This is an illustration series exploring the concept of loss. I want to illustrate the various “types” of losses I’ve experienced and what visuals I correlate with each depending on how i was affected. whether they be physical entities or feelings/thoughts. Through this series I experiment with how to visually juxtapose the different emotions that come with loss yet still connect them to each other and to my own experiences.
I challenged myself to reflect on my own feelings of loss and learn how to represent them through these illustrations. When I was in the initial stages of brainstorming, I considered how in most scenarios, loss is associated with sadness, even I did, but I’ve realized loss can sometimes evoke happiness or relief, as opposed to many works I’ve seen. I’ve chosen to illustrate losses that have occurred over time. Each illustration correlates to an age and something that I have lost.
I really wanted to focus on color and how it can be used in ways that are opposite of its typical associations. I gravitate towards warm palettes, as they always draw me in and feel so vibrant. I wanted to use these colors, commonly used to express joyful and energetic feelings, to convey melancholy feelings. Piece 1 and 3, both representing losses that evoke feelings of sadness, are visually represented using bright reds, and light pinks as opposed to dark blues and greys. At first glance, they seem like cheerful pieces, but when a viewer inspects closer, they’ll realize that the piece has a “deeper” meaning.
The first piece represents how I felt when I was 5 years old, having lost 3 plush fish I’ve had since I was an infant. I carried them everywhere and treated them more like pets as opposed to toys. In the piece, the three large fish represent the stuffed fish. The character that represents me in the piece is holding up a small fish bowl to three large fish at an aquarium. The character represents child like thoughts and logic when it comes to processing new emotional experiences. The character is looking at these fish, thinking “Fish live in water, I can put them in a fish bowl and bring them home with me”, not understanding other factors that makes it an impossible task. The unrealistic thought process and unobtainable goal parallel how I felt when I lost the stuffed fish. I was devastated, and didn’t understand why it happened. The scene represents how I thought that I’d have them for the rest of my life and carry them with me, but in reality they couldn’t.
I wanted to create a series of 3, and utilize placement and contrasting themes. The idea that loss can be a positive thing sparked the idea to have a positive “loss” in the middle of two losses that are associated with sadness. This piece represents when I was 17 and “lost” a toxic relationship/friendship. Initially, I was really hurt, but as I reflected on it weeks and years later, it was most definitely a positive change. This piece is more satirical, in that it plays on the idea of “red flags” being the traits to look for when it comes to toxic people. The character looks past these red flags, finding them endearing almost, as if they were red roses in a bouquet. To symbolize that the character has realized the relationships were harming them, I decided for them to be tossing away the bouquet of red flags, walking in the opposite direction, leaving the toxicity behind.
The last piece represents the loss of my childhood home, at age 21. Although it didn’t feel as important when I lived there, I’ve realized just how impactful all of the memories made there because of its location. The move was unexpected and at a time when things were constantly changing already, and there was no real closure. The character is sitting outside, facing away from a line of buildings, each window giving us a look at all the homes. The atmospheres are warm and happy, with a color scheme that matches, while the character is isolated and drawn in. From this visual, there is a feeling of loneliness and no sense of belonging. In the buildings, everyone is in their safe space, but the character outside is unfamiliar and has no where to go for comfort.