Sunday, June 6, 2010

The Eel Illustration Contest Result

The winner:

Runner ups:

I hate communicating with words. I hate having to sit down and try to replicate with words the thoughts in my head. I again did not win the art contest this time for The Eel but let me tell you, the person who did win, I love her design. It's a lot like what I was going for but done in a simpler way, though it didn't seem like she was going for the energy and strength I was trying to achieve based on certain lines in the poem. I guess that's the only thing I don't like about her submission. From my reading of the poem (doesn't that sound like something!) I visualized this eel as symbolizing something strong and vibrant and full of life and energy. Her image makes you feel sort of listless and peaceful ... like sitting by a creek on a hot, humid day, and watching the minnows dart around, and ducks floating downstream, and oh look there's an eel my it is hot today I wish I had a tall glass of coke with ice cubes clinking inside goodbye eel i wonder how coke was invented why are brown eyes never sung about but blue eyes are *yawn* Hm how odd. In the process of writing about it, I went from really liking her submission and thinking it brilliant in its simplicity to being more critical and rightly so. Just because it won don't mean it's perfect. Not that any artwork can be or even should aspire to be 'perfect'. OK MY POINT IS I am disappointed I didn't win. The flaw of wishful thinking is strong in this one. Based on the fact that my second attempt was a lot better than my first, more professional and complete looking I started to think I would win. ALTHOUGH the thought did occur to me that if I won this early in the game, there would be no chance of me winning any future contests because with so many people entering, how can John and his art editor helper judge really pick one person twice? It would seem unfair and the other contestants would smell a rat and maybe not participate anymore. Obviously though, the point of entering contests like this isn't just to win and/or get a monetary reward. Well winning in itself would be like getting told that to the 2 people judging the contest, you are the best and that's a good feeling to want. However, if I entered these contests too focused on just winning and trying to make something in a way that I would feel would make that win more likely it wouldn't feel honest and it would probably show through in some way and I probably wouldn't win anyway. So it can't all be about wanting to win. Also, if that urge gets too strong it could get sort of messed up ... in the morals/ethics sense. For instance, the first 3 contests were really not a big deal in terms of subject. Lolita, The Name of the Rose, were two works of fiction dealing with dark topics but still fiction. The Eel was a poem about a under appreciated creature of nature and relating it to an idealized vision of Woman. However, the FOURTH contest is the short stories of someone who was a victim/survivor of the Holocaust. I have requested the book from the library and if the stories do something to me inside I may or may not enter the contest. And if I do, I'm gonna smack myself upside the head HARD if any selfish notions of winning enter.

Anyway, back to my criticism of The Eel contest. I felt, after my repeated readings and the very very minor 'research' I did at the suggestion of John Bertram, that the poem had a crescendo, climax, and ebb. (Mimicking the motions of eels and bodies of water?) The beginning of the poem was slowly building up to something with visions of the eel swimming from distant places and being slowed down by narrow creeks and branch choked gullies, when with a flash and a torch in the middle of the poem the eel seems to burst out of nowhere and catch the narrator's attention, and the poem ends with the poet's musings and inner reflection of what he has seen. So I was trying to capture the middle part of the poem. The part that seemed to inspire the poet. I would've appreciated it if John and his friend had picked someone who caught that. Not saying that it should've been me of course. Just because I was trying to capture that doesn't mean I succeeded. My painting looks a bit flat and stagnant and lacking a feel of motion even though I was trying hard to get that. Then again, maybe I'm making the mistake of thinking my interpretation is the 'right' one ... ugh to me if that's what I'm doing! lolololol looking at the winning entry again, it reminds me distinctly of a dead woman floating in a pool. Just sayin!!! There is a lot I like about it though. I like how the water looks so sparkly and pretty and pristine with rainbows in it because the poem does make mention of a 'rainbow iris ... twin to the one framed by your lashes' (although I don't think it's scientifically accurate as to the natural environment of eels oh ho! look who's being all scientifically accurate!) and it's quite genius to show that you've caught on to the eel-Woman thing by using a strand of a woman's hair to symbolize the eel - it's like the reverse of what the poem does! Haha!

Seriously though, I shouldn't feel bad at all for not winning twice now because first of all, the point isn't winning. This type of contest is quite novel to me and is something I've always wanted to do but lacked the discipline to actually do on my own time. This contest effectively dangled a carrot in front of my nose and got me going. It has introduced me to obscure things that I would otherwise not have read and gave me a kick in the pants to read the book I've always wanted to read ~*LoLiTa*~. It makes me read more carefully and to really think about it, to try and understand it more - especially for The Eel because normally I just skim through poems. It motivated me to do background research (basic though it may be thanks to wikipedia it took me all of ehhh 15 minutes?) which was exciting because it made me realize that it actually did something! I actually felt I had a better understanding of the poem after reading about the author's past and his personality. Also it's just really fun and challenging to take words, find the main point or main feeling and make it into a visually pleasing or maybe purposefully not-so-pleasing picture.

Another thing is, I think me and John just have a different aesthetic. I like minimalistic and simple too but I also like to be more literal than abstract. (I wouldn't mind trying for the more abstract though because I like how it leaves you guessing and wondering!) All the winning images he's picked have been computer generated which I cannot and don't want to do. I like painting with real paints and paper. My ideal is painting for children's books or better yet 'Children's' books you know the ones that for ______'s sake are labeled as being for children when really anyone who is literate and has a soul reads and loves. I love the rich colors and textures of HP and aSoUE but the covers he's picked look like required reading for Intro to Early Eastern Italian Literature in the Period After the Renaissance and Before the Great Religious Massacre of 88'. So any school teacher or Children's book publisher who wants to host a similar type of contest with a good-sized carrot on a stick lemme know!

Read about it here.
The next contest here.

oh hi again. you thought I was done didn't you. Just wanted to say that after posting the picture, looking at it again, suddenly I love it again and feel like I could write another blogessay about everything that's good about it. oh brudder i hate writing.
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