Thursday, July 10, 2014

New World

Love the symbolic irony of this piece!
"For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God . . ." - Genesis 3:5

So, this is my first update of July. I know I skipped June, but with the Phoenix Comicon and then a two week vacation, I didn't have much time for creating new work. (Well, actually I did, but nothing I could have blogged about. Hehe.) I'm making up for it this month as I have gone full blown work mode! Must create all the things! The Sting Chronicles is in pre-production for our film; the film that will be the climax for our 2 season Youtube web series. We will be starting production pretty soon, and thus why I have been churning out posters, concept art, and storyboards. I actually wanted to do a Sting Chronicles post this month describing all the inner workings of my thoughts while creating these new works. However, I realized that would be giving too much away for the movie, so you all shall just have to wait to watch the film and then come back for my full in-depth conceptualizations. For now you can see my new work either via Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest. Actually on Pinterest I've started an Art of the Sting Chronicles board, where I shall eventually post up all the artwork I've done for the show. So, yes, follow me on Pinterest and see the latest from Danielle Pajak Illustrations! Also I started a Tumblr!

So. Bored. I guess it's time to break out
my plans for a new world order.
For now I'm going to go full on geek mode and completely freak out about my latest obsession, the anime series called Death Note. (Prepare for major spoilers and geeking out!) Death Note is about a young man named Light Yagami (very ironic), who is a handsome, spoiled prodigy and is completely bored in school, with people, and with life. Finding humanity to be disgusting as a whole, Light happens upon a notebook that he saw fall from the sky, simply called Death Note. Unbeknownst to him, a shinigami named Ryuk, a Japanese death god, dropped it into the human realm, for he too was bored. Immediately there is a connection drawn between Light and and this death god, Ryuk, and from that point on the table is set! Death Note is part of a shinigami's power that if they write a person's name in it, that person will die. Shinigami's use it on humans as part of a way to keep themselves immortal because they get that person's remaining life by doing that. It doesn't work the same way for humans, as in it doesn't extend their life, but they can still kill and control with it. Light, thinking himself a "chosen" one, decides he is going to rid the world of all that is rotten and evil about humanity, and usher in a new era of peace and, the crème de la crème, in this new age he would be the god! He begins to test and push the limits of Death Note and kills prison inmates, thugs, and all various sorts of bad guys while using this book. Of course, these mysterious deaths draw the attention, the awe, and the fear of the people of Japan and the world and they begin to call this unusual vigilante, Kira, the Japanese pronunciation of "killer." There is some debate on whether he is a murderer or a savior, but either way the powers that be find these abnormal deaths just a wee bit unsettling, and so they hire the world's greatest detective, who is simply called L. L keeps his identity hidden, but he has solved all that is puzzling, obscure, and bizarre in the world. No problem or riddle is too great for him. L, who is emphatically of the opinion that Kira is no savior, but simply just a killer, takes on the case, and in that moment L and Light become intellectual combatants, each desiring justice, each of them geniuses, and the whole story, basically, is a high stakes mind game between these two characters. It is. Amazing.

It is important that I described all of that to you in order to understand the art piece I've created. You see, Light is this character who sees himself, well, of the light. He thinks he is establishing justice and that he, out of everyone, is this special being who has the abilities and the heart to bring about a new world. Immediately Light has set himself up above all the rest, a god amongst mere men. As the plot and counter-plot thickens around him, Light becomes more and more deeply enmeshed in these beliefs of his superiority and godhead, to the very bitter end. Yet, in contrast, we have L. He is eccentric, childish, and obviously a little arrogant, but what I love so much is that despite everything, and that's a huge despite, L comes to actually love and admire Light. Light becomes his friend. It is basically a bromance! Except one of the bros is a psychopathic killer. Awesome, right? So, we have Light who continues further down the path of superiority, whereas L ends up down the path of humility. Now here's where it gets so awesome! In my absolute favorite scene of the entire anime, L deduces that he's going to die. He, himself, cannot beat Kira. He realizes that he has been outwitted, the great detective L, has in effect: lost. In the scene L stands in the rain (there always has to be rain) and Light comes to join him and they have a conversation of symbolism, before returning inside. Once out of the rain, they have to dry off, and L quietly begins to dry and massage Light's feet. A little awkward, (L's pretty awkward), but in that moment, I instantly saw this:

"Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going back to God, rose from supper. He laid aside his outer garments, and taking a towel, tied it around his waist. Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples' feet and to wipe them with the towel that was wrapped around him." - John 13:3-5

L takes the humble position. He doesn't see Light as his enemy, but as his friend. Once I was done bawling, inwardly of course, I realized that Light, in his delusions of creating a new world, was being shown a new world right then and there! Light feels he has to make the world a better place, because it is so evil, and so justifies his psycho killing sprees and self-worship in the name of that, but L, humbly, shows him an entirely different way. It is a way that submits, humbles itself, and yes, even lays down its life. Though L doesn't literally lay down his life, he does submit himself onto death quietly, deciding to show an act of love towards the very person responsible for his death rather than taking revenge or hating him. It is such a powerful and beautiful scene. Here are some caps just because I must share my love for this!

Oh my gosh! He's like an adorable, sad Japanese panda!

I'm totally unaffected by your adorable panda ways of humility, L.
So after all that analysis, yes, I shall finally show you my art piece:

Obviously, I wanted to create this "yin yang" effect in my piece as a way of contrasting the concepts of Light and L. Usually in the manga artwork, L is shown crouched down (because he has such bad posture hehe) and Light is placed on higher ground, but I wanted to flip that. I wanted to show the true state of things, as Light is chained to his world of death, while L is in the light, looking on, extending a hand towards Light in love. The top shows the shinigami Ryuk and a creature of my own creation, based on descriptions of the heavenly creatures described in the Bible. They have their hands extended out holding an apple. The apple has two connotations in the story, and the one I'm using it here for is the forbidden fruit, or contrary-wise, the fruit of the Tree of Life. "The tree of life was in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil." - Genesis 2:9. In Japanese culture the shinigami is a death god, that as wikipedia describes it, "invite humans toward death." Furthermore: "And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, “You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.” - Genesis 2:16-17. And: "But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” - Genesis 3:4-5. So, the shinigami Ryuk, like the Serpent, invites Light towards death, due to the lie in Light's heart that he can be like God. In contrast to this, the fruit of the Tree of Life leads to eternal life; and in the end of this story, as the credits quietly role, we see Light laying in the pool of his own blood, and before he closes his eyes unto death, Ryuk having written Light's name in the Death Note, the spirit of L stands looking on, humbly victorious. The name of the last episode of the show is "New World." (Commence uncontrollable sobbing. Inwardly, of course.) So, that's the name of my piece, New World, a title of irony for Light, but a title of truth for L.

I'm sorry for all the major spoilers, but you must go watch this anime! It is more than its twists and turns, though those are incredibly exciting and intense in of themselves. This anime excellently combines the supernatural with deductive reasoning, a detective story with a morality tale, and an intellectual thriller with a deeply meaningful story. Watch it! It's instant on Netflix! That is all. :-)

He makes everything beautiful in its time . . . Ecclesiastes 3:11