I come from a family of storytellers. I’ve grown up listening to my family spin yarns late into the night, fact and fiction blurring together with little care as long as it made for a compelling tale. As long as I can remember I’ve looked for a story in things, which is what originally drew me to history. Learning about other cultures, how they formed and interacted through the passage of time has always been a fascination to me, but it’s not my true calling. Expressing myself through visual art is vastly more fulfilling, and now, I’m able to use my artistic talents to bring my stories to life.
This dual interest is what helped spawn; A Journey to Padhara, which is a mock cultural research guide that explores a fantasy world of my own creation. Taking inspiration from history, I’ve drawn from many real-world cultures and have constructed two distinct fantasy races, the Maharen and Fonglai. My show explores the themes and concepts that differentiate the two cultures. Coming from a background of storytellers, I didn’t want my text to feel cold and clinical. To counteract sounding pedagogical the book is narrated by an author character. This personality of the character imbues expression into the text that gives it an inviting, lively feel.
My original written content is paired with digital illustrations that incorporate techniques and elements from traditional media, such as watercolor and ink paintings. Using a digital medium to simulate traditional watercolor paintings may seem counterintuitive, but I enjoy the freedom and flexibility it affords me. With an emphasis on creating an antique look through expressive linework and a muted color pallet, my work evokes feelings of leafing through an old historical text. The style I have chosen is not wholly realistic, yet I feel helps convey the otherworldliness of these races and cultivates a sense of wonder.
The end goal for my senior project is the dearest wish of any storyteller; to entertain and to make the unbelievable seem believable. My passion for history and learning from other cultures is what inspired this body of work and my artistic skill is what made it a reality. The stylistic choices I’ve made add further credibility to my book, their loose quality and weathered appearance driving home that this is a journal that has seen it all. Through my book, I invite the viewer to journey into an unknown land, becoming acquainted with all the beauties and hardships that inherently exist in any culture, even the imaginary ones.
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© 2020, Anna Kimpling, All Rights Reserved
- Date submitted
19 July 2022
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