Sunday, November 10, 2013

In 2009, I took a beginner's Photoshop course online. It was much tougher than I'd expected, and being the perfectionist that I am, it took me hours to do one project. So, as you can imagine, it took me DAYS to finish my final project. I tweaked and tweaked with my limited skills until I could tweak no more. Below was the result. Who knows? Maybe I can add "aspiring artist" to my list of un-tested and un-verified talents?  :)

The Concept:  A representation of the "Goblin Market" by Christina Rossetti

The basic premise of the "Goblin Market" is that goblin merchant men tempt virtuous young maidens with luscious, ripe, and abundant fruit every morning and every evening. However, unbeknowest to the maidens, once they partake of the fruit, they can no longer hear the goblins' cries...and are doomed to pine and waste away from want.

The poem revolves around two sisters - Laura and Lizzie - who are representative of the duality of innocence and desire, strength and weakness, the virtuous lady and the fallen woman, the woman who abides by society's rules and the woman who breaks away from patriarchal suppression, etc.

The "Goblin Market" was quite scandalous for its time (19th Century), as many viewed the poem to be a thinly veiled analogy to sex:  "Then [she] suck'd their fruit globes fair or red: / Sweeter than honey from the rock, / [...] She suck'd and suck'd and suck'd the more / Fruits which that unknown orchard bore; / She suck'd until her lips were sore..."

The poem was also viewed as an analogous discussion of losing one's virginity.  

There are also analogies to the animalistic nature of those who partake of the fruit, the most glaring of which is Laura being likened to a swan (referencing Leda and the Swan), as well as the goblin men possessing the features or qualities of wild beasts.

(I selected Da Vinci's depiction of Leda and the Swan - it's classic and the most G-rated.  If you want the more risque illustrations, go here.  Don't say I didn't warn you.)

My Spin:  The subversive nature of the goblins, symbolized by the dichotomy between surface (land) and sub-surface (water).

Since I'm no professional artist, I couldn't really draw what I wanted.  I was forced to use images I found online, so please take a moment to respect the artists from whom I borrowed many, many beautiful works of art. 

This was my base image.  It's called the Time by Imperioli.  I loved the surreal creativity and serenity of this artwork.  Feeding off of this artist's creative energy, I decided to go with a three-paneled piece.

The left panel consists of the first four lines of the "Goblin Market".  The lines are haphazardly placed to represent the chaotic, down spiraling path of Laura's innocence.  The font is Lansdowne.

The right panel consists of the title of the poem.  I chose Daemonesque because its structure is rigid and fairly straightforward, but it's wrapped up in and decorated with (choked by?) luscious vines and flowers.  This integration of the straight and narrow with the chaotic is very Rossetti Goblinesque.

I added Christina Rossetti's initials in red to represent life force, i.e. the life force of any written work is the author, and the life force of the body is blood.  I also chose red to represent the temptation of the goblins' fruits, which promises life beyond the grayscale.  Further, I chose red to represent the violence of Laura and Lizzie's experience as well as the blood bond between the sisters, which ultimately saves Laura's life.  For the font, I used FantasticPete.

The middle panel consists of my work.  I borrowed images from many, many wonderful artists, including James C. Christensen.  I've incorporated clinging moss, gnome and elf prisoners, baskets of luscious fruit strewn about haphazardly (both inviting and dangerous), goblins hiding in the shadows (waiting for their victim), the temptation of the apple held by the lead goblin (yes, the lead goblin is from the movie, The Dark Crystal - those puppets always freaked me out), etc.

Against the backdrop of the ocean, I embedded an image of Lizzie being attacked by the goblins - it's a very faint but palpable foreshadowing of what's to come.  I also have the "real" Lizzie sitting in the boat, blissfully unaware that Laura is venturing into the underbelly of society to take part in very dark, forbidden deeds.

This post is already way too freaking long, so assuming you even made it this far, I won't go into the different themes of my work or Rossetti's poem.  I'll just leave you with the final product.

Hope you enjoy!