The Traveler (2012)

This body of work is a series that was used for my final capstone project for the New Hampshire Institute of Art in 2012. The final body of work consists of ten works.

I wrote the following for my capstone paper which encompasses the theme:

We, as humans, have always attempted to find out more. We have always grasped for more and searched, endlessly, for more. The Traveler, who is depicted in my illustrative series, is no different. Though fictional, the traveler embodies humanity and its search for more. Are we alone in the universe? What started the “spark” that brought us to life? The Traveler flings his or herself deep into the recesses of outer space to explore these very same questions and to better understand what it is to be human…

…The Traveler continues on his or her journey, as does the human mind begin to explore regions beyond our galaxy, beyond what is “home”. Images of nebulas, dying stars, and unfamiliar planets once seen only through the lens of a telescope become readily available and within arm’s reach of a human. It is in this world that the Traveler may not have been the first for these commodities to become available, however, the sense that the Traveler is the first, as it is the first for him or her, is still heavily weighted. Bare eyes gaze upon star dust scattered over thousands of miles, showcasing an erratic cloud of color and texture. This is a first for the Traveler, who ascends into this journey alone, and that is all that matters.

To define this series as “an exploration of space” is the barest of terms, and the most generic at that. The Traveler explores space in a physical sense of upper atmospheres, vacuumed, pitch black darkness, and an undeniable unending coldness, but I attempt also to explore the usage of space in other means.

The Traveler as a character has many other purposeful traits:

The Traveler in and of itself is an exceptional character. The Traveler was definitely called “the traveler” and not “the explorer” because: A traveler’s travels can be never ending, and can be defined as “a person who travels or travels often”, while an explorer may explore an unknown or unfamiliar area. While the Traveler can be called an explorer of sorts, an explorer’s destination may be set and defined, and the ending destination may be a return to a place, where a traveler may not know where they are going or where they may end up. The Traveler is exploring space, but the where and what is unknown, and the journey is long and arduous.

The Traveler is also never revealed to be male or female. Dressed in loose fitting, large clothing, we never have anything to compare them to another male, another female, or another human being in general. The Traveler’s hands appear large, but only because of the gloves worn; the Traveler’s feet appear big, only because of the boots worn. Furthermore, the Traveler’s face is always obscured by a blindingly reflective mirror-like helmet. I had thought intensely about having the viewer see the Traveler “nakedly” once, but I discarded the image after much consideration. It is important for me, and for the viewer, to keep the Traveler’s identity a secret. While this perhaps creates a schism for a viewer to connect with a piece, unsure as to whether or not they can identify with the gender role of the Traveler, I believe it further allows the viewer to discard the ideas of gender in this particular society and their role in humanity’s existence. I believe even though this rift is created, it allows a broader range of viewers to identify with the Traveler’s search.