Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Digital Dhalgren

Here we are again in the world of Samuel R. Delany's DHALGREN. This is inspired by a scene in this nightmarish book where a giant orange sun unexpectedly rises over the destroyed city, terrifying the inhabitants, and then just as oddly disappears. Done in Photoshop.

The fantasy art world is full of destroyed and "post-apocalyptic" cities; Delany was not the first to imagine one but he was one of the more influential. I could do lots of DHALGREN-inspired illustrations if I were not stopped. I have a fondness for images of urban destruction and abandonment, and so do lots of other people; the Web is loaded with sites depicting urban decay. It's a cliche by now, so the challenge is to make it look interesting. 

As an artist I've tended to stay away from "dark" subject matter and concentrate on clear colors, upbeat themes, and heroic or pretty characters. Even my abstractions are designed to have a kind of space-age uplift to them. I'm trying to be nice and positive here, but sometimes I would like to explore the darker regions of the imaginal world. I wonder whether that would corrupt me and turn me into one of those nasty little people who make endless pictures of skulls and squids and zombies and things with enormous teeth. Is there any value to such exploration? Only the pixels will tell. 

1 comment:

Robby Baby Dark Poet of Amour said...

The large red sun reminded me of the red sun you see on the Japanese flag, and that sort of sun I see in oriental works. I think that went well with the urban decay theme. For me, in my head, as Japan is such a dense place population wise, I automatically thought of a post apocalyptic Japan, after all the people have left.