22 April 2011

Dreaming of space

Yura: Dreaming of Space

Once upon a time, I regularly created artwork. I freelanced, had a number of things published, and won a couple of competitions -- nothing major, but certainly enough to feel a reasonable sense of accomplishment. Then Plan B gradually pushed out Plan A, and now I struggle to find time to simply practice.

I struggle, but I won't give up.

Though quite rare, my "skill recovery" normally occurs when I convince myself to use weekends, also known as dissertation-writing time, for something equally solitary, but arguably more enjoyable. Two weeks ago, I decided that, fueled by my late Soviet nostalgia, the 50th anniversary of Yuri Gagarin's space flight on April 12th was a good enough reason to illustrate.

I drew young Yura in a pioneer uniform, much like the one I wore myself as a child, clutching onto a toy airplane; behind him -- a destroyed city. After all, illustration should be straightforward, and Gagarin grew up during the Second World War, developing a keen interest in aviation early on.

Yet, despite my attempt to be literal, the image turned out somewhat ambivalent and maybe even a bit dystopian. While a non-Russian would likely make some sort of an expected and rather boring comment about the nature of the Soviet regime, I simply blame the chosen media -- black conté crayons, charcoal, pencil, and a touch of scarlet acrylic paint.

Or maybe it's Gagarin's token smile -- more enigmatic than that of Mona Lisa.

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