the ordinary appeared!

This was the one I wanted to do the most- simply because of the clarity of the image in my head, and the concept within it:

I was taken by the description of all the crows harassing the mother for food, and the mother trying to chide her son into calming down.
I am fond of the archetypes of Protectors, and I wanted to really have that element encompassed in the image with the Motherhood theme. But I also love the symbolic correlation to the birds, and that connection to nature. So I depicted a mother clearly relaxed and "smiling" with one hand up (the palm face forward is a sign of peace and welcome), second hand around her baby who is crying. This symbol is one of motherhood, and motherhood compassion and protection. A common motif in Aboriginal art.
Second, the ring of crows all around the mother- this visually helps that feeling of foreboding the child feels because of being encompassed by so many birds, but the relaxed figure of the mother puts the viewers mind at ease. Also, the birds are not foreboding, and their beaks- while open- not gaping wide... they are also seemingly making a pattern similar to rays of light off the Sun… and almost look like they too are protecting the mother, as opposed to serious threat.

It was a lovely commission with a really great product at the end, and both of us were very satisfied.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Black Dragon

As many people don’t know, part of the North West Pacific tradition of art, is asking permission. A lot of non community members think it's ok to randomly throw together something that looks "in the style" simply because they can, and the style is "cool".
This is NOT the case. Aboriginal art is very deep rooted in the cultural traditions, and many of them have specific rules as to how one draws something, portrays something, or if they even have the right to [which usually means also a ton of taboos that could be broken if not handled right].
This is VERY hard for non-community members to understand because they live a life of self indulgence and entitlement.
I lived and worked within the community for 10+ years now, and if there is one thing I am STILL doing is asking permission. This NEVER stops.

I was in Vancouver, visiting some friends in the local Community. I had the pleasure of going down to one of my friend’s houses and attending a family gathering, that included a lot of members from their community.
During my attendance, I had figured that I would try and “obtain” some permission to do some artwork that breached out of the “norm”. After all, this would be a perfect time, as when the Elders and family gets-together, and they ask if anyone has something to get out in the open... now’s my chance.

Push comes to shove, I asked, discussed, reasoned, and gifted [paid the price] to get the rights to do some stuff. But there were 2 instances I REALLY had to discuss my POV and this picture is a result of one of them.

Most of the Elders were not pleased with the idea that European folklore would be depicted in this style. When I asked about some of the supernatural beings, they plainly refused.
It was only after I brought up the fact that another NWP artist- who is half Irish in decent- already broke that barrier to design a “Dragon”, did some of the Elders shift their consideration. Turns out, it wasn’t that they were against me doing it; simply, they wanted me to fight for it. They wanted me to prove that I had enough of their cultural knowledge, and manners to actually request something of this sort. I was told that if I had been anyone else- including a new comer to the culture, or someone who was just "an artist" with no knowledge, I would be plainly refused. But my investments and dedication to the culture and it's rules is what "won" my right. To everyone else, they would condemn them.
That too, is a cultural mentality.

So because I earned that right, I could post this with a quiet conscious, and silent heart.