I did some illustrations for an event at Fictive Dream, an online fiction magazine specializing in short stories. It’s called “Revisits”. In it, the magazine revisits “the best of the back catalog”, as editor Laura Black says. Every two weeks through August, a different theme will be explored.
Look here for the first post, Love, which also offers an overview of the parameters of the art aspects of this project.
Today, July 10, the theme is Friendship. Here’s the image:
By this point, Fictive Dream editor Laura Black and I were hitting our stride with this project, I think. We had established parameters, tested them with earlier images, and we now had a visual vocabulary that was working for us. Laura gave me some notes expressing her vision for the Friendship artwork:
For the colour I have in mind a warm yellow. For the trees one option is as they appear in the Abuse Image 3 ie. two trees in a cooperative position. Alternatively, healthy trees intertwining and growing because there’s potential for the friendship to become stronger… I ought to say that for all the stories in this theme, the friendship is expressed in negative contexts eg. the friendship a man shows towards an addict who will never recover.
I had also envisioned a scene including yellow – to me the color is perfect, warm and enveloping without overpowering. And in the language of flowers, a bouquet of yellow roses is a traditional gift to show friendship. I’ve made a lot of art including yellow flowers:
So the color yellow and friendship seemed perfect together in this image.
I gave some thought to the fact that the selected stories portrayed friendship in an “anti” sense – should that make a difference to my work? I reminded myself that my role was to portray friendship as an overall concept and not to try to reflect the nuances of specific stories, especially since I did not read any of them before doing the artwork, by design.
When I portrayed the trees, I wanted to take Laura’s mention of the ambiguity of friendship into account, though. The trees are close and they intertwine, but they are not leaning into each other – they maintain an upright distance, even though it’s small. There is room for the friendship to evolve.
I did only this one artwork, and I was happy with the result. I showed it to Laura and she agree. Friendship was ready for the Revisits lineup.
The yellow is very welcoming. The trees are appropriately ambiguous in contrast. (K)
Thank you. You know, when it comes down to illustrating the abstract concepts or emotions, choosing the right symbol is important, so that it can be flexible and convey different meaning. Trees worked out well for this purpose.
Yes, we certainly had hit our stride at the is stage. As you say, yellow is the traditional colour for friendship and this vibrant and warm shade does the job excellently. I don’t think any other colour would have worked as well. I very much like your idea of having multiple trees with branches touching, and yet keeping an upright distance between the trees to indicate room for growth in the friendship. I love the range of your flower artwork, by the way. I especially like the boldness of (1) and (2) and the delicate touch of the fabric collage (3). Beautiful. Anyway, thank you again, Claudia. Can’t believe we’re almost the the end of Revisits.
Thank you. Each Revisits post reminds me of the process and the exploratory aspects of this project – more so than any others we have done. I love the color yellow and I hoped to use it to show the warmth of friendship. Also thank you regarding my flower portraits – I have made a lot of them over the years and with each medium there are challenges to get across the feeling of the blooms and leaves and so on. I learned with each one I made (as in the Revisits project). Also, I am really enjoying the stories in Revisits and how they relate to each other in terms of what they show about the theme, I like having a selection chosen for me thematically.