Ghosts (2016-2020)

This project is a bit near and dear to my heart. In a way, it sort of formed itself through stylistic choices, repetition of backgrounds and textural elements, and the movement of the character through the images.

Essentially I wanted to give an almost tangible weight to a memory, described in two ways — thick, bold, angry, precise, heavy, and never faltering. And then light, airy, fleeting — like catching the scent of something that reminds you of days past. Since I had cultivated my good versus my bad, I also wanted to create a piece or two where the line is not so clear as to whether this memory, this episode, is a traumatic piece of pain or a searing reminder of happiness lost. What is happening in the actual piece is different from what is remembered in this glowing memory — good or bad — and is delivered a lot like a day dream may be. There is a disconnect, but not. The character lives on forever haunting past traumas and hopeful dreams of better days, so much so that he disappears from the present.

There’s something in dark-beautiful romance that draws me to it. There’s a push and pull of relationships, whether they’re between two people or a person and a place, a person and a memory, that often has me working. It is in this dark-beautiful solemn sort of romance that I find most of my inspiration.

Recently, I’ve been exploring the theme of memories. I prefer to refer to them as “ghosts”, haunting the future and infecting every bit of solace a person can find. These ghosts are particularly troubling to someone who may have found happiness, once, as the subject of my illustrations have. While struggling through anxiety and depression, these ghosts are blistering reminders of fragments of time that were so bitter-sweet, fleeting, and impossible to grasp a second time. These memories can be painful, physically scarring or emotionally leaving a mark such as in Wounded or Hunted, or they can be calming, leaving the subject wishing for the better, easier days of time past, like in Windswept. They can be bolstering, like in Ghost, and they can leave long-term lasting effects like skin or hair pulling in Trichotillomania.

Further inside, exploring traumas can develop into sensitive topics the subject does not want to speak of. Rife with traumatic memories of abuse, mental illness, violence, and addiction, the subject may attempt to subdue memories of encounters that have stained him. In these hard-felt memories are bits and pieces of a lifetime perhaps not entirely chosen by him, but for him, as a sensitive empathetic person, chosen by a difficult society that forces him into solitude by berating him: real men don’t cry, real men don’t feel emotion, real men don’t care. Suck it up and move on, precious.

Like anyone suffering from depression, anxiety, PTSD, or any culmination of mental disorder, moving past traumas and memories of the past can be incredibly difficult. Attempting not to be defined by past traumas is an everyday battle — tripping you up at every moment, making you pick apart things you once said or did endlessly. Could it have been done differently? Why can one person keep making the same mistakes continually? When does the pain and suffering finally end?

This project is seemingly on going. There are other images that fit within this project theme, but may not fall within the stylistic choices of some of the set. Images will continue to be uploaded as they are completed.