After artistic enlightenment through technical exploration, I found a little footing and some direction in what I wanted to do.
Within the theme of power and technology, I wanted to portray a future world in which the human race resides underwater.
Much of this idea is inspired by my love of the ocean, films by Jacques Cousteau and my interest in underwater exploration.
To further my research into the subject, various books were used as both visual and informative references.
From Above and Below by Brian Skerry and Yann-Arthus Bertrand, documents man’s interaction with and influence on/from the sea in a series of Highly detailed close up and stunning aerial photographs. I used this book both as a visual reference, and also to gain a better understanding of how man has been influenced and influences the Ocean.
After reading the books above and watching ‘Le Monde sans Soleil’ by Jacques Cousteau, I started working on improving my observational sketching, primarily drawing from photographs.
I found that during the process of the observation drawing, I began to refine my visual language into something definitive.
This Project, keeping within the theme of Power and Technology, has lead me to want to illustrate what the world might look like in the near future, if we had ventured into the sea to begin a new age of exploration and discovery.
Jacques Cousteau sought to do this to a certain extent. The Conshelf projects were intended to test whether mankind could live and work underwater comfortably, and it was after the third project, Conshelf 3, did Cousteau abandon this project, as he found it to be exploitative of the ocean and instead turned to conservation.
I want to illustrate what might’ve happened if the rest of the world had been as enthusiastic about these ideas and ambitions as Cousteau was. If his designs for underwater stations and submersibles had attracted the attentions of wealthy investors and global scientific institutions, who know how far developed the technology might have gone in the future. I wanted to try and glimpse into the future, from the ambitions of Cousteau.
After observing what Cousteau had created and what he had striven to do, I started working from my imagination, combining what I had learned with what I could create on my own.
I started illustrating Corals and other life in the Ocean, using a fine tipped black pen and watercolour paints, applied using a self-containing water brush.
I observed each detail that made up the shape and form of the coral, then I simplified it, making sure that it looked complex, but in an inviting way.
After observing and sketching both the natural and the man made, I decide to try and blend the two to create an image or three of what a future underwater station might look like.
After refining these ideas a little more I aim to produce a final piece, a Painting, fully portraying the ideas that have been previously mentioned. I would like to think of these illustrations as being part of something that doesn’t have to end in a final piece. I feel that these are simply the start of a longer project, one that I can see myself working on over a long period of time.