November 6, 2010
Justin Wisniewski Week: "Gathering Feathers..."
"Gathering Feathers in a Forest Where Need Means Deserves"
Objectivists will understand the malevolent tone of the "forest where need means deserves".
This was one of the first drawings I made in graduate school and like the After Twenty-Seven Months... piece I chose someone from my class to pose for me. Here again I had a general idea in my mind that I developed by making studies and through the process of taking photos I worked out a more specific pose. When models pose for me it can be pretty arduous for them because I tend to want poses that, despite looking natural in a photograph or drawing, can be very uncomfortable to hold. I am very particular about every detail of the position of the body, clothing, hair, etc. I think I put this poor girl through the ringer but she said she didn't mind and bore it well.
This drawing has many parallels to the aforementioned piece, in part because they were made around the same time. For instance, this woman is wearing the same coat as the man in the other drawing and I used all the same lighting equipment in both images.
I wanted this character to be in a situation that was quiet but dangerous. However, like most of the characters I create she is not helpless. Not only did I try to draw her as if she has her wits about her, but she also has a very small knife in her left hand. I used my leatherman tool as her knife which was one of the only tools I took with me to Scotland.
I originally wanted the character to be picking mushrooms in a forest after I read a wonderful Grimm Fairy tale where a child goes off into the dark forest to pick mushrooms. I wanted the mushrooms to have a subtle scintillating pattern or "optical effect," but when I made the sketches I realized that if the effect worked it would look like she was picking psychedelic mushrooms which is not at all the kind of topic I am interested in making work about. I then changed my mind to collecting mice, which in retrospect I think would be interesting, but I'm glad I didn't use it here. After considering many other objects (coins, paper clips, etc.) I decided upon feathers because feathers are something I like and because of the shape and value-patterns on them I thought I could use the "optical" effect more fittingly. When I was young finding feathers was always a special discovery and I thought perhaps it would emphasize their specialness to show someone entering a dangerous place simply to collect feathers. Unfortunately, at the time I didn't know enough about creating those effects and the effect did not work anyway! That being said, I am still very happy with the drawing and considering the effect didn't work I'm glad I chose feathers which look more naturalistic than the other objects I had in mind.
When I exhibited this drawing alongside the previously mentioned drawing for my degree show exhibition, I sold them both to the same buyer in under a half hour.