Tuesday, May 20, 2014

A Billion Years Too Late


A Billion Years Too Late

I think I was a few million years too late
My mind was out by the Orion nebula
A thousand years was not too long to wait

My body rooted to the stolid Earth
My will was flowering around a planetary nebula
I think I was a million years too late

I knew I was born from the core of a star
My thoughts shooting from the center like cosmic rays
A million years was not too long to wait

I’m empty, disconnected, where is my mind
It’s floating light years away, trying to bid an ancient planetary system goodbye
I think I was a million years too late

A tether like a fading radio beam
Connects me to you, across the light years, and I’ll see you again
A million years is not too long to wait

I’m empty here while my thoughts are spiraling at a superluminal rate
Around a spent galactic core, dying and sedate
Billions of years was not too long to wait
But still I think I arrived just a couple billion too late

This is the first of two illustrations I'll be doing for Brittany Ward's poetry book! As I mentioned in my previous post, I wanted to emphasize this idea of vast, nebular worlds in juxtaposition with the intimate, microscopic spaces that I find in Brittany Ward's poetry. I explained that I was going to use colors as a representation of that, i.e. blue/greens/ yellow-greens for the macro world and reds/oranges/yellow-greens for micro. This one represents the former, and I think it is so perfectly fitting with the poem it is illustrating. The imagery of the poem reflects concepts of vast distances, in space and in time. The observer in the poem is trapped and yet completely disconnected. There is this idea of spiraling, floating, fading, and dying. The poem is very empty, full of longing, regret, disappointment, and finally loss. The imagery was so clear to me, its complete detachment, but also the largeness of it all; the largeness of the years, the largeness of planetary systems, and the largeness of the stars. I wanted to express all this feeling and concepts so I used an encroaching landscape, massive in scale, with it and the sky filling the space; emptiness visualized through the composition. Then the distance is symbolized through the soaring comets in the sky; or they could also be stars as the planet rotates to represent the passing of time and to show that spiraling and spinning movement conveyed in the poem. Of course the entire piece keeps that movement fluid, as the all the contours flow in to and out of one another. Then the figure in the foreground is enmeshed to the earth, but also floating, so there is idea of trapped weightlessness. The intimate and small observer is entangled, fused, and then lost in this powerful cosmic reality.

Screencap from Europa Report 2013. Beautiful.
Something else I wanted to mention briefly was another inspiration for this piece, which came from the film Europa Report. It is an independent film that came out last year, and I just want to give a shout out to this amazing and beautiful film! Recommended to me by Brittany, it tells the story of the first manned mission to Jupiter's moon Europa in a documentary-style, point of view from the camera narrative. It is about the awe, the glory, and the sacrifice of discovery, a true work of science fiction! A very powerful film, even with its simple premise! What inspired me for this piece, though, was the landscape of Europa. The stark white, glacier cliffs loomed above the explorers in the film and stabbed the inky depths of space which went on and on and on. Not having a huge budget, the film was able to capture most effectively the power, the emptiness, the wonder, and the absolute hush of a completely alien landscape where no man has ever disturbed. I wanted to encapsulate some of that in my own piece, which, I believe, is so well expressed in the poem it illustrates as well. So, as you enjoy my piece and Brittany's poetry, also go watch Europa Report!

Well, I hope you've enjoyed this post! There is a lot going on at Danielle Pajak Illustrations at the moment, so keep checking back, as well as follow me on Twitter and Facebook! Don't forget Pinterest!

A Billion Years Too Late - Poem by Brittany Ward
He makes everything beautiful in its time . . . Ecclesiastes 3:11