Friday, May 1, 2015

Geas

This particular piece was one I did for the Rankin-Bass Group Show at Creature Features in Burbank California.  The show was themed around the works of the legendary Claymation/Animation producers Arthur Rankin Jr., and Julie Bass who's huge library of work was to be represented in the group show "The Enchanted World of Rankin-Bass".  The show took place in December of 2014, and ran until January 2015.
For my contribution to the show I selected on of their adaptation of Peter S. Beagle's "The Last Unicorn" (of which Beagle was heavily involved).  In my piece, my intention was to capture the essence of the story, and also depict a color gradient by transitioning from one sequence of events in the story to the next in succession.   I had always wanted to do a piece depicting the story, having seen it as a child, it had left a lasting impression on me with it's handling of mortality, sacrifice, and identity.  Originally I was intending on only depicting Almathea (the lead protagonist), in both forms, and make the piece reversible.  I still kept the concept, but instead filled it with the events from the film, kept the outline, incorporated the color transition, and also the ability for it to be displayed in two different ways. 
I've often been asked about the title of this particular piece.  It took me a while to come up with it, as is the usual for me.  I always like to give my piece interesting titles, that may have either multiple meanings, a play on words, or carrying some kind of significance pertaining to the work, or it's subject matter.  The term 'Geas' is one I lifted from my experience in youth playing Dungeons & Dragons.  In the campaign setting there are spells for varying character classes.  The spell of 'Geas' (from the Irish word Geis), or 'Quest' (as I believe it's called now), was a higher level ability of Clerics or Priests.  The spell itself was a type of curse for lack of a better term, in which the victim was compelled to perform some kind of task, quest, or command, which was to be completed by a specific deadline.  If the 'Geased' recipient did not fulfill the terms within the time frame, they would die. 
In the story of 'The Last Unicorn', Almathea (a unicorn), discovers she is the last of her kind, and sets off from the safety of her forest home to unravel the mysterious disappearance of her kin.  Along her travels Almathea meets a variety of characters, most of which she appears to as a normal mare, and only those gifted with magic can see her horn.  Early on she meets Schemdrick, a Novice Magician who accompanies her on the quest, and in an attempt to protect her, accidentally transforms her into a human.  Schemdrick's attempts to undo his spell are unsuccessful, and eventually concedes that, when Almathea has accomplished the task she needs to, the spell will lift on it's on.
The piece is entirely digital, done in Painter with some additional manipulation done in Photoshop.


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