CHOCOLATE + DYSTOPIAN

CHOCOLATE + DYSTOPIAN

CHOCOLATE + DYSTOPIAN

11.10.2013: Tate Modern, London — A crowd of 200 looks on as Juniper Skye and partner Huxley Luck expressively smash and rip chunks of city-themed detritus into tiny bits with various tools of destruction ranging from hands to hacksaws during their performance piece entitled Dystopian Chocolate. As they destroy, Skye and Luck vocalize pulses of emotion — sobbing, laughing, screaming, and whimpering alternatively with each destructive gesture. When satisfied with the rubble they have created, the artists begin an interpretive dance, flitting and twirling back and forth as they sort the debris into piles. Finally, with grace and flourish, Skye and Luck pour cut-glass pitchers full of smooth, luxurious molten organic chocolate over each pile they have created, mixing with their hands and feet.

Part two of this symbolic social commentary on the complexity of city life will be unveiled at Sotheby’s next week as the chocolate coated piles are melted down and manufactured as foil wrapped chocolate bars typically marketed to our trendy liberal upper-middle class. Branded as Dystopian Chocolate, available varieties will include “Urban Decay” (weather worn, life battered concrete and asphalt blended with bitter unsweetened dark chocolate) and “Gentrification” (sparkling shards of glass mingled with sweet white chocolate). These beautiful bars with their market-appropriate descriptions are of course inedible, and rightly so as they represent aspects and ugly truths of urban living that, according to Skye and Luck, are “hard to swallow”.

***

Pulled an all-nighter for the first time since college to knock this one out. I’m heading across the country for a head start on Thanksgiving vacation and will be without Photoshop, so I wanted to get one more post completed before my flight (for which I’ll be departing for the airport in about 6 hours). I shall sleep on the plane. Getting some practice in with the human figure and continuing to do my sketches/inking directly on the wacom without scanning drawings. This is still taking much too long. Went through numerous iterations of the chocolate coated rubble trying to get them to stop looking like steaming piles of something else altogether. This iteration is much more successful than the previous, believe it or not. I could say more but I’m dying to get some shut eye before I leave. Goodnight/Good Morning.

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CHEF + JUSTICE

CHEF + JUSTICE

CHEF + JUSTICE

The restaurant manager bit nervously at his fingernails while glancing back and forth between his newspaper and the door. The Chef Justice League had made headlines once again, terrorizing restaurants throughout the city for ethics violations such as reusing a fork that had fallen on the floor or pairing Merlot with scallops. Sweat broke out on the manager’s worried brow as he continued to read the story — he knew these culinary vigilantes would soon pay him a visit, but when?

Just then, the restaurant doors burst open and four angry chefs wielding threatening kitchen utensils grabbed the manager by his collar and thrust a fish into his face.

“You’re selling lies for dinner!” barked the angriest looking chef. “This isn’t Red Snapper; it’s Hungarian Skunk Fish! You’re a monster!!”

The Chef Justice League tossed the manager into a sack filled with all the impostor fish they had confiscated and disappeared into the night, leaving more than one diner looking skeptically at their dinner plate, and issuing a chorus of “check, please” from the rest.

***

Notes: Oh my stars, this took forever. Not this picture specifically, but in getting to this one. I started with an overly complex scene featuring five chefs, the manager, and full tables of diners. Part of being an artist is knowing when something just isn’t working and willingly scrapping dozens of hours of work rather than “beating a dead horse”, so to speak. While you can’t get those hours back, you learn important lessons like “simplify”; “Simple” is always better. Once I finally got my drawing and composition set for this one, the rest fell into place pretty quickly. I wanted to continue trying to integrate found textures and I’m pleased with the result for the most part. It’s amazing how many generous people offer their textures for use free of charge. I used a bokeh photo from “regularjane” on deviantART. Very helpful. Notice I haven’t gone back to the pen tool since the first time… that should be in my future soon, but I keep putting it off. Ah well, see you next week. =)