this is on the opposite page (you can see the marker from the Spaceman sketch bleed through. This was a strange time for me. notto be overly sentimental, my mom had died and I was, understandably, working through that. The whole idea behind the Spaceman in Antarctica was to take this already remote image, of the astronaut all alone on his spacewalk, and put him on the remotest place on earth. the roadwork sign was something I actually saw, well, I'm nearsighted and the sign, I think it said workers ahead, but it blurred in my head to monsters. I was putting all these I guess, bleak and kind of hopeless images in my sketchbook.
This was a study that became the germ for the Spaceman in Antarctica.
I had an artist friend who, when she was working on a paper would have to get obsessed, spend like, whole days at the library, live with it, dream about it and then she felt like she could finally write the paper. I think I was doing that, I drew a lot of the different incarnations of Psylocke (and she’s had a few). If you’re not familiar with the character, she was the big sister to Captain Britain (the UK Captain America) who became a super-hero in her own right, joined the X-men, got chased through the Siege Perilous and came out the other side slightly twisted and Asian. There was a period in the between when she briefly took the role of the assassin, Lady Mandarin. There is something in the collective psychology at Marvel that requires every female heroine has to, at some point, have an evil incarnation: Jean Gray/Dark Phoenix, Storm/Vampire Storm, Sue Storm/Malice, Polaris/Different Malice etc. Lady Mandarin was the strange dark channel between Betsy Braddock and Psylocke, but I always felt she had been a slightly dull character and the edgier new version made her more compelling.
This was a study I did when I was working out the Psylocke picture. I wanted to do these riffs on superheroes, not so much what they would be like in the real world as giving them a context other than the spandex. For Psylocke I wanted to emphasise the Asian part of her heritage with the whole “action kimono” and give her a dark, slightly gothic look. (Another idea I had at the time was Karnilla (from Thor) by way of a Las Vegas showgirl, her old Kirby costume had a lot of parallel elements, that one never got off the ground, maybe one day I’ll come back to it). Anyway, I was working out the gothic parts. Halfway through though I realized I wasn’t drawing Psylocke at all, but Tasmia Mallor but that’s how these things go sometimes. (By the way that’s a dork test and if you know who Tasmia Mallor is, you failed)
I was somewhere in the middle of my twenties, I had taken the blue pill and found myself in a corporate job and I think I was at that place a lot of artists just out of school find themselves in where they have successfully translated their talent into a job that doesn't require them to ever actually touch a pencil, or draw or paint or do any of the things that ostensibly you would think a graphic artist might do. Like most slackers I found it hard to adjust to the rigors of the 40 hr a week schedule. After the initial push of not getting fired during my 6 month probationary period I settled into a kind of doldrums. I worked, I hung out with my friends and I guess I navigated through my first relationship. Drawing, always time-consuming, slid to the back burner. Then I reached that other point I think a lot of artists hit where you realise you still call yourself 'an artist' but it has, in fact, been six months since you picked up a pencil. This happens a lot to people at this age, you realise your favorite song isn't your favorite song anymore, when you talk to your best friend you realise you don't have that much in common, it's a really bittersweet time. You assess, you recalibrate, you reprioritize. I drew this just after the movie came out. In a lot of ways it was the easiest thing in the world for me, a beautiful woman in a kooky costume, it wasn't the frustrating struggle that a difficult piece can sometimes become, it was something I enjoyed doing, done solely for the purpose of being happy doing it. It was an enormous relief to know that I could still just draw and with that came the understanding that this was important to me, that I always wanted to be drawing, that I didn't want months to go by without doing it. I'm not saying it's a great drawing (though it is one of the ones I cringe least at, looking back on it) but it was sort of the perfect thing at the time in my life when I needed that particular thing, if that makes sense. We're both several years older and I guess I still feel a soft spot in my heart when I see it, no joke, it's what kept me in the game when I saw a lot of my peers let go and drop off.
I like to decorate envelopes I send out to my friends. I think it kind of brightens up getting the mail that day, plus, artists can get really precious about their work, acid free paper, lightfast colors; I think there's something very punk about drawing something on the back of a plain envelope and sending it through the wilds of the postal system and off to find its own destiny. The problem of course is, friends end up waiting months to hear from me cos a letter I spent 20 minutes writing gets held up in an envelope that takes 3 months to draw. I usually never see these pieces again, in fact I usually forget all about them. Recently a good friend of mine emailed me this, which, in fact, I had completely forgotten about, it was good to see it again. Battle-scarred for its travels, but mostly intact.
Apologies for the quality on this one, my only copy is actually a photocopy of the original which is why it looks, well, like a photocopy. I’m usually really good at keeping track of my artwork, this one just fell through the cracks I guess. When I drew this, back before the prequels came out, I always kind of wondered what Fett might look like under that helmet of his. I pictured he would have white hair and a lot of scars and look kind of craggy, but sexy.