‘Did you think to kill me? There’s no flesh and blood within this cloak to kill. There is only an IDEA. Ideas are BULLETPROOF. Farewell.’ – V, ‘V for Vendetta’ by Alan Moore and David Lloyd.
Being a huge fan of ‘1984’ by George Orwell, ‘V for Vendetta’ has been a graphic novel on my reading list for a long time. And now I’m kicking myself for not reading it sooner. Written in the 1980s , V for Vendetta portrays a 1990s Britain where fascism rules and a corrupt government controls the population through the media and Big Brother-style observation. Enter V, a character more ‘ideal’ than ‘man’, whose aim is to destroy society in the name of freedom and fate.
As with 1984, V for Vendetta highlights the complacency that society so easily slips into. Wrongs are forgotten, corruption expected and ignored all for the pursuit of the easier path. Unlike 1984 however, V for Vendetta has a glimmer of hope in the final pages of a future that can be built brighter and better with the participation of all. 1984 just takes that hope and crushes it, laughing mercilessly at the reader in the process.
And I’m afraid I have to side with the reformed Winston Smith on this one, V. We may have had a voice once, but I believe Fate has constricted our thoughts and throats too much. They were clever, V, and we’ve become complacent, content to be distracted by the fads and whimsy of the ‘in-crowd’, the celebrities that dance for our curiosity while the shackles slowly tighten. And those of us that can feel it can only observe. Yes, a ripple grows in size but it takes far less than a tsunami to mask it.
We love you, V.
Depressing thoughts over, this piece was done in fineliners in tribute to the fantastic book V for Vendetta.
Sitting in the garden at my parents’ house – I would sit in my own garden but my own gardening skill amounts to horticultural genocide, thus there are no plants to observe – it’s difficult to believe that the bee population is in such massive decline. Their garden is, literally, swarming with bees – I swear they must have at least 50% of the UK’s bee population in their backyard. It’s an anaphylactic nightmare.
Still, it’s suprisingly therapeutic watching them go about their daily pollen-collecting and distributing enterprise with such dedication, most likely completely unaware of how much of a benefit they are to us in the process. According to the ‘Bumblebee Conservation Trust‘s website, bees (alongside other pollinating insects, can’t give bees all the credit), contribute £400 million per annum to the UK economy alone, just by pollinating commercial crops. There’s nothing like a millions-strong monetary statistic to kick government conservation schemes into action.
Although many independent schemes have been established to help conserve bee populations, the battle to halt their decline is really just beginning. Even the smallest green space – even a plantpot will do – can help in providing bees with the floral resources they require. I myself am refusing to pull up the one stubbornly thriving plant in the garden – a now 6-foot tall weed, unfortunately – as the bees seem to love it. That’s my small contribution until I acquire some green fingers. But the most important thing to remember is that we can all help out and show our appreciation to the bees. 🙂
More observational plant-drawing with a little reptilian cutie added in later 🙂
One of my favourite plants and a hell of a lot of dots…
Imagination is an odd thing. It’s quite unnerving sometimes how drawings can take on a mind of their own. I find it impossible to draw an image that has already fully formed in my head – any attempt to replicate the mind’s-eye illustration in physical media will always end in disappointment, it’ll never be perfect to how I’ve seen it in my mind.
Therefore, I never think about illustrations in depth before starting them. Yes, in many cases planning in needed, but this occurs in the form of quick pen sketches on paper to remove the ideas from the mind before they can be overdeveloped. The development process and perfecting is then carried out on paper and built up with bits and pieces taken from the initial pen sketches.
In the case of illustrations I create at my own leisure however, I find it best to have little if no idea of what the end product will be. The illustration above for example began as a simple pencil study of orchids to practice drawing plants. But at some point the entity that is can only really be considered as ‘imaginative concentration’ kicked in. I’m sure all artists and craftspeople experience the same disconnected state of mind when they’re totally engrossed in their work – a quieting of the world, where time, emotion, reality cease to exist. There is only the piece in front of you, growing and evolving past anything you imagined at the start. It’s almost as if a second personality lays dormant inside, taking control of your physical form only in order to produce art. And at the end, you wake up from the trance and find that you have created something – an illustration, poem, sculpture – that didn’t exist until the very moment that you made your last brushstroke.
Of curse, not everyone appreciates the effort. Art will always be graded from person to person, some will love, some will hate. Looking back at a piece in the months or years that follow, you yourself may even come to judge your own pieces harshly. But that doesn’t take away the experience of creating it. For when you are in that creative state – where the mind and body share the same vision and become one – you know only enjoyment.
This trance state of creation truly is the only place that I find complete inner peace and it is extraordinary to experience, even if I’m unaware of it at the time.
Birthday present for my fishing-fanatic father. Perch design painted on a bamboo chopping board using regular wall paint tester pots 🙂