Diegesis: A Story to be Told

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Diegesis, as defined by Seattle Pacific’s 2015 illustrators, is the time and place in which a story takes place. These seven artists fit that noun in their own way. Each individual has a unique story to share and do so through their compositions.

Aesthetically when you first walk into the SPU Art Center you’re welcomed by cool and soothing colors that chromatically fit  with each artist’s showcase. This square of color creates a nice boundary for each Senior Illustrator’s work and is immediately intriguing in the traditionally stark, white, space.

When beginning to walk around and focus in on each individual artist, we slowly begin to find the thematic element of story in each artist’s work and composition. Though this show holds on to the similarity in the theme of story, the work has a wide range of what stories are told. For example there are adorable and animated woodland creatures by Bethany Peter which look like they could be distant animal relatives of perhaps Bambi and Thumper. This is contrasted with the dramatic and extensive work by Ashley Meisner who has forty digital illustrations, a completed movie poster and over one hundred pages of her drama-filled screenplay that showcases this fanatical world of animated wolves. It is quite astounding the amount of work completed by these budding artists, though one cannot help but notice the lack of originality despite the great quantity of work. Playful, fun, and intriguing, though lacking in creativity. This combination connects us to disney’s Balto and characters from the classic Bambi. They need the memorable originality that other artists presented in the show.

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Michal Ables displays his memorable compositions which go beyond our tangible world to demonstrate an imaginative world and beings. His claim for his story is the concept of a “story though pictures.” Though initially his story is not as clear as other artists, there is something truly beautiful about his digital illustrations. Perhaps it is because he takes familiar images such as the Grand Canyon and juxtaposes it with an unfamiliar creature. One thing is certain, compared to all of the work in this showcase, what is lacking in quantity for Able’s work, he makes up in great originality. Depth, form, color and composition all are wonderful aspects to Able’s work making him the standout for this show.

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Emily Morgan takes an approach to a more familiar story. Her composition is one that relates to the elder figure helping to educate the young. In her visual narrative, Morgan takes the story of a grandmother showing her grandson how to create his own imaginative story through watercolor. Emily uses the gray color as imagery between the flat and boring world, to the colorful and incredible world that you can imagine. The story is heart-felt, simple, yet very memorable. Overall, the work is nicely executed as well.

Some artists had stories that lacked a sufficient plot. Julie Carlson has incredible illustrations for her book she is compiling however it was more difficult to piece together what the pictures were in relationship to without the text. Similarly, Elizabeth Simpson created the premise for a graphic novel about two misfit characters. Her work shows a more conceptual process and the beginnings of creation, however it is difficult for the audience to understand the story that Simpson wished to tell with her compositions.

Artist Brianne Huges in her artist statement includes this quote;

“I think there are two types of writers, the architects and the gardeners. The architects plan everything ahead of time… The gardeners dig a hole, drop in a seed and water it. They kind of know what seed it is, they know if planted a fantasy seed or mystery seed … But as the plant comes up and they water it, they don’t know how many branches it’s going to have, they find out as it grows.” ― George R.R. Martin

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Huges is both an author and illustrator and utilizes both to create her story. In her work she took the time to, with wonderful detail, illustrate each character for her book. Though there was less narrative, it was easy to get a sense for these characters and what their personalities might represent.

Overall, Diegesis exemplifies the meaning, though some stories had greater impact and were more memorable. Each artist had a story to tell and though some might be more distinct and clear, it was evident that each story was personal and had great meaning to each individual. Diegesis is a show I recommend you explore. Look beyond the images and realize the deeper story in which they all tell.

-Heather Dunmoyer

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