Andrew H. Walker, Getty Images Nine days after the deadly tornado that touched…
- Posted on Jul 21st 2008 12:00PM by Jessica Robertson
Contribution: 'Flying Dutchman'
Describe your relationship with Tori.
I've done paintings of Tori for all of her RAINN charity calendars for the last five years.
How did you become involved in this project?
Rantz Hoseley invited me to be a part of this book.
Why did you choose to interpret 'Flying Dutchman'?
It came about by talking with Rantz Hoseley. Rantz is organizing the project and he presented me with a few different songs to choose from, but he specifically recommended that he'd like to see me adapt 'Flying Dutchman.' Tori had written the song about Rantz in a way -- about a specific time in the life of Tori and Rantz in their early formative years while both of them were in the process of making their dreams come true in their creative endeavors as artists.
After learning the back story of the song from Rantz and he suggesting that I do that song, I felt like I had an extra layer of information about the intentions and ideas of the song directly from the source moments that it was created that I could integrate into my visual adaptation of it.
What is it about Tori's music that inspired your visuals and storyline?
I tried to go right into the internal story of the song and make it personal and universal at the same time. I began with the lyrics and the backstory of the circumstances of the creation of the song that Rantz had discussed with me. I wanted it to be inclusive of that and my personal identification and experience with those ideas.
Some of the song is about the rich life of imagination of a creative person, and people's more mundane external views of them, so I wanted to reflect that in the composition of the layout. I discussed with Rantz the idea of splitting the page composition in two, and making the top half the part that suggests the untethered imagination of creative internal life, and the bottom half displays the an external version and charts in panels the artist at different stages of their life. This double composition gave the opportunity to have moments where the two narratives intersect ... thereby affording an opportunity to show a transformation at those points of overlap between action and imagination, and to blur the edges between the external and the internal.
In what way to graphic novels evoke the same reactions -- both emotional and physical -- as that of music?
Well, there are some interesting comparisons between them. Writing the story and creating the art for it, is probably parallel to the songwriter who writes music and lyrics and then performs it themselves. They both have a rhythm, and a narrative, and they both can communicate metaphorically and speak in iconography that can be very personal and universal and be open to individual interpretation.
In using images and melodies in addition to words, there seems to be inherent properties in those images and melodies that bypass a certain cerebral gateway and go straight to the core of a person. Perhaps because images and sound are more primal and early communication technologies than the written word. They tend to speak to a very direct part of us. And when you combine them with very carefully crafted wording, you have communication that engages both the right and left hemispheres of the brain making the experience a very "whole brained" approach -- something that engages our intellect and our intuitive and emotional responses, as well as something that engages the more recently developed parts of our brains and the more primal parts in concert. I imagine they have similarities in reactions from the readers, but also in the creative process and choices of the artist.
I write a full script for the story. And then I try to consider what will be the best visual way to communicate that story -- how to download it into the readers head in a way that bypasses their usual checkpoints and filtering process. This lets me use the art as another tool of the writing and gives me the liberty to develop a new look for each project. I can use the best choice of media, storytelling layout, panel rhythm or cultivate a new style and atmosphere to best communicate that particular story.
Often I may think of some visual choices while I am writing the script and I will include notes of those options in the script. But for each step of the way there is margin for improvement and spontaneity and epiphany.
The best example of my work like this is my most recent Kabuki story from Marvel called 'The Alchemy.'
In fact, much of the story is about characters that are cultivating the creative process in themselves and have developed specific principles and practical applications for doing this.