August 26, 2013

Patience: Good Things Come to Those Who Wait

Its as though I'm sitting on a seashore, my knees pulled up to my chest, my arms hugging my legs, my eyes fixated on the foamy crescendo of crests upon ocean waves. Its cool, almost chilly. The heavens are spread above me like an open book, an upside down and topsy turvy portrait of gray calamity and ebony passion. There's sand in the rolled up cuffs of my too long faded denim jeans, but I'm either not bothered or don't notice this small travesty. Crisp, biting flecks of water sear my cheeks, but I continue to stare. I continue to wait. I watch the waves grow, like blazing cobalt fires, as they stretch towards the skies, only to be toppled into an ocean of cold soot and wet embers.

Its as though I've spent my whole life waiting. And as I long for the water's caress, I realize that the waves will never reach me. I must go to them.

All good thing's come with time. Or perhaps with the tide, rather. But I didn't know it was coming. I overlooked the simple reality of life.

And so I stood, the wind crying through my hair, its tears the rain caught upon my cheeks. And then I ran. My arms outstretched, I ran to the water's edge. For a moment, just a moment, I hesitated.

It was a moment too long.

Biting and snarling, the waves clutched at me and all at once I was not a confident, ambitious woman dreaming dreams beyond her stature and place in the society, but was once again a little girl, realizing for the first time that the world was very, very scary place, much larger than I.

A place in which I was not welcome.

And I was thrilled, terrified, and enthralled by the proud anger of the ocean as it embraced me in its violent malice. It was beyond my control. I was prisoner to the demands placed before me, my small life a delicate ornament between its crushing palms.

I took the liberty of describing to you how I'm feeling at the moment. All I can really do is live my life one day at a time, and watch for the prophesied tide. What I really want, however, is to see who I will be, to become that person now, to reach up and touch the future. I can practically feel it. Taste it. I'm so close...And yet, if I don't wait and let my destiny unfold at its own sweet, sincere pace, I will most certainly be swept away in my impatience by the disastrous waves of fate. I'd be left with nothing. Nothing at all.
***
As the summer's been winding down, I find myself looking forward to fall, and am not quite sure what it is I'm actually looking for or at. I've decided to take a year off from my studies to just exist, and become at ease with who I am. I need this time to start afresh, and get back on track with my life. I've decided that I do need a professional level art education, but I'm just not going to get that at my community college. I want to be surrounded by inspiration and culture, variety and diversity. Its a story I don't feel like sharing today, but essentially, the school just wasn't a good fit. If I hadn't had scholarship money that would've gone to waste, I wouldn't have bothered with attempting to attend school after such a big let down anyways.

Last summer I received my acceptance letter to a private art university in Washington, and I thought the hard part was over. I was wrong. Even close to $20,000 in scholarship money didn't bring me any closer to my dream school. I might as well have received none at all. 4 years of stress, putting my eduation first, good attendance and great grades in high school added up to nothing. I spent the past year instead struggling with who I am and what direction I'm moving towards. I fumbled through some college courses, but could barely keep up with what was right in front of me. I'm only just now beginning to feel like the schooling lapse is behind me, and that I can look ahead without shame to a better place where I make my own opportunities.

For a while there, I felt quite truthfully like tomorrow was consistently set in stone: an inevitable dread that I anxiously awaited with a very tangible fear and an ever-present nauseating knot of regret. Now I clearly see that tomorrow will be what I make of it. I'm still afraid. But I'll face it courageously, head on, and embrace it when it comes.

Anyways, Ghostbusters. What else can I say? This was a collage I made as a birthday present for my dad, and was in fact the first collage of this kind I had ever made. I had experimented with collage type elements before, as I find it to be an extremely versatile and forgiving medium. Considering the final product, the process is actually quite simple and dare I say it, "easy". It is also very time-consuming, I'll have you know.  Using magazine scraps adds a very real texture to the work, bringing it a special sort of life different from making a collage out of carefully prepared painted strips of paper.

We're all geeks in my family, my dad quite possibly serving as the core of our nerdy fan family. His obsession? 80's movies, toys, and graded comic books. I help him run an online ebay store where we sell Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Ghostbusters action figures and merchandise. He's usually saves the best for his own personal collection of course, and has shelves upon shelves of action figures and toys conveniently located in the "man cave". Ghostbusters is one of his all time favorite 80's era movies, right up there with the Back to the Future trilogy and Weird Science. I really wanted to do something special for him, and this project seemed like a perfect fit.

On another note, I've been considering the possibility of starting a YouTube channel, through which I'll post DIY craft and art tutorials, letsplays, vlog entries, video game, comic book or art reviews and whatever else may strike my fancy. Or whatever it is my community of supporters want to see. Its possible I may do a tutorial or perhaps "speed paint" of how I make one of these collages so you can see the behind the scenes work that goes into making a piece like this. As of the moment, my plan is to wait on the YouTube channel until I have acquired a significant number of followers, specifically, 10,000 (some arbitrary number I threw out that seemed like a decent following). So unless there is some sudden unexpected push for me to start uploading videos before I reach that milestone, its something that we'll all have to wait for.

Which reminds me, I have more than 1,500 followers on Twitter! It feels like just yesterday I was applauding 100. As long as I have ideas, things to say and art to create, I shall continue sharing my artistic vision with the world. And as long you're there to support me, I have no reason to give up. I can't wait to see what happens next.

Sincerely, and wishing you the best of luck, Krystal Dawn



Facebook: Krystal Dawn
Twitter: KrystalDawnArt
DeviantART: kekei94

August 20, 2013

Can't Sleep: Piecing Together Majora's Mask

If only I could live each day like this. I'd spend any and all my energies in performing the tasks placed before me with a deep faith rooted in the belief that an efficient performance of the work ahead will pave an easier road for me to stumble upon in days nearby. Married to this moral, I could live a full life, and die content with myself and what I had become, and what I left behind.

Exhausted, but content. Who can possibly ask for more?

Well, I might as well.

Every morning I wake up bound by an unrelenting exhaustion that I consistently fail to escape. My muscles ache as though I had never properly stretched them before, and my consciousness behaves as though it hasn't come to terms with the quick, fluid motion and impressive effort necessary to cross the room and silence the alarm clock. Moments after having performed this action, I'm pulling the covers back over my face and I drift into discomfort as distant voices whisper in my ear. I hear the sounds, but not the words. They mean nothing to me. My horrendous slumber lingers as I lie awake in bed, and lies in essence as the dark rings curled up beneath my eyes that stay with me throughout the day.

 I haven't been sleeping well.

What I remember of my dreams tends to leave a bitter taste in my mind each morning as I dredge up the superhuman strength required to lift my concrete eyelids and admit entry to the blurry rays of curtain-filtered sunlight. Sometimes the details escape me. Sometimes they don't. Always, ALWAYS they are fraught with a fierce anxiety, like a many-headed serpent, that snaps and clutches at me at every twist and glance. No matter the circumstance, or try as I might to evade the beast's jaws, I am always finding myself practically thrown into the wyrm's mouth by own best intentions.

What I ask is for is a peaceful sleep. A sleep without worries and that anxiety which I have finally managed to successfully evade during the day, now intent on living on through some sick subconscious fear in my mind while I am resting and have no means with which to beat it. There's no use in coaching yourself to breathe deeply and count backwards in a dream.

Most curious is perhaps the fact that it is only the memory of a panic attack, or the memory of the anxiety and physical symptoms that occur during my sleep. Panic and worry are not necessarily physical, substantial things as much as a state of mind that can affect an individual's mind and body. Would that make my dream panic just as real in the sense of how it affects my body and mind as my ordinary conscious anxiety?
Something to ponder, I guess.


***

This artwork is part of my Nintendo64 era inspired collage artwork series, and depicts Majora's Mask as those geeks out there should already know without me telling them. Before I get into the media and discussing the project as a work of art and the physical creation process involved with it, I wanted to say a little more about the subject matter.

I'm at that awkward age where people were playing Super Nintedo Entertainment Systems and Sega who knows what when I was born, but had already upgraded to better consoles by the time I was actually old enough to hold a controller. I started playing the N64 when I was little more than a toddler, and never looked back. It was then written in the book of geek that I would forever onward be a nerd, which I completely took in stride, without even knowing I was doing so. It wasn't about labels or stereotypes or living up to some misogynistic "gamer girl" ideal. I fell in love with gaming. It was what I liked to do.

The Legend of Zelda games were actually something I sort of fell into later on in my life, a much more recent acquisition to my gaming experiences. I rented Ocarina of Time from a Hollywood video store once when I was still in elementary school and was clueless as to how to play it. Whether I could read and simply chose not to, or whether I found the paragraphs of plot presented to the player at the opening of the game mind-numbing as a 6 year old, I don't know. What I do know is that I had no idea what I was supposed to do and ran around kokiri village like an idiot for more than an hour every day for a week until the game rental was up. I never found the kokiri sword or equipped the shield. I never tried to lift rocks or discovered the rupees hiding in the tall grass. I didn't even realize you could save the game by pausing. In fact, I didn't even know there were subscreens when you paused the game, and somehow I forget whether I even knew to press the up c button when navi tried desperately to get my attention. Did I even know where the up c button was located on the 64 controller? I hope with all that's right in this world the answer to that was yes.

As it turns out, Ocarina of Time would become that one game I would always regret not playing. It was that game that other gamers would ask about and would then commence to verbally abuse me for having conjolingly skipped, and likewise the entire Legend of Zelda franchise.

So why Majora's Mask...?

It honestly just seemed like a good place to start.

I wanted to make an artwork inspired by the Legend of Zelda franchise, and the thought came to me to do the mask, as it was a simple, substantial object that could be effectively captured with this particular collage technique. I'd really like to move on to doing other collage artworks inspired by video games, and work my way into designing much more complex collages with much more intricate details.

One of my followers on Twitter suggested doing more masks, and highly recommended the mask of truth. All I can say is that it is extremely likely I'll be tackling said mask in the very near future, as the idea of making more mask collages is one that I absolutely adored.

This image is entirely compromised of National Geographic magazine scraps that have been carefully arranged and secured to a large canvas.

I hope you all have had a fabulous summer, and are sleeping much better than I have been as of late!

Sincerely, Krystal Dawn


Facebook: Krystal Dawn
Twitter: KrystalDawnArt
DeviantART: kekei94

August 14, 2013

Musings of Tomorrow: "Escape Prying Eyes"


When I think about tomorrow, I tremble.

Its not unanticipated, but I'm still taken by surprise every time. Considering that today is hardly within my reach, tomorrow seems even more so like a slumbering shadow of knotted doubt than an approachable plateau of opportunity. Of course, as tomorrow transitions as the days have a habit to do, and the twilight gives way to dawn, tomorrow proves to be a tangible place to exist.

I may not be well prepared to stand and face the trials and perils of another day, but when I stop and consider it, to realize that I have the strength to stand at all is an accomplishment of its own.

I can't pretend that I can fathom what wonders and tribulations are conealed beneath the endless stretch of tomorrow. In fact, I can't even know for sure whether tomorrow will even come. Perhaps the universal individual consensus of understanding which we refer to as life, our tangible conscious presence, were to cease to exist as the light drew away. There was no pain, no regret, no sorrow. Not a single breathing creature would even register its happening. You would simply become nothing, nothing at all. And there was no warning. No great sign to be interpreted from the movements of our vast space of glittering stars. No premonition gifted to the souls of the righteously clairvoyant. No message, no word, no prophet. It merely happened, and that was that.

Not that I hold deep belief that such an event will or would ever take place in our time, in this place. This may never be a reality. But I have not the celestial power to say whether it will with all the damnation of a godly spirit, or that it won't with the vice of an unholy wraith.

That knowledge is beyond me. To say it simply, I just don't know.

It gives me small comfort to know that my experience has taught me thus far that just as the sun sets every evening, a dawn ushers in the stark biting lightness of a new day. And so I have learned to expect each day to give birth to another, and another after that.

And so, even with a truth that seems so simple, uncertainty can lie indefinitely below the surface of my so-called "knowledge," waiting to suffocate my arrogance with the brutal grip of reality. The day that there is no tomorrow, my reality is broken.

Contemplating the day ahead of me in this way prods my mind into a sort of aching stupor, one from which it is difficult to escape. Knowing this, I try to keep the concept of "tomorrow" as it concerns my day to day life as watered down as my mind will allow. I envision it as the perfect, sheer numbered square of a calendar, or better yet, the rich, textured ink markings of the date itself. The movements required to write these numbers feel like tomorrow at its barest essence. Sometimes I have a habit of treating tomorrow as a to do list of sorts, a series of planned events. Unfortunately, the problem with this concept is that by "Planned events", I mean "a certain series of tasks you intend to see carried out, but very well may not occur at all and over which you may have little or no control."

I try not to think about the future much. If I delve too deeply, I am set back by all the little, insignificant things. Details, details, details.

***

I intended to spend this time writing about my personal concerns for the future, so that perhaps you all could have a deeper, clear understanding of my life and how I feel about and view the world around me. You see, often I feel that I have little control over the future ahead of me, as I'm sure we all have felt at one time or another. And, well, that is not untrue. I have no control whatsoever over what will or will not happen tomorrow. I CAN control how I choose to interpret, understand, experience, and react to  these circumstances, however. And THAT is what will impact the person I am to become.

As you can see, that's not quite what happened, as I got so wound up in such a small aspect of the concept I was pondering that I failed to move on. Perhaps we'll go a little deeper with this subject next time, or perhaps I'll continue the topic in a later entry.

Feel free to comment on my technique, grammar, or topic. Suggestions for future entries will be taken into considertion. I wouldn't be opposed to answering questions with blog entires either. In all honesty, I want to hear from you. Send me a tweet, leave me a comment on facebook,  whatever works. My main goal here is to express my thoughts, experiences and wonderings. Even if you don't agree, start a conversation, politely of course. We as human beings learn from each other as much or more so than we do from ourselves. Don't be afraid to share your own experiences, say what's on your mind, to make a connection. We are all human. We all make mistakes, and we all strive to better ourselves. 

This drawing expresses and exalts my frustrations with that which is out of my control. 

I challenge you to create or find a representation of that which you struggle against, but cannot be seen. Tweet a link with #KrystalDawnBlog, and I'll retweet my faves.

Sincerely, Krystal Dawn


Facebook: Krystal Dawn
Twitter: KrystalDawnArt
DeviantART: kekei94

August 1, 2013

Breaking Casual Blogger Conventions


The fiercest challenge I tend to face within a single day is more often than not one I myself have created: a burden I unwittingly place upon my own weary shoulders. The solution too can be found from within my own person. Its buried deeply, albeit, but its there. And yet, struggle as I may, the concept I'm striving to isolate and clutch, the answer I painstakingly seek, escapes my grasp and eludes my searching fingers and wandering mind, leaving me with resounding questions, infinite impossible paths, and a sense of being overwhelmed to the point where I choose to simply do nothing and cease my searching.

Every time I find myself staring at my blog, I ponder the same relentless question. "What to write?" 

Obviously my topic should revolve around the realm of art, as my artistic endeavors are the reason for this blog's existence, and is likewise what calms the listless unsettling of my spirit. But I am never certain. I am never certain of what my viewers will want to read, of what will entice their attention and interest. I am never certain what is appropriate for what I hope to prune into a well-received, professional blog. I am never certain of what it is that's expected of me.

More and more these thoughts are constantly being mulled over in my mind, befuddling my attempts to straighten my conscience and clear my resolve. As I sat down to craft this particular post, the same tedious thoughts made their presence known. And as they did, realization consumed my very person, like a sheer, decisive fire of hope. What does it matter what others think of how I write my posts or what the writing concerns? What is the point if I don't enjoy the experience? Just as my art is an extension of my self, so should my writing be. 

And why shouldn't it?

After all, writing is another passion of mine, one which too often is shunted sideways and disregarded or considered unnecessary, unbecoming, or of little importance to the goals at hand. So from here on out, I shall give you something to read, whether you appreciate the sentiment or not.

***
" 'Till Death Do Us Part" An original ink artwork, with a watercolor background. Inspiration for this piece came from several distinct notions and ideals. 

The first being a very real media plague: an ungodly love for the living dead. Zombie lore is all the rage in today's society, and with record setting television shows such as AMC's The Walking Dead on air, its no wonder that reanimated corpses and their accompanying commercialized stories are trending worldwide. 

Both my parents are hardcore horror fans as a rule, so an appreciation for the living dead craze came naturally enough to me. With fantastically gruesome novels such as Pride, Prejudice, and Zombies, World War Z and The Zombie Survival Guide to feast my intellectual appetite upon, reading zombie literature became my favorite high school past time. For my writing classes I wrote various zombie apocalypse related fictions, including a comedic take depicting a young man falling victim to a Hannah Montana zombie (So titled "Hannah Montana Forever"; I received quite the applause once I finished reading it aloud to my sophomore classmates) and a macabre take on a Shakespearean love sonnet.

 It was this sonnet which required a visual presentation that years later directly influenced the below image. The sketch for the project that later became my initial draft of this illustration depicted only the bride's hand, and was posed in front of a green background in parody of the the Left For Dead title logo, associated with the video game of the same name produced and developed by Valve/Turtle Rock Studios.

Later the idea came to me to combine the concept of lovers separated by death with real people. Thus, the hands came to represent that of my parents. The overall feel of the image was tweaked towards a bride AND groom, the ring on the bride's finger became my mother's ring. The wedding vow was added to the bottom, placed within a weathered scroll to accompany the articulated picture frame, playing up the vintage wedding feel. Above the quote, the date of my parent's wedding anniversary.

Once the inking was completed, the watercolor background was added digitally.

That I will most likely take on more zombie related art projects in the future is a safe assumption, I'd say. My hope is that I can make room in my schedule to write a decent length blog entry at least once a week, but 2 or 3 times a week if I can mange it. Until next time, yours truly,

Krystal Dawn

Facebook: Krystal Dawn
Twitter: KrystalDawnArt
DeviantART: kekei94

 

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