OGR: Invisible Cities

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  1. OGR 08/10/15

    Hey Hannah,

    So Moriana it is then - the glam city with the dirty secret! I like very much some of your more recent thumbnails, because it's clear you're beginning to relax a bit more around the potential of Photoshop and the job of the concept artist. What I did pick up from your mission statement is that you tend to look at existing cinematic cities/visions for inspiration, and while inspiration does indeed come from anywhere and nothing is off-limits, it's likewise clear from your mission statement that, in design terms, you don't have your own visual concept - i.e. a set of visual or thematic ideas that will govern your choices in these last two weeks of the project. Just looking at existing cities - particularly those that are already fantasy - might be encouraging you to think a bit less creatively about the job in hand.

    It seems to me you need to find a way to express Moriana's dualism - i.e. that it has two faces. The description of Moriana's beauty recalls nature, and I think you might want to look at Art Nouveau as a style-guide: Art Nouveau, as an art movement, was associated with nature, but also with decadence, self-indulgence and a kind of 'moral decay' - in this way, Art Nouveau contains both ideas (life and decay): have a read:

    http://www.arthistoryunstuffed.com/defining-art-nouveau/

    Visually, Art Nouveau seems made for the likes of Moriana:

    http://www.morganstricklandantiques.com/wp-content/uploads/catablog/originals/Art%20Nouveau%20iridescent%20Loetz%20glass%20vase%20with%20applied%20teardrops%201.jpg
    http://www.zbynekvotocek.com/userFiles/5.jpg
    https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/236x/5f/96/96/5f9696282a3c71cd991804dbf63428b2.jpg

    Certainly, if you were looking to derive a series of forms/shapes/structures for your city, you might want to look at the forms/shapes/structures associated with Art Nouveau. Remember too that a city is made up of a range of buildings, some of which have higher status than others - so Moriana will have a 'seat of power' (where the Queen/King/Government reside), it will have a religious building (cathedral), it will have all the things that we'd find in a real city - and this is useful to think about because it opens up creative opportunities in terms of design - and certainly in terms of choosing which interior of which building to design; I see little point in a concept artist being asked to design the interior of one of Moriana's broom cupboards, for example :)

    So - in summary; you need a non-generic visual concept by which to clearly express Moriana's tension as a space. You also need to deal what is obviously highly decorative, sensual and nature-related about Moriana's architecture - Art Nouveau as a guiding principle might be a useful starting point at you seek to nail down your final 3 paintings.

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  2. Hi Hannah,

    Before moving onto to your work, apologies for not being as attentive as I should be. I've been crazy busy with work as of late, and I can't always find the time to comment on everybody's work.

    Anyways, I can see that the duality of Moriana is something that you find particularly appealing. Whilst 'duality' by definition would imply they are distinctly independent from one another, you should try to design these sides as two faces of the same coin, and not two entirely unrelated environments. They should share certain notable traits, whilst simultaneously contrasting in other ways. Like identical twins, for example. They may share the same eyes, ears and nose, but they've got seriously opposing dress sense or opinions on the order you should eat a Muller Corner. Simultaneously identical, yet unique.

    There is some very decorative imagery throughout the extract. It would be worth taking some time to explore the more intricate details of the city. Sentences like "the alabaster gates transparent in the sunlight" are particularly evocative. The visual description of Moriana's alternate side is equally as compelling. A strategy that may help to breath some life into your interpretation of the city would be to imagine these spaces earlier in time, before they became neglected and decrepit. "Pipes black with soot", why's that? Is this side an industrial sector? Is there a smog that clouded only one half of the city? "Blind walls with fading signs", signs for what? Previous businesses? Or propaganda? "Piles of tins", for what reason? Is Moriana rife with homelessness? Or is the more bleak side a giant recycling plant, working to manufacture the "medusa like chandeliers" that adorn the more luxurious side of Moriana?

    I'm looking forward to how you refine the two sides of Moriana, Hannah. Keep it up!

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