Sunday, April 17, 2011

Working on "The Stranger"

When I was asked by Mitch at OMGposters to contribute a piece to the ''Required Reading" show at Gallery 1988 I knew immediately which books would be at the top of the list for me to want to interpret visually. I've been working on a few drawings for a book related series of prints later this year, so I had ideas and sketches at the ready.

Albert Camus' novel "the Stranger" is one of those books I read in High School, re-read in college a few times and then picked up again recently. For such a short read, its a powerful book. Exploring Camus' concepts of absurdism and existentialism, the main character, Mersault, an Algerian Frenchman is sort of sleepwalking through his life- nonchalantly showing up at his mother's wake in pajamas and smoking a cigar at the beginning and then committing a murder almost casually at the climax. The murder scene of the Arab being shot on the beach describes the heat and the sun being the main concerns for Mersault rather than the potential threat of a knife-wielding assailant. I knew that I wanted to use this scene for the poster / Faux Book Cover.

I've been drawn to making abstract skyscapes/landscapes over the past year or so and this seemed a perfect opportunity to do it in a different way. I went through a few different versions, some showing Mersault vividly drawn rather than a chunky silhouette, some with him standing over the body of the dead Arab. In the end I kept stripping away information- until you are left with the scene of Mersault wandering down the beach after the murder, staring at the sun and the beach.

I'm pretty happy with the result- I used a transparent metallic gold/yellow that really worked nicely on the second layer.

Thanks to Mitch Putnam, Rob Jones and Jensen at Gallery 1988 for the opportunity.

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