Life sometimes feels like a runaway train. This year started with a whirlwind of worry and chaos. People dearest to me faced illness and accidents, leaving me with no choice but to put my art on the back burner for a while.
The early months are a hazy memory, events blurring together. Then a brief respite emerged—a precious window of a few weeks where those around me found themselves fleetingly on the mend. Uncertain of how long this reprieve would last, I decided to seize the moment.
My project began with a collection of digital self-portraits. I captured candid selfies, unflattering yet profoundly expressive, and used them as the foundation for my drawings. Below is a snapshot of the process at various stages.
Meanwhile a 'call for artists' dropped into my inbox. The theme jolted me into fantastical imaginings of what our lives might be like in the future. If we are dumb enough to destroy the world as we know it, what would or could come next?
In my mind's eye, towering vegetation reared up, insatiable and
merciless, reclaiming the remnants of human existence. I sowed a
concept in the depths of my psyche, birthing a vision of novel life
forms, an uncanny and sometimes grotesque fusion of humanity and flora. What started as mere
digital musings blossomed into a passion.
My first drawings morphed into a one-eyed "Frustrated Flower".
Another sketch of myself with a toothy smile
became "Wild Flowers".
While my face as a point of departure was all very fine and good, I felt greater variety of subjects might add spice to my verdant creations. I asked friends and family if they were willing to pose for me. Only the most intrepid agreed to be part of this wonky adventure. They were aware that the digital drawings would undergo warping, stretching, mutilation, and endure a multitude of other horrific transformations, all in the name of art.
Now that's what I call love (and plenty of self-confidence on their part).
The project was evolving slowly when another 'call for artists' landed in my inbox from my favourite artist-run centre Gueulart. They were soliciting submissions for a solo show. At first, doubts crept in—could I possibly conjure enough new pieces in just a handful of months? Enthusiasm prevailed and I managed to create more than thirty-two digital prints as well as a companion, pseudo-scientific compendium by mid-September. The unveiling took place on the 29th.
Oddly, a surprising number of people in my entourage now want to morph into hybrids and gnomes (more on that in a future post), with the purpose (I assume), of helping me craft an even grander and more eccentric garden. Who knew they would enjoy submitting to these types of transmutations?
I reminded everyone to keep the context in mind, that I am creating a world post climate crisis that will hopefully never materialize.