For my fourth assignment for my Tuesday Graphic Narrative class, I was challenged to create one to three separate visual scenes in response one evocative text. The “evocative text” I chose was “New York 2085”, and so all of my visual narratives tried to interpret New York 2085 in a surprising, unforeseen, almost surrealist way, using watercolor pencils as well as regular pencils.
The first drawing– “Big Apples” takes the idea of New York’s nickname, the “Big Apple”, and reifies it, envisioning a bizarre pastoral future in which massive glowing apples are seen by a farmer slowly falling down from the sky. The large apples blend in with the small apples specifically to generate a sort of perceptual illusion that causes the viewer to question the drawing’s sense of scale. The concept of the large apples is also partially inspired by the massive mundane objects (such as fruits or bells) that thematically appear over and over again in the works of Surrealist artist Rene Magritte.
The second drawing– “Dustopolis” envisions a post-apocalyptic New York beset by climate change and rising heat, resulting in flooding for the city, and later its desertification. Two vague figures made fuzzy by the sandstorm in the lower right of the drawing are present, headed towards the ambiguous outlines of skyscrapers in the background, half-buried in sand (the largest one is implied to resemble the Empire State Building).
Finally, the third drawing of my assignment– “Hail, Columbidae” is also, like the first drawing, partially inspired stylistically and compositionally by Rene Magritte’s work, specifically her piece The Castle of the Pyrenees, which features a massive floating boulder with a city on top as its central object. However, it replaces the giant stone with the giant anatomical model of a pigeon’s heart, surrounded by pigeons flying around it and gigantic nests with gigantic eggs, and a pigeon version of the Statue of Liberty in the background. This drawing envisions a 2085 in New York dominated not by humans, but by pigeons following an unknown event that prompts the latter to rebel against the former.
The title of the art piece is a pun on the original anthem of the United States prior to the Star Spangled Banner (called “Hail, Columbia”– with Columbia being a personification of America), and the scientific name for the pigeon species– Columbidae, combining both to get “Hail, Columbidae”, as if to revere the pigeons and their new pigeon anthem.