“despite”

A reminder to myself from today, vowing to let other people do crap work and not stick my nose in. A play on cutting it off instead, I originally imagined it as a leaping action pose wildly slashing with a sword to narrowly slice, leaving a skull-like nose stump. As you do. Maybe Japanese flavoured with a samurai sword and Tengu mask. Or Venetian flavoured with Scaramouche mask and ruffled collar both being chopped. Both with a conveniently big nose.

But I’ve already got one half-started drawing, so maybe I can let myself do something quick and dirty too!

chauvinist apocalypse

I watched one of my all time favourite movies over the weekend, Blade Runner, set in an apocalyptic 2019 as imagined in 1982. I had dreamed of chartering a helicopter to fly over Los Angeles just to fully live the alternative real version.

There are no offworld colonies, no flying cars, but we do have sex robots. You don’t need a feminist reading to be disturbed by the movie, a reconstructed male view will do just as well.

I always loved Rachael. She was beautiful and doomed, and I wanted to be gritty and tough and rescue her. Now she just seems like a blank for the male characters, or a teenage boy, to project their fantasies on.

Tyrell makes her as an experiment, loading her up with girl memories to make her chaste and uptight, obediently tottering on heels where she’s told to go. Deckard isn’t interested until that identity and her elaborate hair unravel, then he overwrites with his own operating instructions: “say you want me” – “I want you.” Afterwards he leaves her passive in his bed while he works through the rest of the plot, returning at the end of the movie to issue a second set: “do you trust me?” – “I trust you.”

That’s not even getting into details of the love scene where Deckard kicks the door shut so she can’t leave and throws her against the wall. Or that Sean Young’s tears in the scene were real because Harrison Ford actually threw her against the wall. Or the reports of repeated bullying she was subjected to by Ridley Scott.

I often remark on the great and tough female characters of sci fi, Ellen Ripley and Sarah Connor especially. Rachael, sadly, is not one of them.

“germination”

Just for a change, I was delayed completing a positive picture by going on an awesome overseas holiday!

The year kicked off with a bang, splitting my job to spend two days a week at the Botanic Gardens, and on the countdown to that holiday to Japan. Walking through the gates into lush green those first few mornings I knew I needed a botanical metaphor, that there was growth and optimism in flower.

The return of the budding avatar was a given, but it was the rebirth from the ashes that made it real. There’s been some fire on paper in the metaphors, and in life over the last year or so, bottoming out my stress levels and sleep deprivation.

Been too long since the cycle kicked over, let the new baktun begin!

darker grass

I was ten when ET came out. Unequivocally I thought Elliott should have gone with the aliens, had no hesitation about the idea of leaving family and world behind. Two years later, I was appalled Tom Hanks didn’t swim away with Darryl Hannah at the end of Splash. Into the unknown with a girl!

Maybe all of my generation’s teenagers felt alone and different, but I remember watching the couples easily making and breaking and remaking like interchangeable pieces of a simple jigsaw. And feeling like a piece from a different type of puzzle altogether.

I spent too much time with my own thoughts, and smoking weed probably didn’t help that, but eventually found my own way. There was a long planned but never started picture idea in my early twenties. A wild lone wolf me following a harsh and isolated path through the night, pausing to look in the window of a bright and warm house, pausing to look at a mirror self inside. A self connected to a family, peering out at the darker path.

Looking back at some of the things that darker self did, taking social risks I couldn’t imagine now. Loving going to parties where I didn’t know anyone so I could be free of worrying what people thought. Moving to another city not knowing a single person. That me was fearless, but often very lonely.

Two decades later I’m inside that warm house, a piece in my own puzzle connected with family and purpose, wondering where the hell that guy outside would have finished up. Watching movies with themes of alienation, and hoping they’ll have a happy ending.

“muse x”

There’s no irony in a picture about neglecting my drawing to work on some coding projects, being delayed by working on some coding projects…

But that is launched and this picture finished. I did debate a little about it being super self-referential, and even more about whether I could still use a nude woman to symbolise creativity, but if you can’t gratify yourself on an anonymous blog there’s no hope!

The colours are from the web project, and the central idea is a reversal of this one about giving up on code. The candle comes from a long time concept of altars to things I thought I wanted, and the one below in particular after coming back from my first big overseas jaunt, lighting candles to make choices about the future. From way back in 1996, maybe not safe for work!

I hated it as a drawing at different points, the anatomy of the figure itself, some terrible shading before it got slathered with blue ink, and in the end the thing I like most is the bottle… but it was good to try some new things out, mainly bright colour!

Drawing had better watch out, I love code.

Original rough with extra wheat!

“new juggler”

I was looking to draw something a bit lighter in tone, and had been wanting to do an update of a very old drawing for a while…

One of the role playing games I played back in the day was an Australian superheroic setting – Super Squadron! In a great campaign run by Mike (hi!) I played an acrobatic character “The Juggler” who had a frog sidekick. There was a luck rule that if you rolled triple 6 you would hit no matter what. During a fight we were losing, the frog attacked, rolled the triple and knocked out the bad guy!

I’m a bit unconvinced by this drawing. Been sinking my creative juices and spare time into a coding project, and getting a bit existential about drawing… “why am I doing it?” The deep / unhappy pictures answer their own question, but the fun ones feel a bit pointless. Doing some life drawing again and getting the anatomy less wonky might help too!

The raw drawing

The original, from back in 2001!

“untitled #43”

For what was supposed to be a quick sketch before bed to remember an idea, it turned out surprisingly well! An accidental cover page for the next journal, but couldn’t think of a title that wasn’t trite.

Musing on the feeling that stress / reflux / sleep deprivation was degrading my mental competence. A slightly less super-heroic pose would have been good…

“canopic dolls”

Was a fun family project! I bought both the girls a set, and taught them how to use a spray can in the backyard. They finished theirs pretty quickly, but I got nervous about “wrecking” mine and kept procrastinating. The long weekend just been I finally had a crack. The paint marker was a little crude, and it probably would have been less human-centric to have the urns in size order… guts, brains, heart then bladder… but it was satisfying to complete.

Do I need to explain it? Egyptian canopic jars × Russian matryoshka dolls + cytotoxicity.

volume 2

Passed cystoscopy no 9 today. After last year’s shenanigans I was a little nervous.

My file is now so fat it has run to a second volume…

unfinished business

Was putting a birthday present to use, a big folder to store old drawings more delicately than in the shed, and was looking at some of those drawings. Some good and bad, some pretty wacky, and a few unfinished.

This one was a cracker, all about the rawness and uncertainty of trying to find love on the Melbourne nightclub scene in the late 90s. It got derailed by the hand. I couldn’t get it right, drew and redrew it till the paper got rough. Even took some reference shots back in the day when you had to get them developed and printed. Eventually I found love and moved on.

It was in a brief phase of large works on paper, and I love the fluidity of the big pencil strokes, but most of them didn’t get finished. Elaborate and labour intensive, and eventually too separated by time from their inspiration.

I also forgot to give a woo hoo when I posted that last picture, it was post number 100. Woo hoo!