Wednesday, October 26, 2011

MOTHer: The Play & Process Art ~ Part 1

MOTHer - a play the words 'mother' and 'moth' ~ is something I've mentioned in passing before briefly. It'll be a cross between a play and a musical. It has a few songs, but it's mostly a weird little stage play.

Some producers are already are interested do a modest budgeted version in the Bay area... and i think we could raise any remaining money on kickstart or something if needed.

For now, it's just a series of script and sketchbook pages... making a mess, littering  my studio floor.

My goal was for it NOT to come out as a comic. Only as a book full of sketchbook pages, paintings and the printed stage play notes,  probably later next year.  Or when ever it gets finished.

But here's the idea, in brief:

An insomniac female illustrator, and mother lives in the late 1800s and works in her art studio, atop a art nouveau looking lighthouse.

Her life cycle starts each night, as she sleeps all day. Each dusk she has a half a dozen friends-assistants-helpers in the lighthouse that over see her clothes sowed and bought by the city folk below.

But the twist is: she doesn't just designs and make clothes: her body literally morphs into whatever decade she's dreamed up. Thus she's 1900s mom, then next night she becomes a 1920s mother, a 1930s.. and so on. Her body literally changes into, say,  a 1940s style dress with the big shoulder pads, for example.

The idea, (weird as it sounds) is an exploration of how different periods of history and fashion not just affected women, but inhabited and transformed them. Each evening after MOTHer sheds her skin from the (1950s for example), (or clothing) for the decade...

Each decades Mother forms a moth like cocoon at dusk, then transforms hatches into her own daughter, a NEW  mother for the next generation, (in this case, the 1950s). Then the daughter leaves her mother each morning, which always is a huge surprise to Mother, even though she knows from precious Moth-Memmory Generations 'this is what daughters do'. Find passion and adventure outside of the nest.

Her daughter (during each time period) is off to sea as a pirate, or in a civil war, or various other worldly adventures.. This slightly echos Puccini's Madam Butterfly and Henry David Hwang's M. Butterfly, but if you haven't seen either, it doesn't matter. Thus the image of the Cio-Cio san (Madamn Butterfly) awaiting her lovers' return by boat, in my MOTHer play ... becomes a heart broken Mother awaiting her daughter's return.

Why a moth? No idea. It just felt right. There's many moth references in Bimbo too... also in Carlos Castanedas work. There's also tons of magical and mythological stuff about moths nocturnal flights on delicate powered wings. Markings and Pupa they hatch from. Moths (in my mind anyhoo..) ties all these wildly different fragments together.. the lighthouse is where she's drawn too, for example.

So for now, here's a few rough sketches. Also i wanted to take a single page I've painted already, and show how i tried to worked it into the MOTHer sketchbook itself.

above, I start by ripping it between her nose and lips...

careful now...

now one more rip... one between the two women's faces i think..

..but first lemme add some contact paper to glue the back of the watercolor paper.

..burnish it down so it sticks on there.

Peal it up... this stuff is pretty sticky, but an gummy eraser will get rid of the sticky bits.

Okay... here's my three pieces. burnished down pretty snug.

Pretty sterile looking right now, isn't it?

At this point it'd be easy to lose confidence in the whole thing - i thought about ripping it up here, but decided to push forward and see if some added color won't help..

Yup, these guys again. I may be relying on them too much, but like everyone said in the comments, it's not the tool itself, just the freedom it creates when you use it, eh?

Brown pads help a little, but we're not out of the woods yet..

Let's try some orange now...

and a quick montage of acrylics laid down in a hurry too...

Okay, this weekend i'll finish it up. Don't worry, it may not be as strong as the woman in stripes above, but it'll look a LOT better than t does now...

Weird how all this technical art crap is carried out... all because of a bizarre little abstract idea that starts in our heads. The first idea for MOTHer was a Cronenberg type of little short film.

But i realized i wanted such a surreal story to have some heart and be 'metaphor focused'.. and not just a excuse for visual excess.

I wanted it about characters you care about, not cool freaky visuals alone.

As absurd as it is, doing on the stage, made me make it realer ... on a personal level.

Hey. Even if this sucker never gets made,  or IS made and  is a total flop (which most plays are) - i'll still consider it a small weird-ass personal victory to see it on staged in the bay area..

and maybe film it in high def video, so everyone who ISN'T there in person that that night... can check it out. Maybe post it on a blog or something?

The cool thing is, no one goes into into either Theater or Comics get rich.

 Just because we're foolish (or lucky enough?)...

to love the process of creation itself, eh?


cody said...

This batch is really incredible, great colors and patterns, but really love the torn painting. Cool Idea on the play your quite the renisanse man.

jennifer kraska said...

Intriguing concept. But the last bit about " no one goes into Theater or Comics to get rich.....Just because we're foolish (or lucky enough?) love the process of creation itself...." Really hit home. I could not have said it better or agree more (even though I am not in theater or comics). I believe that we (artists collectively) are truly lucky.

BTW - LOVE the 5th pic.......drool.

the danman can said...

I play music and occasionally act in theater productions in NH & MA.

If I lived anywhere near your area I would want to be in the play...bad.

Sounds like it'll be great!

Daniel said...

Awesome, thanks for sharing Sam. Trying to learn, but my brain seems not to understand. Or my hand is not paying attention, I keep trying anyway hehehe...

Thanks Man! Very much appreciated to find this info about your creative process in your blog!!!

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