My subject for this week is Alien. I’m quite fond of aliens. Being autistic, I end up feeling like an alien from time to time just from being so different. I think I feel this quite a lot in the run up to Christmas. Everyone else seems to be enjoying it and looking forward to it but I dread the whole thing.
I feel loads of anxiety about finding presents which my family and friends will like and about giving presents of the right kind to the right people. It always seems like an impossible task and unless someone tells me something they want I am really at a loss as to how to go about it. Then there are all the parties and events going on at work and at home. I really really dislike parties so I don’t go to any except the class party at school (which is part of my work and is fairly well organised and controlled). Then there’s the Pantomime. Every year our whole school goes to the pantomime. It’s really difficult – too loud, with audience participation. I’d rather poke my eyes out with a sharp stick. Luckily this year, thanks to an excellent head teacher, I’ve been able to be the member of staff who stays on the school site for children who, for one reason or another, are not able to, or dont’ want to go. That is brilliant!
I think I would like Christmas more if people didn’t give presents and made less fuss about the whole thing. Once we hit November all the shops start filling up with Christmas stuff – trying to sell us all sorts of rubbish to give to someone else. Then there’s all the decorations making everything look even more busy, not to mention the demented Christmas music – it literally does my head in.
By the time this post goes out (I’m writing it in October half term) we will have finished our class Christmas Performance at work. Of it all, I don’t mind this part of the holiday season; the children learn so much from working together, and having a goal, and being brave in front of an audience. They grow up immensely through this one activity. It’s beautiful to watch that happen and help it along.
As well as seeing the alienness inside my psyche I have also been fascinated by Giger’s Alien designs for years. I think the fascination comes from them being both beautiful and somehow repellant at the same time. So this week I decided to draw my own tribute to Giger.
It began as a landscape head portrait but the drawing seemed to want to extend itself into a full body. Luckily I was using the first page of a two page spread so I could extend the picture if I didn’t mind the crease showing through the image. I began in pencil and then inked it with a very narrow pen (0.2). Then I added some stronger 0.8 lines to pick out the large forms within the body. This came out as a reasonable outline drawing…
Then I began filling in the details and shading. Rather than trying to ink a pencil drawing I tried to use my pens to draw directly, just as I would with a pencil. I also added the alien’s right hand because having it hidden seemed odd. Because the image is twice as big as the others I’ve done in my sketchbook, it took quite a while to do this but I was pleased with how it turned out…
This weekend I was supposed to visit the National Gallery again. I was really looking forward to it. However I started having problems with my sinuses again – sore thoat, bad head and face ache, swollen glands and a mildly high temperature. So I wasn’t well enough to go. I ended up going to bed really extra early last night and reading some more of William Gibson’s ‘Idoru’ before wiping out completely and sleeping for more than 12 hours straight.
The bit of ‘Idoru’ I was reading was describing Tokyo in the future after a terrible earthquake had pretty much levelled the place. In this story it had been rebuilt really quickly using nanotech – tiny microscopic machines which are programmed to build things. The buildings which were made like this had a strange alien, organic look. One of the characters in the book describes them as ‘…like Giger’s paintings of New York.’ Well I wanted to understand this reference so I looked it up and found this artist who designed the aliens in the classic sci-fi film ‘Alien’.
Some of the paintings are quite disturbing to look at but some are really fascinating too. For me it’s similar to watching a TV show like ‘Criminal Minds’ where you get to hear how some really bad people think and behave and you get this feeling like you want to know but you don’t want to know at the same time. Some of the Giger art I really don’t like – especially the stuff with sort of sexual overtones. I’m really uncomfortable with that. But some of it looks like this weird alien technology and I really like that. I’m thinking of doing some sketches using Giger’s style as a ‘jumping-off point’. I might even try to draw my idea of Gibson’s San Francisco Bridge that way, or perhaps my idea of his distopian future Tokyo.
Here’s some of Giger’s work:
What I’m thinking is that it might be possible to develop a new style from this kind of focus by using less black and more colour and light to make it softer and less scary- looking. His pictures are amazing, if quite weird. It’s not quite the National Gallery experience I was hoping for today, but is still really interesting.
I was looking around the internet and I came acorss this brilliant picture of Gibson’s SanFrancisco Bridge by an artist on DeviantArt. The artist’s name is DahliaInosensu. (<- please click to go to her DeviantArt pages)