When I finished Lost, it became clearer to me what I’m trying to accomplish artistically. The idea for the illustration is based on the Land of Toys in the Italian novel version of Pinocchio. The story goes the Land of Toys lures children with the promise of freedom and pleasure but the dark truth is that they are transformed into donkeys for their idleness. Instead of portraying the glitz and glamour of the Land of Toys, I chose a landfill as the landscape. Pinocchio is caught in a moment of contemplation among the heaps of waste and forgotten toys.
Lost is part of a series of dystopian fairy tales which I’m gradually working on. It’s a reflection of how I see the world today – through a bifocal lens of pessimism and optimism. As children we’re fed all these happy-ending stories that are repackaged as products of their time. Just think of Lost as having your apple juice with an insidious dose of reality (like realizing what we’re doing to the environment through our daily habits).
Originally I was going to title the illustration ‘Authenticity’ but ‘Lost’ is the truth behind the work. Lately, I’ve been directionless, frustrated, burnt out and well lost. Every year, I make plans to revisit my personal work to recharge the creative juices and every year I’ve put it off. Although I enjoyed working with other people and worked really hard on their projects with genuine enthusiasm and passion, it has come to a point where I have a diverse body of work without a clear focus. So what does she do again? I don’t really know but I do know that I’m terrified of specializing which is rooted in the fear of saying no and missing out on opportunities.
I’ve had many moments of doubt with the dystopian fairy tale series because I don’t see them fitting neatly into any category. They’re not that dark, they’re not really whimsical, they’re not that political, they’re not motivational, they’re not realistic, they’re not fantastical, they’re not really for kids or for adults, they’re not educational and they’re certainly not trendy.
But they are me: a subtle, quiet and introspective misfit. What is more, I’m discovering there are like-minded people who stop, look and reflect through these images. I’m really grateful for that.
With the dystopian fairy tale series, I plan on braving the world of self publishing. It’s the only course that makes sense for me. As I have done in the past, I’ll be documenting the journey with all its frustrations, struggles, darkness and eventually, I hope, small pockets of light.