Wednesday, March 19, 2014

A Dream Is A Wish Your ART Makes... Or, Really, the Other Way Around.



     Ive been thinking alot about DREAMS lately...

     Not in a fuzzy-happy kind of sense, but in a strange dystopian sort of way.  Not that I wouldn't love to have happy or sweet dreams...
I just don't, really.  They are not really nightmares either... just unhappy dreams. 

     This is why I have decided to share a design/art project I had done a year or so ago, because it was a logo that I, quite literally, dreamed up.

     In my dreams, there is always an element of tragedy or mischief or just something kinda-off about everything in an unsettling way.  My partner once read to me that most people, when they dream, dream of bad things.  I jibe him about how he planted a subconscious seed in my head to have bad dreams all the time, but this would be unfair, as I have noticed that the only dreams I remember, if I remember them, are sort-of dystopian, if not completely. 

     It's kind of funny because I do dream of far off exotic and futuristic worlds, but everyone in them seems to be unhappy or frustrated or stunted in some way...

     Everything seems sort of OFF and not quite right.  I shared, in detail once one of my more vivid dreams about a dystopian future that had a very rigid and harsh caste system.  Everyone was assigned a color, unless you were part of the upper-most-important class in that world.  Then you could do/wear as you please.  I will share that dream in a follow-up post here, as that dream really has nothing to do with today's posting. (But I will share it, I promise)


     I often have this space or place in my dreams that I call, for lack of a better name, The Dreaming City.  It is the space where all my dreams for the past 5-6 years (or as long as I can remember) have taken place.  I would love to one day illustrate it, or (ultimately) create a cartograph of the city itself.  The only trouble with this, is that it is usually and infinitely changing and morphing.  It appears or seems t be a culmination of places I have lived along with augmentations that, as far as I know, have no reference or resemblance to any real place I have been or seen.  But these could always have been things that I saw as a child in places I lived, before I was old enough to have a conscience memory of places people and things.  Most of the things I recognize are from my life when I lived in Savannah, Georgia.  But those recognizable architectural infrastructures are augmented and shifted into other things that I don't recognize.  Things shift and morph in between my frequent visits to Dream City.  Sometimes they morph and change while I am in there dreaming whatever storyline my subconscious mind has dreamed up.  This is very much like the way the Labyrinth would shift and change as Sarah was trying to solve it, therefore making it more challenging. I never felt trapped in the City, but I would often find myself in need to travel to a far part of it on the other side of where I would be, and find that I have no way of getting there. This would mostly cause stress and anxiety as the need to get to the other location would be dyer.

     There are a few, very few locations that I see often enough to be able to illustrate, I think.  On the outskirts of Dream City there is a field and built at the foot of this field and at the very edge of the City is a structure that very closely resembles the Colosseum in Rome. I've never been to Rome, but of course have seen photos and diagrams of the structure in books.  This Colosseum is a bit different: It's Two-City-Street Stories High and by this I mean that you could fit a 3-4 story building on each level of this one structure. It is as tall as The City itself. I know this from random encounters in my dreams.  There is a road that winds around form the top-most level and ends on the Grand Field.  Sometimes the structure is full of closely constructed city buildings, much like you would see in New York City, but nothing I see in my dreams is recognizably from New York.  This is really more of a general-generic city street shopping place. Other times the Structure is hallow and seems to be made of limestone. The Grand Field that stretches out form the foot of the Structure, I like to call The Fairgrounds. I actually had a dream when there was a huge and colorful festival happening in the Field. 

      The other location in Dream City that seems to remain the same, dream after dream, is the Movie Theater.  The location of the theater may change, but the interior is always the same.  Many of you can attest that this would be a happy dream, if I am dreaming of the movie theater, because I LOVE Movies! However, this is usually NOT the case.  In all honesty, I hate dreaming of the movie theater, as it feels creepy and cold and ominous.  It doesn't feel at all warm and happy, to say the very least about it.  There seems to be only one theater, by this I mean only one area to show a single film, but I "know" that there are more than just the one I seem to always be going to.  The foyer area is kind of old and moldy. Perhaps an influence of the old local theater in Warner Robins (GA) called the Rama (that has since been gutted out and transformed into a doctors office. Which is sad. We all missed our Dollar Movie Theater.  The layout of Dream City's Movie House is not the same as the Rama's was but it has a very same feel and look of run-down and shabby... and VERY Red.  Mostly, as far as the layout is concerned, it reminds me of the Town Movie House in the B-80s Flick, Night of the Comet.  Anyway, once Ive walked through the foyer (sometimes with or without concessions), I enter the Theater Area through a set of red-double doors. On the other side, I would see the largest Theater Screen Area I have ever seen (only in my dreams, right?).

     The width of the room is like the width of 3 professional football stadiums placed side-by-side.  The seats, which really were not seats, stretch and cascaded down and very seemingly steep drop and seemed to vanish into a Silver Screen SO-LARGE you could fit the entire city of Atlanta in it.  The seats were sort of suspended enclosed booths that could fit a single person inside.  They look very much like the video games booths that you would see at an arcade. The ones were you have to sit inside and look and the monitor screen inside to play the game.  Pol-Position is really the only example I can give that explains these booths that were suspended from the ceiling. They looked more futuristic, though. They looked like they belonged on a spaceship from the movie ALIENS.  The booths in the theater also had green monitors inside and you were supposed to wear these special goggles when you got into that allowed you to, somehow, see the large silver screen through booth and monitors themselves.  I NEVER understand the need for such seats at the theater, but they are ALWAYS there.  One day I will draw them and share them on the Blog with you. 

     Most of what I am sharing, is somewhat irrelevant to the particular dream I had when I dreamed about this logo... I just wanted to give you a feel for the sort of cold and detached places my dreams take place in. 

     ALSO, I don't really keep a Dream Journal, as I rarely ever remember my dreams when I awake.  What fragments I do remember are sort of burned into memory, maybe because they are not always nice.  I DO, However, Keep and Idea Journal that I carry around with me to jot in any idea that the Muses of My Own Personal Universe care to share with me.  I quickly jot it down to be used in an art project later.  When I dreamed of the distopian world that this icon comes from, I did just that when I awoke from this dream: Grabbed my Idea journal and immediately jotted down the noted to this icon.  I have scanned in that page form the journal just for fun.

5/16/12:
     This Idea Journal entry was written almost 2 years ago... kinda funny It's so Close to that mark.  I don't remember much about the dream other than:
I was in America (United States) and it was the year 1918.  It was an alternate reality of America in 1918, as nothing I am about to describe, in any way, resembles history as we knew it.  Everything seemed distopian. There was a police state in the US and I'm rather certain it might have been implied that it was world wide.  I'm guessing that countries didn't really exist... there was some universal militant government that was running everything.
It wasn't Corporations (which I really think will eventually run and Control this country more openly in the future. Now that they are considered "individuals." Which is insane in my humble opinion)... but anyway. 

     The "People" were mostly poor and harassed and terrorized by their own government.  I am uncertain if this icon was associated with the Militant Government as the soldier/Policemen neither wore this symbol nor did it appear on any of the vehicles they drove.  I remember it raining and I was on a very dirty street.  I remember people screaming because the policemen were beating people out on the street in broad daylight in front of everyone... the people they were abusing didn't seem to deserve the punishment. In other words, I don't think they were guilty of any crime... just gratuitous cruelty and violence. 

     I remember that these people were SO hungry and distraught.  Most seemed homeless and there literally people dying on the streets, either from starvation, exposure or they were just plain beaten to death by the government.  I saw this icon on many posters that lined the sides of some of the buildings.  The government didn't seem to tear them down, as though they were part of a rebellion or that they were illegal. 
The people in my dream, however, seemed to be just as wary of what this symbol represented.  I didn't know if it was some corporation, as if in that reality there was only a single and very powerful company that helped control the country with the government.  Very similar to UMBRELLA in the Resident Evil games and films.  I didn't get that sense, so it is really a mystery to me as to what MIRAGE really represented in that world.  Is it a rebellion that the people around me didn't trust. Was it a clever rouse to pick out possible people that might rebel and take care of them before they actually do.  In any case, it seemed that MIRAGE was also Bad News Bears for these people.  

     I remember waking up, in the middle of the night, very shortly after seeing those posters in my dream and immediately picking up my idea journal to jot down notes so I could recreate this icon.  It was SO very burned into my subconscious that I thought by Creating it into reality that I could somehow understand more of that story... maybe trick my mind into dreaming more about it...

     But ALAS. I have yet to dream anymore to this date about that world.


     My notes were pretty descriptive. Enough so that I was able to complete the icon in one evening.  I did come back the following evening to make a few very minor changes or modifications after "sleeping on it." [Pun Intended]  I'm curious as to how many other artists out there sleep on something  after they tel themselves,"I'm Finished!"  Only to find that they come back the next day and fiddle with it a bit more... sometimes maybe alot. lol  



     I found the trickiest parts of creating this icon were deciding the thickness of the outer square, the distance in between the outer and inner square, the absolute abstractness and angle of
the round shape element that sits atop the squares and lastly the EXACT shade of Blue and the particulars of the gradients.  I recall in my notes that the round abstract shape reminded me of something off a Calder mobile or a shape form a Miro painting.  So I studied a selection of both of their work before building my icon.  In the end I think I just vectorized a direct excerpted shape from one of Calder's mobiles.  I manipulated it slightly and integrated the shape into my design.  I then had to toy with the angles and, as I previously said, the gradients of all the shapes.

 [Alexander Calder]


 [Joan Miro]



     The typography was also not too terribly challenging... I knew from the beginning that I would be working with a modified Avant Garde or Futura.  The font of MIRAGE was certainly a sanserif.  The word is pretty much typed.  I did separate and modify the Kerning of the letters myself as well as stretch some of the letters individually to help match what the icon was in my mind's eye.
 I did have to create the "A" in the word, as in my dream the A was composed of an upside down V with an Upside-Down Perfectly proportioned Triangle that was placed directly at half of the height of the letter and was proportioned to be half the height in both length and height of the shape.  This did take a bit of fooling around but I got it to where it needed to be. I then placed the created letter within the word appropriately and placed it proportionately to the graphic shape I had previously created according to how it looked on the posters in my dream.



     That pretty much sums up the long and the short of how this icon came to be.  The "Just Imagine" was something I scared up based on the fact that this icon came from my dreams.  I hope you enjoy the icon and the story.

until next time,
Keep sketching, keep thinking, keep laughing and most important of all, keep making art. 
Cheers,
LEWIS







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