This being a home project, I knew I really had to budget my time, however I truly did not know where to begin. I planned ideas for days strait, my sketchbook is filled with random sketches and snippets and discarded ideas, and yet after a week, I still couldn't think of anything. However, I've always been interested in works of art that consist of multiple pieces, and I kind of wanted to challenge myself to one.
The idea for this came to me while I was in the car on the way home from Build-A-Bear... I'd just helped a bunch of 4th graders make bears for people in the hospital, and was completely exhausted from helping kids squish their bears into multiple pairs of shoes and sticking bear ears through tiny little hats. I don't know why exactly, but I was driving home, listening to bad pop music, when all of a sudden it came to me: The Divine Comedy!
I read Inferno last year in English, and as dark as it was, it is one of the more notable of my English readings of the past. Perhaps it was because I loved my sophomore English teacher more than words can describe, or it had something to do with my fascination of Italian culture, or maybe it was simply because the writing was so beautiful, so intricate, that I was just fascinated by it. One thing stuck with me more than most though, Ms. Yagel is the most beautiful reader I've ever heard (I know it sounds odd, but I just love hearing her read things, she makes them sound so beautiful) and I notably remember her reading us the last line of Inferno in her smooth, calming voice, "By the love impelled, that moves the sun in heaven and all the stars."
One beautiful thing about the Divine comedy is that the last word of each poem is 'stars'. Although this makes sense for heaven I suppose, hearing something so beautiful in a book about hell took me by surprise, and the connections between all 3 novels just stuck with me. Sitting in my car, exhausted and listening to Justin Timberlake, I suddenly remembered this, and knew this was the basis for my place project.
This project was ambitious I suppose, 3 paintings alongside all my other homework? Junior year is hard enough, and add three 12"36" paintings into the mix and you have a disaster. However, the snowpocalypse came at the right time, and I had an entire week off to work on these! Even so, I spent the Sunday night before our first day back frantically trying to finish the black borders while watching the Oscars. However, when I finally looked at them all put together, I felt an overwhelming sense of pride. Although these paintings may not be everyone's cup of tea, they were one of the most ambitious things I'd ever tried, and I was so proud of what I'd accomplished.
The three paintings represent the three different places in the Divine Comedy, Hell, Purgatory, and Heaven. The figure in Hell is slim and ill-fed, represented by the protruding spine and inability to even look out at the viewer. In contrast, the figure from Purgatory is facing the viewer, but can't see them as they are blindfolded and alone in the grey fog they are surrounded by. Finally, the figure from Heaven is dancing, their face not even seen by the viewer but their actions still showing incredible joy. The background is light and colorful, and the figure seems entirely comfortable with who they are.
This might be a little bit of a unique take on "place", but I'm incredibly proud of the work I put into these. I hope you like them too!