Last year I started a new series of drawings; it is monumental in a way.
To be honest, I was thinking about this series for a year or even longer. In my mind, I was constantly gathering pieces of ideas, associations, stories, personal experience, and observations. This process was painful in a way; I knew I had to start the work—but, at the same time, it never felt quite ready.
Also, I was afraid to tell this story. Where will it bring me? Will it be truly useful for anybody in this world? Is it worth investing hundreds of hours and an enormous amount of effort to complete this project?
This back and forth process continued until one day in October. Then I just took some sheets of ordinary printer paper and started sketching the miniatures of the first three artworks. I drafted everything I had to say, presenting the story as a collection of symbols. Finally, it felt ready enough.
This series is like a living creature. It changes, gets new features and details. I still don’t know how many artworks it will contain. The working title of the series is “The Wanderings”, and it will be divided into “Dark” and “Light” parts, describing our life from different angles.
The first artwork of this series is called “I Don’t Want to See the Truth” and is an autobiographical piece. However, I’m sure that many people will recognize themselves in this story.
The Story Behind This Artwork
It is about a person who lives in a fabricated world. This reality is made up by their mind and restrained by assumed limitations. They think that the world is this and that, but is it really so?
Sometimes just a deep-rooted idea that objective reality is a constant struggle (or a battlefield) transforms the whole life into a mess. It actually becomes a struggle full of pain and misery. A person with such an attitude sees flaws and drawbacks everywhere. Other people seem treacherous—and full of unacceptable flaws, too.
Many of us allow our beliefs to dictate how we should think or talk, what actions are appropriate and what is achievable. Have you ever felt that you can do great things, be true to yourself, believe in your own abilities with all your heart, set no limits… but something prevents you from being that kind of a person?
However, many people even don’t realize all those things. They live a predetermined life that somebody has chosen for them. They may believe that they are stupid or not talented enough; their upbringing, education, overall circumstances seem too poor and not suitable for transforming any dream into life. They escape from reality, using all kinds of excuses.
Another popular illusion is believing that everything will fall into place by itself. Just wait for a little longer, no need to do anything. In a month, or in a year, or somewhere in the future… then we’ll be happy.
Or, how do you find the popular belief that achieving the goal, the dream life, is one step away? It seems that you already can see it, smell it, touch it. All that is needed is this one—little or big—piece of effort. But it doesn’t work this way.
It’s a sad thing—running through the whole life, waiting for joy and happiness, and never feeling quite happy.
What is even sadder, it’s not other people who were making us miserable all along. It’s not the world’s fault either. It’s the flaw of mindset, attitude, categoricalness, lack of responsibility. A scary thing to realize… It’s much safer to stay blindfolded. But some people are brave enough to see the truth.
We can choose to live happily, loving everything that we have (and not beating ourselves up about all the things that are out of reach). We can admire the experience of life. Nothing will last forever, and this experience won’t be repeated exactly as it is now.
And, if we’re persistent enough with this mindset, we’ll notice that life is perfect just the way it is. All the things that we called drawbacks or obstacles are stepping stones to help us grow and eventually become greater than anything disturbing.
This artwork includes so many symbols.
A blindfolded girl with a deer skull on the head (it is here to provide additional defense from seeing reality and, at the same time, to scare everyone who may want to communicate).
By the way, the blindfold isn’t completely impenetrable. There are gaps on each side and below it. No blindfold can be so perfect that reality can’t leak into our mind through the eyes, through this disturbing feeling that our expectations and the actual state of things aren’t the same… Deep inside our hearts, we always feel that our illusions are false.
There are lynx and predatory birds—the symbols of aggression that is necessary to stay alive in this hostile world. They are always on guard, because a hunter may become prey.
The kite’s legs are slightly shorter than normal, and this is done on purpose. They symbolize the unsteady position of the bird. It is strained, feeling the lack of support and confidence.
Probably you’ve already noticed the spiderweb in the upper part of the drawing. It is the symbol of various traps that a person with a defective attitude sees everywhere. The carnivorous plants (in the bottom of the image) have a similar meaning.
A snake is a symbol of misunderstanding. Some people are afraid of snakes, even of those non-poisonous. But snakes are a part of this world. They exist for a reason, and, in my opinion, this reason is enough to respect them. If we look deeper, we’ll see how beautiful these creatures are.
I wanted to add a mysterious, almost witchery feel to the artwork. Small tufts of herbs hanging from the horns, help to convey this atmosphere. What kind of potion can be brewed, using those herbs? Depends on the purpose.
Mushrooms and fern are symbols of this enchanted forest. There are so many elements that are inherent to woods, just take a look. 🙂
I’ve created areas of dense, heavy ink covering. They increase the contrast, adding to the overall “dark” feel of the artwork.
Even though we see wild animals, birds, and a big skull right in the center of the image, the artwork doesn’t seem spooky. Maybe that’s because I know – all depends on our attitude. If we approach life with respect, care and love, the lynx will transform into a big yet tender cat, the snake will slip away without attacking, and everything else that we see here will do us no harm.
If the girl takes off the blindfold and armor, chances are that she’ll be amazed. Just because there is no need to defend herself, and the world is full of beauty and wonders.
I hope that my artwork resonates with you. I’ll be happy if you’ve got some food for thought 🙂
Thank you for taking the time to read this post. I’m going to make a qualitative scan of this drawing and write an extended version of this post, including some process photos and close up fragments.
May your life be happy today!