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We Are The Contributors Project #3 : Alterego

As I mentioned in my earlier post, I was invited to take part and create art for the We Are the Contributor’s 3rd project hosted by  creators Sandra Harris and Melanie Biehle. These creative dyna-mamas conceived of and organized an online visual project where they invite artists to produce art in varying mediums based on a prompt. Here’s where to find their first project. and their second project.And soon this one entitled Alter-ego.

Yes, I’d been secretly hoping I’d be invited. I had borrowed some nap-time to take part in a quick challenge prior hoping I’d prove myself worthy. See the product of this challenge in the Rutabaga drawing and Pay it Forward post. And how thrilled ( and then panicked) I was to actually be asked to participate. I explained to my husband, this felt like a right of passage, an invitation to come out from hiding in a closet and join an artist’s community. Because I am equally a writer and an artist. I’ve just been focusing on the writing and arting in unconscious ways.

Charcoal and old encyclopedic maps from Shalavee.com

The name and prompt for this third project was Alterego. Essentially, we were to find our inspiration and our voice as someone else. See through another person’s perspective. This person could have been another part of me, a fictional character, or someone real. It required that I see something differently.

My first inspirations were for the format and the storyline. Graphic novel meets post-apocalyptic landscape. Graphic novels have framed picture windows (think comic books) and word boxes. And I love post-apocalyptic stories. The Handmaid’s Tale, Stephen King’s The Dark Tower series, The Road Warrior, and The Walking Dead anyone? The images I imagined were of a woman leaving the wilderness to rejoin society after the apocalypse drove her away. We can’t live off the grid forever and eventually, we need community. What I am feeling these days.

tree in pastels by shalagh for We Are the Contributors project on Shalavee.com

I based the arrangement on a central tree which I created out of pastels. That was the medium I had picked back up for the rutabaga project. I decided to mix mediums, the only other medium I am comfortable with being paper collage. I began story boarding. I wanted my character walking away from the compound she was living in. Cool boots and a cat skull.

However, I realized that, in order for me to be someone else, she would need to remain where she was. To stay stuck. And so the character stands at the window looking out on the tree and the world with her life stacking up around her. Entitled ‘The Leaving’, the woman has been abandoned by her lover but refuses to move on.

Woman at the window from The LEaving, collage by Shalagh for We Are the Contributors on Shalavee.com

Besides the use of pastels, I ripped pieces of encyclopedia maps, handmade papers, old sheet music, colored photographic mounting paper, and cardboard to create the three scenes.

Apocalyptic world from  The Leaving, collage by Shalagh for We Are the Contributors on Shalavee.com

My process evolved. I would create the scenes and then take pictures of them to place back into the piece. Taking the pictures, downloading them, selecting them, tweaking the photo’s color, and finally drawing the black marker line around the outside of the picture to create a frame was a big part of the project which involved going up and down staircases.

My craft room from Shalavee.com

This is my craft room on the West side of the house. No matter what, the natural shade light made things way too blue. Daylight is blue. Look at the floor’s light kick. So I had to head across the hallway and take pictures on the little desk in Fiona’s room sunlight filled room.

Fiona's Room from Shalaveee.com

Collage by Shalagh called the leaving from Shalavee.com

And yes the process was made even more complicated by a one year-old tearing through my un-babyproofed craft room. In fits and spurts, battling a near month-long cold turned sinus infection, I reached the point where I had tweaked the color and placement of the pictures to my liking. I had fussed with the word box placement and balance. And even fiddled with the background white chalk vine texture and placement of the tears/raindrops. And I said I was done. There was nothing more to be done.

The Leaving, collage by Shalagh for We Are the Contributors on Shalavee.com

I immensely appreciate this opportunity to step up and find out what my talents and imagination were capable of. This project was fun and tough and worth every moment of effort. There were unexpected hurdles and changes in direction and yet I knew, in the end, I’d have something I would be proud of. I can’t wait to see what the other contributors offered up. You can find the project posted here. Thanks Sandra and Melanie.

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4 Responses to “We Are The Contributors Project #3 : Alterego”

  1. kathy says:

    Really cool, Shalagh!

  2. Melanie says:

    Thank you so much for participating, Shalagh! I loved reading about your process here. Thanks for sharing it. xo

    • Shalagh says:

      Melanie, Sister you are a big inspiration to me. You are unapologetically grabbing your happiness as a creative. I admire that immensely and it is I who owe you so many thanks for the opportunity to see myself in a new light. I Enjoyed It!
      Love, Shalagh

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