For my penultimate project for the semester for Core Studio/Seminar 2D, Jonathan Rosen assigned this year’s Studio and Seminar classes to create 8 art pieces based on our interpretations of 8 out of 16 Rorschach ink blots that were provided to us. Specifically, we were tasked to really look at which set of ink blots we identified with most, and make art based on what we saw in these ink blots relative to how we psychologically see ourselves or see the world. Since everyone sees and has seen the world in a totally unique perspective compared to his/her peers, everyone in my class saw different things in the same ink blots. In addition, another requirement for the ink blot project included writing a narrative under each of the ink blots we were interpreting and our resulting art, or simply doing a “here’s the cast” kind of art where each ink blot stood for a different character.
I decided to create a narrative based on the 8 ink blots I found most relatable to my own experiences and views of the world, and initially envisioned for the first 4 ink blots a land made out of candy and populated by candy people, all terrorized by the regime of a brutal dictator in the spirit of the French Revolution and its accompanying Reign of Terror under Robespierre. The last 4 ink blots completely change the tone and genre of the story from a pure fantasy to something more akin to science fiction-based, ending in a climactic battle between the forces of “Butterspierre” and the forces of humanity, who have just come to the alternate candy dimension.
My initial ideas came about when I looked at the 2nd ink blot of the first 8 inkblots I was given, and immediately recognized a sort of feminine, princess figure appearing to be made out of candy and sweets (with a gelatin crown on top) next to the 1st ink blot, which upon further inspection looked like some Zorro-type Scarlet Pimpernel vigilante bent on protecting his homeland. This sparked my basis of the narrative on the French Revolution and the well known French Baroness Orczy novel The Scarlet Pimpernel– the first narrative of its kind to have a hero with a secret identity (in this sense, the Pimpernel, is the “proto-hero”, or the “ur-secret identity hero”.
I initially did some sketches of what I wanted my characters to look like on computer paper, and then traced square 7.5 inch by 7.5 inch to 8 x 8 inch borders on other pieces of paper, then redrew my character and accompanying backgrounds to give life and richness to my narrative. Around this time, I wrote out the narrative for each my 8 panels, describing the scene taking place within that inkblot panel. After some recommendations from my professors to stop using pencil, and use pen and ink, I redrew all my 8 ink blot-based characters and the 8 sceneries in black ballpoint pen, and even tried to use the pen and tablet machines in Parsons’ 10th floor to retrace my pencil drawings on Photoshop/Illustrator. I also managed to scan all of my computer paper drawings and then print them out on Bristol paper (since the tactile texture of paper actually matters in art and gives it meaning, as I have come to slowly learn) with the inkjet printers in the previously mentioned Parsons’s 10th floor, and then color them over Thanksgiving break with special watercolor pencils and regular colored pencils. I loved how the project came out in the end with its Baroque level detail (because that’s just how I draw on a regular basis).
I don’t want to spoil anyone who might be curious in reading my inkblot narrative, so along with pictures of my finished Bristol paper panels, and some of my sketches/attempts, and will be attaching a pdf of my written narrative for this assignment, as well as the worksheet containing the original 8 ink blots I used as a template for my project (so that you can see what I saw in a sense).