Never surrender - Toby Stephens - Mixed media illustration on paper - Black Sails fanart

The symbolism in my art

Every artist (of any type of art btw) always infuse his personality in his creations. And wether he’s conscious of it or not, that includes some symbolism. That symbolism can be personal, universal, hidden or very obvious. Personnaly I like to mix all that, and I’m mostly very consious of what I say when I draw. I’m also aware that my inconsious also speaks whithout me knowing it, so even with a simple portrait, I think we could dig in my mind. You could ask : why this character, why this look, why this colors, why this angle, why …? Which is something that I love doing, trying to guess who the artist is with what he’s showing us.

I’m going to tell you a little more about some of the symbolism I like to use, but first, let me tell you why I’m coming with this particular subect. Last week I had a weird discussion on Twitter with a rather shifty person, and that got me a bit angry at first, but then very interested by the deeper answer to her (sorry) stupid question. Just let me add here that I never think any question is stupid, except if the question is meant to trigger an argument. I love passionate conversations, but I really hate when people try to start a fight on purpose. And some people looove to fight. And here is the art that this non conversation was about 

David Tennant and Michael Sheen - Color pencil and white Posca pen on toned tan paper

When I posted this drawing, I received nothing but lovely comments. But that doesn’t mean that I’m not aware that people may hate it, I don’t care. But here that was different. This someone left a half nice message saying that she liked it, but was curious about the what this drawing meant. And then, she add that she wanted to know what the symbolism behind the colors was because it got her confused. When I read that I instantly felt the trap and the person ready to start a fight, and that was confirmed by what I saw on her profile pic and twitter feed. And I won’t lie, the first answer that came to my mind was “what is confusing you when I post 2 characters notoriously represented as gay, calling them husbands, with a big rainbow on them ?”. But even when I’m annoyed, I really hate to dismiss people like that, so I came with a better answer which was that the symbolism could be anything that she’d like, and that I didn’t felt like I had to impose my personnal meanings to everyone else. Which is true ! I have my motives to draw something, and people can feel and imagine whatever they want, and that’s true for any kind of art ! Well … She didn’t like my response. She answered by both trying to make me feel bad, and taunting me. She couldn’t believe I had the nerve to not answer to her as she wanted, because more famous artists than me genuinly cared when people asked them about their art. Ok, I’m very mean, and very unfamous. But I guess that if I had ansewered “THAT MEANS THEY’RE GAY” !! I would have been something else equally bad.

(if at this point you’re still reading, and like my story, thank you so much, and don’t hesitate to tell me what you’d like me to talk about ! <3 )

Now let me tell you MY real symbolism and meaning behind this drawing. Maybe you already know me, maybe not, and if not, you can take a look at my portolio to get a better idea if what I do and love. So, I love people, I love epic stories, and I love friendship stories as much as I love love stories, and gay, bi, straight or whatever interest me equally because they’re all sexy and interesting. By the way, I love fanfictions and I have a hard time findind the perfect word to say what I feel when I see what kind of pairing fanfiction writers or fanartist come up with. I would say it’s something between so happy, stunned, and mesmerized. Seriously … Aragorn and Legolas, Sherlock and Watson, Sherlock and Moriarty (ok too many to count here), Crowley and Aziraphale, … Kirk and Spock ffs !! (that last one was a cupid’s arrow right in my heart). And aside of the characters and stories, I love colors, make a little magic with them, trying to play with light and shadows… At first I made a lot of black and white portraits. This was partly for improving my skills and also because I love how it looks on a tinted paper. But then I started to add a few colors, which I chose to represent what feelings I thought the character had. And at the begining of the year I did my first rainbow character, which was Emilia Clarke.

Emilia Clarke portrait 2 - Color pencil and white Posca pen on toned tan paper

The meaning of this was clearly : I hate winter !! I hate the beginning of this year, I’m having a hard time and I need Emilia’s gorgeous smile, beautiful eyes, and I even put a rainbow on her for more joy and light, because all that makes me feel good !! that was exactly that. Now, what do you see when you see her, maybe not that at all, and that’s perfectly ok ! For David and Michael, personnaly, I don’t really feel that gay vibe in Good Omens, I really feel a deep and sweet and weird friendship, but I love the idea of them being gay. On my drawing I chose to make a double rainbow that would unite them. Because rainbows are beautiful and magic, and because they are beautiful and magic. The fact that it’s a gay symbol is  a nod to the gay interpretation of their relationship (which may not even be just an interpretation according to some Neil Gayman’s tweets). Plus I called them, like everyone else, the “ineffable husbands” in my caption. So really, there is not much magical hidden meaning to what you see ! 

Generally speaking there aren’t a lot of secret meanings behind my simple portraits. If you want to make researches on my soul, you’ll have to take a look at my mixed media illustrations, because there I hide everything I want, and I’m really having a lot of fun with that. The one which is the most filled with references, hiddens meanings and symbolism is my Steampunk Priest. It’s almost a whole story that would happen in a devasted world after the end of Fleabag. You can find the obvious elements of the series, like the foxes, the statue, a fallen painting, … But also a lot of details that are not that obvious, like the attitude of the foxes and where they’re looking, their postures, the fact that the cathedral I took as a reference is the St Andrew ruins, why  are these northern lights like that, why I chose this posture and this particular gaze for the priest, why it’s fleabag on the painting, why a cherry tree. But I don’t know if I should deliver all my secrets to you because it would be so much cooler if you had your own explanations for all these details (and the ones that I didn’t even mention).

The Steampunk priest - Commission - Andrew Scott fanart

So, that’s it for today’s symbolism. I hope that was fun / interesting / or something you enjoy to read, I would love to know what you think about the meaning of art, yours if you’re an artist, or how you like to interepret others creations. And tell me if you’d like me to tell you more about some of my drawings !

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