Saturday, November 2, 2013

Fighting Pain with Art

One of the crappy things about being broke is that you've got bills, debts, or groceries to buy (or just that nagging sense that "no, don't get lunch out this week because you should save") and you can't always back something that you care about.

Around the time my friends Mike & Jeannie Moody were getting ready for a major operation to tackle Jeannie's chronic pain condition, I found myself with less & less money to play with.  Mike approached me with an idea that sounded good, that could enable me to help them out, designing a shirt for them that would help raise money.

and now just a little more about the art, this being an 'art blog' after all.

At first I sketched out things that showed a transformation, sort of a figure who was in pain (a someone German expressionist-type figure) then transforming into a more Moebius-esque figure, serene, at peace in the clouds.

Jeannie wanted to focus more on the theme of being completely free from pain.  She lived with it a lot, and didn't want any bit of it showing on the shirt.  She wanted it to reflect a complete freedom from it, being unbound from the pain that kept her from working, playing and enjoying life. 
 The original B&W version

So I focused on the clouds.  And showed many people zipping, looping, diving butt-first into clouds.  WHO DOESN'T WANT TO FLY?!? :)  This fit because to me, the most free feeling I remember was a few lucid dreams I was lucky enough to have, which had me flying around like a kid from Never never land.  I tried to incorporate all that here.   

The color version, a close approximation to what your finished shirt would look like.
We only could go with one color, so we picked a shirt-color and ink color that we felt worked best. 

Another thing was spending a lot of time in my brain as I was drawing this, stories of girls and women getting harassed at Comic, sci-fi and gamer conventions.  Cosplayers being slapped on the ass by cowards who slapped and ran away.  Stories of women who had to use a gender-neutral username, because every time she'd play online using a name that revealed to the gaming public that she was a woman, she'd be bombarded with sexist and crude comments... But also, during this time, I saw some incredible response articles, videos, tweets and blogs criticizing the state of things and bringing awareness to it. 

So with this also running in and out of my ears, it also informed part of the piece.  I added notes of geekery on the T-shirts (and hat) of the figures on the page.  a little 'Friendly neighborhood", a little "Timey-Wimey" and a few more geek notes.  I felt it still was in keeping with Jeannie's wishes, and didn't dilute the core message, but also spoke a second message, in regards to geek culture, one that sounds very "Firefly"

We all fly the same sky, and there's enough sky for everyone.  Don't be a 狒狒的屁眼, let everyone play.

Anyway, that's the shirt.  GO BUY ONE!  Thanks for reading.

(also, every character on this shirt is based on someone I know.  Lynn, Peter, Maureen, Chris, Liz, John, and Mike & Jeannie right in the center)