Monday, December 2, 2013

Visual Stimulation -- Minimal and Visionary

I've come across some striking visuals in the past month or so that deserve some sharing. Whether offering new visions of firmly established children's literature or an entry point into the perspective of children themselves, these images can be delightful, unsettling, and provocative.

Firstly, The Unjournal of Children's Literature currently features the work of Christian Jackson, whose minimalist approach to children's stories remind the viewer of the emotion of certain elements in each story, while occasionally twisting our understanding of it as well, with provocative texture and muted but engaging colors. He has recently added a new collection of children's story-inspired works, including Beauty and the Beast, the Frog Prince, and Chicken Little. My favorite of this collection is Peter Pan, though.
The muddy green backdrop evokes the natural wildness of Neverland along with the greenness of youth. Golden granules of sand depict iconic fairy dust as well as the essence of time--a hidden, undisclosed source that offers ceaseless life with no boundaries. The dust pops from the background in a vivid combination that illustrates eternal youth. Pretty cool, in my opinion.

Continuing this exploration of minimalist renderings of stories, I came across a collection of animated, minimal-style gifs for each of the seven Harry Potter books. Graphic Artist Jeca Martinez takes on the same challenge as Jackson by transforming well-known children's stories into condensed images (her blog demonstrates a fascination with Disney film versions of many fairy tales too). Her Harry Potter renderings evoke a sense of the magic in the books themselves, but I wonder what the effect would be without the animation. I find it noteworthy that the classic versions of fairy tales lend themselves to a distanced kind of minimalism by Jackson (the color and textures feel much older in time, just like the stories themselves) whereas these contemporary stories are ensconced in an art more evocative of technology, from the animation, bright bold color, and sharp lines.

Finally, a mother collaborates with her daughter to create a synergized view of adults in a child's world. Artist Mica Angela Hendricks draws expressive faces and lets her 4-year-old daughter add life and limb to the heads. Mica adds color once her daughter is done, occasionally listening to her daughter's recommendations, to create wondrous visions that make one wonder exactly what it is children think, imagine, and feel.

You can read the artist's blog to discover the lessons learned from collaborating with her child. Ultimately, who is the real visionary here?

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