|07–09 Jun 2012|
Several of my pieces are available as prints on quality paper (with optional framing) from Zazzle or DeviantArt. Mugs, shirts, and other items featuring my works can also be purchased at Zazzle. High-resolution digital versions of some works can be purchased through Etsy.
Akemi Takada is my favourite artist; her gentle, flowing imagery is breathtaking and perhaps the most significant source of inspiration for my drawings. Elements of the works of Alfons Mucha (mostly filtered through the lens of Takada), Franklin Booth, John Waterhouse, William-Adolphe Bouguereau, Stephanie Law, Boris Vallejo and Julie Bell, Michael Whelan, Larry Elmore, Jonathon Bowser, Brian Froud and Tony DiTerlizzi (to name a few), also all contribute to my style. The strength, grace, and sensuality of ballet (and to a lesser extent, gymnastics) are particularly strong influences in my portrayal of mermaids.
Regarding Art & Illustration
While the popularity of High Fantasy and so-called animé styles of illustration among casual dabblers–and the resulting glut of lower-quality works–has led to a misguided antipathy in the art community towards the forms themselves rather than a thoughtful consideration of the merits and shortcomings of individual works, there remains an undeniable appeal and fascination for them. As for the drawings herein, they are merely expressions of a desire to give tangible form to mental pictures and notions, to share those ideas with others and hopefully convey a sense of wonder, and to spark imagination.
Regarding Nudity in Art
I have always been fascinated by the casual sensuality and beauty of the nude or scantily-clad figure in Fine Art; it symbolises freedom and innocence, a lack of shame, and a degree of trust by the subject that is needed to expose the vulnerable body. Its admixture of a rose-tinted sense of humble purity with eroticism creates a poignant, untouchable, idealised sensation for me. The acceptance of these not-fully-draped figures by a society which in other contexts decries the display as obscene also piques my interest; as Art, nudity is tolerated and can be enjoyed without shame. The imaginative settings in which the figures reside, especially in fantasy art, futher set them in an otherworldly 'place beyond', and accents my interest in the subject, as an avenue of escapism from the greyness of the world we know.
Mermaids in particular, to me, are a potent representation of the freedom-of-nudity, and they convey the beauty and capricious nature of the sea (which in turn represents the environment-at-large) and quintessential force of femininity; their charm and graceful forms are an almost ostentatious embodiment of symbolism—of wild, untamed sexuality and total lack of imposed societal restraint contrasted with the demure modesty of the traditional form's lack of genitalia. The frequent, unashamed presentation of bare (or minimally-clothed) breasts implies the innocent, youthful aspect that knows no self-conscious shame, as well as a maternal nurturing. The mermaids I usually draw are half-dolphin, as the combination of two mammalian forms both makes more sense to me, and amplifies the mermaid's sensuality.
The strong feminine nature of mermaids, with the accompanying characteristics of a tempestuous amorousness that is at the same time suggested as chaste, fairly well speaks to me as an attractive metaphor for lesbianism (and, indeed, female gender-roles) as portrayed by the popular media and common attitudes of Western society. Mermaids manage to possess these traits without being strictly tied to the stigmas that they seem to imply within various human cultural groups when associated with real individuals, and so become a way to safely express and explore imagery that hopefully empowers them.
Though mermaids lack the legs which play such a vital role in ballet and gymnastics, I strive to convey an echo of the physical eloquence and evocative beauty of their form in the poses of the mermaids I draw. Deliberately, the dolphin-like hip-fins are augmented to serve as a clear visual analogy to a ballerina's foot encased in a toe shoe, and a vestigial dorsal fin (which subtly represents an inversion of the inter-gluteal cleft) and gluteal hump provide both a feature of visual interest in lieu of and directly similar to a pair of primate buttocks that guides the line of view along the flow of the tail and a sensible anatomical feature to increase stability for a creature that spends its life swimming. Long, lean lines of surface musculature, too, help to establish the believability of my drawings, conveying the sense that these tails have functional structure, rather than being mere decorative shapes.
|07–09 Jun 2012|