Wednesday, April 27, 2011

DIVA Magazine

None Upon Thars - DIVA

I recently created an illustration for UK based lesbian magazine DIVA. This art is for an article called "Gold Star Girls," that interviews 4 women on the notion of the "gold star."

So... what's a gold star girl? I had never even heard of the term until this article came along. Simply put, a "gold star" is a lesbian who has never had sex with a man. There's often a tendency to view a gold star as being the best kind of lesbian, and that they are somehow more special.

My brain couldn't help but make a connection to my favorite Dr Suess story "The Sneetches." Here are the opening lines to the story:

Now, the Star-Belly Sneetches had bellies with stars.
The Plain-Belly Sneetches had none upon thars.
Those stars weren’t so big. They were really so small.
You might think such a thing wouldn’t matter at all.

It shouldn't matter at all. Though a certain amount of awe is easy to understand. After all, who wouldn't want to be sure and confident in life and sexuality right from the get go? But, the impression I got was that the "Gold Star" is just another form of branding. Just another way to judge someone. What I love about the article is that it throws that label to the curb and gives it a good trample. (I make it sound harsh, but it seems Lulu Belliveau and the interviewees are more eloquent than I.) Each woman, coming from her own experience, made it clear that there wasn't anything wrong with being either or. We shouldn't put anyone on a pedestal because of their sexual behavior or experience. So forget about stars and whether you have one, or none, upon... yars.

My hope is that this illustration appears as confident, accepting and non-judgmental as the ladies in the article.

A fun technical aspect of making this illustration was composing it to fit in the unusual space that was predetermined by the designers at DIVA. Hurray for creative problem solving skillz.
I also played a lot with color before I came to the "not pink" conclusion. BUT IT WAS SO HARD. Cause, in pink, this girl looks truly-truly-truly outrageous.

Big thanks to Luciane Pisani for contacting me for this!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011


Erzsebet Bathory

An illustration I created during the trial period for another project. She'll never see the light of print, but I thought I'd share her here and spill some bloody historical details on you for funsies.

Elizabeth Bathory, or the "Blood Countess." A pretty gruesome lady.

Not a vampire, though sure to have inspired their myth, but a serial killer. A Hungarian noble women, born in 1560, to a family line known for it's cruelty; she was vain, privileged, and easy to anger. One of the more appalling details of her legend involves bathing in the warm blood of virgins to restore her youthful beauty. Her victims were young peasant girls and the daughters of lesser gentry spirited away to her castle with promises of work or higher learning. Her bloody-bath was never documented in any official capacity; based on the evidence recorded it's more likely she gained sexual thrills through blood and torture.

Though she was formally charged with the torture and murder of 80 young women, other testimony puts the number as high as 650. The number most likely grew due to time and embellishment. Much evidence against her was gotten through torture, so there's no telling what is true in this story or how much was skewed for political or religious purposes. On the other hand, the documented testimonies from survivors, the multitudes of missing girls and the evidence of human remains on her property is stunning to say the least. Once finally arrested, she was bricked into a small room in her castle and fed threw a slot in the wall until she died 4 years later in 1614. Whatever the truth may be, Erzebet's legend is a macabre one and she has gone down as the most prolific female serial killer in history.

If you really want to delve further into this bit of crazy-horrificness, I suggest this lengthy article on Crime Library, and of course wikipedia for the short of it. You'll find the story is always a little different depending where you look.
*nom nom nom*

The illustration is from the bloody vampire perspective. But I'm thinking it would be fun to do a more realistic portrait in the future.