Obsession and the Equinox

Not an Allegory.

My current assignment for Advanced Illustration is to create an illustration in collaboration with B:Light Magazine (pronounced either Be Light, or Blight. See what they did there?) The art director, Lauren Schaefer, came in and spoke with our class about B:Light and to give us our illustration prompts.

B:Light is a project within PNCA’s MFA Collaborative Design program.

B:Light seeks to acknowledge and explore realities that are largely ignored, misunderstood or under-analyzed by mainstream cultural media. We hope to enhance literacy regarding such issues in hopes of motivating readers and out community to further inquiry and/or action. Our second issue of B:Light attempts to understand the omnipresent yet elusive complexities of addiction while pointing the finger back at ourselves, realizing that on some level we are all obsessed/addicts.” – Lauren Schaefer

This mission statement makes me want to mail them my thesis when I’m finished with it.

There were two articles to choose from, one about Portland, OR and another about Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. I was most interested in illustrating for the latter. We were asked to make the illustration not too dark to avoid alienating the reader (damn it) but still honest and not “glamorizing” the condition. Does that happen? Do As Good as it Gets and Monk really count?

I find the biggest disconnect between people with forms of neurosis like OCD, as well as other intense anxiety disorders, and the people that do not have them would be in empathy. It is extremely difficult to explain to someone what a panic attack is, or why it is happening, or why why isn’t even in the equation since they can happen at random. Many people have no reference for that sort of experience, and it can be frustrating to try and understand why your friend or loved one has to suddenly leave the grocery store or a party. At the same time, it is insulting to that friend to be asked to justify what is happening to them on a chemical level.

For the few people in my life with OCD, I know they experience the same frustration when trying to convey the anxiety that they experience over their fixations, and when they are not respected. They do not want to have to explain why they can not concentrate in a room with cupboard doors open, or have to justify why they have their apartment arranged in a very specific way and can’t handle things being out of place.

That disconnect, which can seem like a small thing, can be extremely alienating. Whether someone is unable to get out of bed because of clinical depression, unable to leave the house because of agoraphobia, or perpetually stuck in a compulsive ritual, it can feel like life just goes on for the rest of the world around you and you will find little compassion extended to you.

Considering all of those things, plus the criteria that Lauren had given us, I thought I would try to work from a form of obsession that everyone can relate to and push it to severity. But I did keep it light:

line work for OCD editorial© Valerie Herron 2013

line work for OCD editorial
© Valerie Herron 2013

I wanted to illustrate the concept of obsessive-compulsive nature in a dignified but fictional/conceptual way, and in a way that was relatable at the same time. As much as I like this drawing, I think the concept did get away from me a little bit. To reinforce the compulsive-ritual element to the piece, I created a wall of numbers with a brush pen and I plan on incorporating that in the background if the figure’s all consuming ritual of pulling off petals and her inability to stop doesn’t scream “psychosis!” to the art director.

numbersWP

We’ll see what happens. I will post the final illustration when it’s finished.

 

boxing hares

boxing hares

Happy Equinox! I started a tradition this year: The Ostara Rabbit Graffiti Challenge. Go draw a bunny somewhere you aren’t supposed to.

Ostara bathroom graffiti. MAYHEM!!

Ostara bathroom graffiti. MAYHEM!!

I seem to be the only person that has taken myself up on this challenge so far, though my uncle drew a rabbit in his office and my boyfriend drew on himself. I will strive for more clarity next year.

 

 

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Dark Fairy and Fantasy Ball, Ostara, and More

Hello! I step out of the fray once more to deliver an update to you lovely souls whom are following my art.

I finished and scanned the line work for my Wild Hunt (of Portland) painting. For the assignment, I plan on creating the painting digitally, much like the treatment on my Oberon and Titania illustrations. After school is out, I’m planning on redoing the same painting in the mannor I dealt with my alchemy series.

linework for the Wild Hunt (of Portland)
graphite on strathmore paper

As you can imagine, the photo shoot I conducted to get the photo reference for this project was so much fun.  I’ll be sure to post the results when this piece is finished.

In my free time (which means the hour that I’m waiting for my sleeping pills to kick in every night) I have been working on this piece:

Adder and Hawthorne - digital media, Valerie Herron 2012

It’s the first of what I would like to be a series of plant & animal totem series. I will continue to post them as they are created 🙂

Next order of business: Portland’s First Annual Dark Fairy and Fantasy Ball!! APRIL 21ST!! Will Valerie manage to complete all her assignments in the next few weeks AND get all of her swag ready for vending AND original paintings ready for the gallery show? Of course she will, it will just involve a lot of swearing, lack of sleep and a lack of showering. People that don’t think artists work hard are crazy. Anyway, here is the all of the info if you are interested, AND YOU ARE DEFINITELY INTERESTED!

artwork and flier by Jesse Lindsay

This is a 21 and up event.The First Annual Dark Fairy and Fantasy BallPlease join us as we welcome the coming 2012 Spring in our own twisted way. Enjoy a night of Decadence, Dancing, Artwork, Performers, Vendors and much more.
See mystical dark artwork by local Portland artists, while you dance to the chaotic rhythms of faery music!
Be entertained by local Portland aerial, stilt and stage performers weaving a twisted spell taking you to the twilight world of the Unseelie court…DJ’s all night providing dark music to celebrate the darker side of spring!PERFORMANCES by:

Bhrigha Gypsikelt – Dark tribal Unseelie fae bellydance!

Aaron Schallock ~ Aerial Silks
Chaunda VanTassel ~ Fairy on stilts.

Infamous Nina Nightshade – Dark delightful burleque!

Ari Lynn & Meg Russel from Dreamscape theater – https://www.facebook.com/pages/Dreame-Scape-Theater/156563571061551

Elizabeth Soots ~ Dark fairy Bellydance!

Plus surprise guests!

VENDORS:

The Green Wolf – animal masks and tails, pagan ritual tools and implements.
http:/thegreenwolf.com

Rosarium Blends – Dark and fae oils
www.rosariumblends.com

La Vie Macabre
http://www.etsy.com/shop/LaVieMacabre?ref=si_shop
laviemacabrestore@gmail.com

Elizabeth Soots
Headdresses, hairclips and accessories.

Bratty Hats Brattyhats.com – Mini hats!

Conjure oils

Visual Artists:

Jesse Lindsay

Valerie Herron

Luke Green

Wes Rogers

Maxine Miller

Dan Boles

the rest TBA.

Costumes are highly encouraged but not required.

A limited number of tickets are now on sale and available through the calendar at the Mt Tabor website.
Save some money and assure your spot !$10 presale

http://thetabor.com/

Poster and flyer image by Jesse Lindsay http://www.facebook.com/theartworkofjesselindsay

Mt. Tabor Theatre
4811 SE Hawthorne Blvd, Portland
$15 at the Door. 9pm, 21 and up please.

As you can see, there are a collection of insanely talented people in this show that you must go see.

Last, I just wanted to wish everyone a happy Ostara, Easter, or whatever spring holiday you are observing this time of the year. I celebrated a late Ostara yesterday. I drove out to my favorite hide out (featured in the My Portland drawing) and ate breakfast. Check this view:

Blix says "Happy Ostara"