What New Agency comes from complete global reset? I have been pondering this question for a while now and it doesn’t matter how much I try I can’t seem to come up with a straight answer for it. It was only recently that I learnt that ‘New Agency’ meant power, as in what power do I or creative individuals have within the world today in all this crisis. When I think of power, I’ve never thought of myself having it. I normally think of leaders, people who have the authority to make big changes. I wonder if this is because of self-esteem or simply just having the courage to speak out. This way of thinking is entirely new to me and I have started to rethink what power, or ‘New agency’ means to me.
~ Thinking in Studio ~
Currently in my studies, I am creating fantasy worlds filled with bright and cheery characters. This is something I have been doing since I was a little girl probably around the age of 6. I have always been fascinated with fictional worlds, landscapes and settings that draw you in, begging to be explored. Memorable characters with their complex personalities where they have an extraordinary purpose they must fulfil. A thrilling adventure full of discoveries and mysteries that lie in wake. Just thinking about it gets me pumped up!
I guess you could say my love of character and world building comes from my love of videogames, storybooks, anime & manga. For me these are a few of my personal escapisms. Why is it that we have a need to escape into fictional worlds, away from society and the displeasure that real life offers us?
Since I was a little girl, all I remember is exploring these worlds becoming the hero/heroine of that chosen land and feeling good & excited about completing a task or finding a secret stairway that leads to a forgotten temple.
~ Photograph of my sketchbook – Character Building ~
In my experience, I know a lot of others that would prefer to live in a fictional world than reality. I honestly believe that anxiety, depression and even fear has something to do with it. As someone who suffers with anxiety myself, I can relate to the fears and stresses that come with it and the longing, NO need to escape into your comfort zone. Fantasy worlds give people a purpose, a sense of belonging and a feeling of achievement, and given the crisis of the world today I am not surprised that people are trying to find their way out of it.
So as a creative individual, I have pondered my place within society and what can I do to make a difference. What power do I have to help or make people aware of global issues and how can I express that within my work?
Escapism has had an impact on my creative practice by allowing me to escape into my own guilty pleasures, I have found that I want to make people feel happy, connected, comfort and a sense of belonging within the worlds/characters that I create. I want them to sympathise, relate and feel like they have a connection with my characters so that they can experience wonderful things just like what I did in my fondest of memories.
This is why I design characters that are relatable with real life experiences/emotions/illnesses etc. As an example, I am no stranger to procrastination in fact I would say we are really great friends at the best of time. I created this character based on my experience and emotions of procrastination, which is a situation I believe everyone can relate too.
~ Procrastination Character ~
Escapism has also impacted the creative industry and other illustrators around the globe. I can see it within the work of other illustrators and the constant growth of the video games industry. I follow so many artists & animators whose work is just filled with fiction and the love that they hold for fantasy and imagination.
I don’t think escapism is a bad thing, as I know a few people that use it to unwind or to deal with their problems. I think when it starts to impact your life in a nonhelpful way and start ignoring the situation, things end up worse than how it was originally. That why I think by adding in real life situations or hints towards something as a reminder within my work, it just might help someone in a way I’ve never thought before. I do believe that narrative within an illustration or a piece of art just might be the most important thing I can think of to change somebody’s opinions and their way of life.
While looking at the information of a course by one of the illustrators that I follow, she mentioned that the course will help to tackle future art projects and eventually help you to become a professional artist. This got me thinking about myself, my journey and the reasons why I wanted to take this course. I mean, am I a professional artist? What does it mean to be a professional artist? Is it someone who works on briefs? A freelancer or possibly working for a really popular company/studio?
To be honest I am not to sure. I think that’s why I take courses after courses to better my skills because maybe I don’t feel like a professional artist or maybe because I don’t think my current skill set is good enough just yet. Some reason in my mind I have come to the inclusion that a professional artist is someone who produces really high-quality indepth pieces of artwork that looks stunning and professional. Something you would see from big companies such as Disney, Pixar, Nintendo and so on.
I guess I still don’t have a definite answer, but I do know where to start. Next week, I will be starting on a new project called the ‘Taiga Project’. It’s about a little tiger cub who goes on the wildest adventures. I guess I can start with him.
Let’s see if we can change the world!
Author: Nicole Briley
Course: Illustration and Visual Media