– My proposed thesis will be illustrating a six piece visual essay based on three subcategories [overreaching category], chosen by me, that explore how or why we are moved by fiction in contemporary television. Through my unique, emotive, and intuitive style–I intend to take the influence of some of today’s most popular shows to convey three philosophical responses. My personal objective is to not only explore these philosophies visually, but to suggest how being exposed to quality modern television can expand our empathy. They give meaning and context to what would otherwise be a collection of easily forgettable facts. The power of narrative/fiction is not simply it’s ability to engage people, but it’s effectiveness in reshaping deeply entrenched views.
The three subcategories:
First Solution: Belief; our emotional responses are typically founded on belief. The “cognitive theory of emotion” espoused by most cognitive theorists [—- —–] takes beliefs and judgments to be central to the emotions. Certain emotions may be based on beliefs about what is objective and subjective, which directly relates to how effective a piece of fiction is. This can observed, for example, in an anxious reaction to a piece of “scary” fiction.
Second Solution: Perspective; involves seeing things from another’s point of view. Empathy is what allows us to stretch our sensibility with one another so that we can cohere in larger social units. “To empathize is to civilize, to civilize is to empathize”. The question that originally sparked this project was; how or why are we moved by televisual fiction? Because I wanted to imagine the possibility that, we as human beings could actually extend our empathy to the entire human race, as an extended family. Maybe even in some televisual fiction–to our fellow creatures–as part of our “evolutionary” family.
Third Solution: The solipsist view; in the mind of the observer, characters and “real people” are equally fictional. Solipsism is the extreme form of skepticism, which denies the possibility of any knowledge other than one’s own existence. The self is the only thing that can be known; the view that the self is the only reality. This category is intentionally placed last, as it stands more as an exception to the rule.
My visual essay will be illustrated first traditionally through an interplay of highly detailed marks, dark —, and bold —. Later to be painted digitally and printed at a scale of 28″ x 39″. THE SCOPE:
It is important to understand that while I am incorporating the influence of well-known t.v. shows–I am not illustrating “fan art”, as I intend to only capture the essence, narrative, and content of said shows [The Wire]. I am visually articulating specific themes through three different points of view.
– I build my concepts from prompts, and most of my pieces start out with a particular feeling / emotion. My love for the strange and unusual has been a constant throughout childhood, and these lifelong fascinations lent themselves to my bizarre art later in life. Working intuitively, I incorporate a range of mediums that include soap, interference paint, canvas, paper, graphite–but ultimately ink and digital painting. I’m inspired by the dark, things I see that ignite dreamy feelings of nostalgia, and haunting moments you can never forget. A lot of times I am inspired by mystery and things that scare me. I’m inspired by the innovative and primitive nature of those who undergo great tragedy.
– Unique comic books, counterculture, and the macabre all served as a backdrop for my earlier visual inspiration.
Jhonen Vasquez’s work is where everything started for me. I was ten years old reading his comics, and shortly thereafter becoming obsessed with his work. This is a pivotal time in my life–it’s when and where I decided to pursue a career in illustration. This is really where I started to build on my own sense of aesthetics–started wearing black. When I was twelve, I started contacting those who worked on the show [IZ], and began looking into submitting work to SLG.
I’ve chosen the The Wire, an HBO series that ran from 2002-2008 as a primary influence because I believe that it has something to teach about poverty, class, bureaucracy, and the social ramifications of economic change. Although The Wire is fiction, not a documentary, its depiction of [the] systemic urban inequality that constrains the lives of the urban poor is more compelling [than] that of any published study.
The unique power of the show comes from the way it takes fiction’s ability to create fully realized inner lives for its characters and combines that with qualities rare in a piece of entertainment: an acuity about the structural conditions that constrain human choices (whether it’s bureaucratic inertia, institutional racism, or economic decay) and an unparalleled scrupulousness about accurately portraying them. Issues like poverty and urban deindustrialization are remote from their daily lives, and simply reading about them does little to bridge that gap. The Wire puts faces and stories to those forces.
As David Simon, the co-creator for the show said,
“You want to talk about it being fiction, but it shows incredible imagination and understanding about the way the world works, and for me that’s enough.”