Rock Bottom : Post 04 – Maya Plisetskaya

Maya Plisetskaya’s family was sent into turmoil when her father was taken away and executed for their Jewish heritage. Soon after his death, her pregnant mother was sent to work in a labour camp. Throughout this, Maya lived with her aunt and trained hard to pursue her passion – dance. She became the prima ballerina of the Bolshoi Ballet of Moscow and her success eventually allowed her to dance well into her sixties.

ROCK BOTTOM is a celebration of the now-famous survivors of human tribulation. This series of illustrations depicts “rock bottom” as a place where the successful nurtured their ambition and took risks that eventually propelled them to succeed.

Panorama Series

Every now and then, I bring out a sketchbook to supply me with a good reason to sit around and people watch. Whether it be from my former dorm room window on Bloor overlooking the Spadina Avenue intersection (seeing people the size of ants, and buses that circle the station like idle caterpillars) or from across the street from my family’s home in Ottawa (greeting the neighbourhood dogs and their human doppelgängers).

These are the first few pages of what will be a collection of observational line drawings of the places I visit, lurk, wander, and think.

New Scanner

After much deliberation, I finally invested in a better scanner! For the past few years I’ve been using a scanner that has taken to “enhancing” scans by pumping up contrast – turning pages bright white and yellow like dog’s pee on snow. Hopefully, this scanner (the Epson Perfection V600) will prove itself worthy. This is a test scan of a polaroid taken by my brother, Eugene, at OCADu’s 98th Graduate Exhibition. More on that later…!

Rock Bottom : Post 03 – Frida Kahlo

Mexican painter Frida Kahlo was eighteen years old when she was in a terrible traffic accident leaving her with injuries that plagued her health for the rest of her life. From her hospital bed, she learned to draw and paint. Her pain and suffering were subjects she frequently painted into her self-portraits.

“I paint flowers so they will not die.”
– Frida Kahlo

Frida was one of my favourite subjects to capture for the “Rock Bottom” series. Partly because of the amount of pretty flowers I was allowed to draw for the illustration, but also because I challenged myself to draw a portrait of Frida without including her signature and loved unibrow. It was also a question of how to draw Frida without making the final outcome look too reminiscent of a Frida Kahlo self-portrait since her own paintings encapsulate many of the same aspects I had to address for my thesis project.

ROCK BOTTOM is a celebration of the now-famous survivors of human tribulation. This series of illustrations depicts “rock bottom” as a place where the successful nurtured their ambition and took risks that eventually propelled them to succeed. 

Rock Bottom : Post 02 – Malala Yousafzai

At fifteen years old, Malala Yousafzai is the youngest nominee of the Nobel Peace Prize. Due to her role as an educational and women’s rights activist in Pakistan, Malala was targeted by the Taliban and subsequently shot in the head. The worldwide attention she gained from the ordeal has caused many influential and powerful people to help her with her cause.

ROCK BOTTOM is a celebration of the now-famous survivors of human tribulation. This series of illustrations depicts “rock bottom” as a place where the successful nurtured their ambition and took risks that eventually propelled them to succeed.

Rock Bottom : Post 01 – Alice Walker

“The Colour Purple” featuring Alice Walker (author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning book of the same name) is part of a thesis series titled “Rock Bottom”.

“The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don’t have any.”
– Alice Walker

Alice Walker was accidentally blinded by a stray BB gun bullet when she was eight years old. Due her fear of being bullied and the apparent scarring in her right eye, she withdrew socially and isolated herself in her parents’ fields where she honed her reading and writing skills.

ROCK BOTTOM is a celebration of the now-famous survivors of human tribulation. This series of illustrations depicts “rock bottom” as a place where the successful nurtured their ambition and took risks that eventually propelled them to succeed.