The Art Of Jared Pullen, Soulful Savage

The Art Of Jared Pullen, Soulful Savage

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Freaky February! Creature & Environment Illustration that teeters on the 'Edge.'

Spoooky Freak WIP

It's Fiendish... it's Freakish! It's February! Welcome to the first 'Freaky February', in which I indulge my freakish side and explore the weird, the bizarre and the somewhat unsettling all in the name of art. Keep an eye out for my Spoooky Freak coming down the track; an illustration that for me skates the razor fine edge. What originally started out as something for a studio project, and something I'd call diabolical, (and would have been more-so if I'd followed through to finish it) I've altered in keeping with my own sense of values. No longer are there heaving naked babies augmented with it's sinews! This one pushed my sensibilities, but I feel the need to talk about it and offer an example. So yes, values and ethics... we'll talk about them and the intent behind a work later I'm sure, but for now I'll leave you with this freakish teaser of this eerie character here.... he certainly makes me feel nervous. So hang in there, 'cos February is about to get a little freaky...

Spoooky Lobby...

Gunter: The Spoooky Bellhop...

"Stooped on the threshold, the withered bellhop clasped the iron door cage, peeling it back with a livid hand to admit me. At once I was rigid with fear, all resolve choked from my marrows as I stood there, bereft of courage, as he bid me enter with a mangled finger. That sound again... a sickening squelch from the putrid eye set within his hat as it swiveled to take me in; a clouded lump of meat, yellowed and scored. I stifled a gag as the creature's fetid odour assailed me. To my horror he stirred as if to speak, but from his throat issued forth a wet rattle, dire and foul; the words came like the grinding of gravel and ash, "Ggoing... downnn???"

Steeling myself I quietened the voice within that begged my heels to turn away and entered the lift that would take me to the lowest levels... and all the while that eye studied me, watching, unblinking... taking the measure of me in ways I could not fathom."

Excerpt from my 'Spoooktown Showdown' novella. Copyright Jared Pullen 2009

So ok... this bellhop guy makes my skin crawl, as do the environments presented here, but let it be said that everything you see here has been dialed back all the way from 'Producer 11' :) This is a taste of what was unleashed when I operated outside of my comfort zone in 2009. Sure I feel the visuals are compelling, even stirring, yet when laying 'paint to canvas' and coming up with the broader concept... something felt 'wrong'. It was like there was a voice warning me not to pursue; not to 'get in that elevator.' Well I did, but the one thing I am glad of was I didn't go all the way to the basement... despite the project calling for it, or more accurately: despite the need of the one steering the project to see it go there. 

Spoooky Reception Hall...

You've heard that word the Top End might throw about when the way forward stylistically is unclear to them; 'Edge'. Yeah... good old 'Edge'. It's cousins 'Gritty' and 'Dark' are never too far away when 'Edge' is on the loose, and you can rest assured that Edge is usually the first stop on many inexperienced Exec Producer's and Art Director's fave destinations list. In order to create something cutting edge and unique, 'edgy' is often the direction from the top, and usually this happens at the expense of other style options that may prove stronger and more memorable in the long run, but lack that shock value.

Edgy treatments don't bother me, what does is the steady and natural gravitation towards darkness and possible depravity that seems to occur when we are asked to engage in this space(as has been my experience.) Catch phrases like "Intimate Violence" have been pillars of games I've created visuals for, and on face value you might be thinking "suck it up Soulful, it pays the bills!" But let me ask you, why do we want 'intimate violence?' Why would any 'hero' character that you play need to stick a gun in an NPC's mouth to interrogate him and why does that seem to sell? Getting up close to inflict your move-set seems to be the go, but how far is too far? Is it something we actually want, or is it just on offer? If its what we honestly want, then what does that say about us as a species? It makes me wonder if it's really mass market driving these style directives, or whether its something else at play. Why does darkness appeal?
The scary thing that hit me when doing the art was just how easily these ideas came to me, and how easily I put all this together. The creativity just flowed; there were no obstacles, no visual challenges... it just came like 'that'. The answer is this... its so easy to go dark. It seems much harder and more challenging to do what is good and right. If ever there was a life lesson, it's that one :)

I did what was asked of me but in the finish I regretted it, and ended up changing alot of the art for my folio. I got in that elevator man, and rode it to the ground floor, but eventually punched the brakes and escaped through the crawl space! But after I changed the art I realised something else too... that even though I'd altered it, the germ of the idea behind it was still there. It still had its roots in the dark.
I wanted to share this with you for a good reason, and the message is this; if it makes you uncomfortable, don't do it... find another way altogether, stick to your guns, because in the end no amount of money can buy back what you give up; your values, perhaps even your core beliefs....your principles, your design ethos... your very identity in many ways. Dramatic? I feel its important. There is so much darkness out there and its message is always the same... there's nothing unique about that. Stay premium Peoples, and never compromise on the important things. I learnt that one the long way :P
Super keen to hear what people think... is this just me?

Listen to the Soul: remember always what is most important, and never compromise on it. Defend that like a Savage.....

J S Pullen

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