‘DEMENTIA BRAIN’ WORLD: TONAL CONCEPT ART
I switched projects this week, now working with Sudipta, Megan, Caitlin and Matthias.
This week’s task was to create tonal concept art for the world – between three to five tones. It was suggested we work between black and white but were able to use colour if we needed. It was decided that my role in illustrating “Occipitia” – due to it being the visual processor – that I should use colour. I will revisit tonality in black and white in the next task.
The notion that each lobe of your brain is its own world, and that this particular brain is affected by dementia – an element of conflict within the plot, producing parasites and a deteriorating time frame in which the world is set.
I chose the Occipital Lobe a.k.a ‘Occipitia’ to illustrate (in previous groups Occipitia had been left behind so I had full control over the design).
The Occipital Lobe – where visual information is processed and understood. Through the deterioration of the brain, the lobe is affected in terms of the processing, producing globular black voids forming on memorable elements of the scene. The voids, like a black-hole, engulfing any trace of what was once there – the brain is forgetting.
I had to create a slight backstory for the person the brain belongs to in order to form the mise-en-scene – where they lived, the people around them, their past…
I imagined a person who lived in the present in a modern city. In terms of composition, the nature of the mind is complex. For example, we all know in dreams, elements from your life are placed in weird situations – so the idea of your favorite film, your lover, your old pet from when you were a child, a snapshot of your old family home, all integrated in the place you live in bizarre ways seemed apt for a concept.
(above) I have never used perspective and horizon lines properly in my drawings – always guessed. Through life drawing and reference in studio class I decided it would be best to start. In parts the buildings went a bit askew towards the left but it adds an Inception-like design.. That I meant to happen.
(above) Tried a small back/white tonal in the scene of a time in the person’s life (old family home), creating the flashback effect. Also, because I was doing a purple tonal and felt I was not doing the task correctly, so I attempted five grey tones.
I have admired an illustrator known as ‘221’ on Instagram for a while (above). I immediately thought their simplicity of line, perspective, gorgeous use of colour and light to illustrate everyday scenes of modern life were perfect to stylize the narrative of Occipitia.
The illustrations themselves seem like a dreamland too. With penetrating yet vague dialogue, neon signs, uneasy composition and void of people in an extremely industrialized and human-centric location. I noticed the scenes appear to be angled at eye-level, consistently placing the viewer in yet another human position. Perhaps the viewer is the only person left in this ghost town. This was an element that would be useful in framing the concept art, from the single perspective of this single person’s occipital lobe.
NB. I am discussing a lot about humans in this section. Primarily because the location of this project is a person’s brain. To respect the idea of the other groups we all continued with the unchanged narrative. On reflection we could have decided the subject was not a human at all and designed it as such.
The globular voids were how I portrayed dementia visually. In thinking about how I could represent an invisible illness like neurological disorder, I recalled the appearance of acetate film when burnt (above). Upsetting to think about, but the idea of irreparable film melting away reminded me of how memory loss works.
- Stock Photos
‘Blade Runner 2049’ (2017, dir. Dennis Villeneuve) – Probably the most noticeable element of my concept art is the massive naked person reclining across the building. I found the comparison of scale in this scene from “Blade Runner 2049” (above) to describe the size of the protagonist’s love and disappointment that mirrors in the woman’s literal size. The massive person in my own image similarly reflects the huge importance they have in this person’s life. Nakedness is truth, vulnerability and I feel the strength in the person’s face in my piece acts as an anchor for the person in their life. Until the voids remove that strength from view and all that is left is vulnerability and a sad truth.
‘Pulp Fiction’ (1994, dir. Quentin Tarantino) – An example of a widely popular film that applies a personal touch to the scene as a favourite film. It did not necessarily matter what film I chose as long as it was identified as a film by the viewers. I asked a couple of people if they recognized the billboard poster I drew for the second concept piece and they immediately knew it was an adaptation of Mia Wallace from ‘Pulp Fiction’ (above). I had recently re-watched the film and noted a piece of dialogue that was relevant to the eyes/visual theme of the world, “You wanna play, blind man?” that I drew as a neon sign. Reference to both a deteriorating state of sight and to the small, subconscious things your mind remembers – like a terrible quote from a film.
The Great Gatsby – T.J Eckleburg’s eyes (above) inspired my own billboard in the first concept art piece. It was a dramatic symbol that stayed with me through reading the book and watching Baz Luhrman’s adaption and seemed relevant to include eyes in the visual processing lobe.
We worked individually on each part of the lobe, making our work completely different. We did not meet up at any point and communication ceased after the first couple of days. This week I completely backtracked on the progress I was making in pushing past an earth-based world, not really pleased with my development. However, I did enjoy having an excuse to paint in one of my favorite illustrator’s style.