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About Traditional Art / Hobbyist Premium Member Jerek TuckerMale/United Kingdom Recent Activity
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Jerek Tucker
Artist | Hobbyist | Traditional Art
United Kingdom
Current Residence: Planet Earth (occasionally)
Favourite genre of music: Anything not involving Cleo Laine or 50 Cent
Favourite photographer: Mapplethorpe
Favourite style of art: Abstract Expressionism
Operating System: Windows XP
MP3 player of choice: iPod Video
Shell of choice: MeShell My Belle
Wallpaper of choice: Woodchip
Skin of choice: Any colour, any shade, so long as it's hairy and involves full coverage...
Favourite cartoon character: Turanga Leela, Wile E. Coyote, Bugs Bunny (but only when he's dressed as a girl)
Personal Quote: "No matter where you go, there you are."
  • Mood: Tired
  • Listening to: Antony and the Johnsons
  • Reading: The Circle: Dave Eggars
  • Watching: Legend
  • Playing: the fool
  • Eating: peas straight out of the pod
  • Drinking: sapphire wine
OK. So... I've just uploaded two new pictures of Ruth (and her frind Kami). The two pictures share almost the same title and are really exploring the same subject. But they're not just variations (like the recent Ruth dances pics). They're actually quite different pictures.  So, why are there two of them..?

I thought it might be interesting to give a hint of how a picture comes into being from an idea, and in this case how that idea can be depicted in different ways, and how sometimes an idea can not quite work out but can spark another picture or a picture be tweaked to better portray the original idea.

'That was then. This is now.' started with me wanting to show what Ruth used to look like before whatever happened to her happened. I didn't want to just do a picture with a 'pre-happening' Ruth, though. Too easy. And perhaps a bit dull. On one of the previous Ruth pictures El-Loco asked whether I might do a picture which showed her 'before and after' like I did for Karen in 'Ghosts' and that was exactly the idea I had in mind. By now, thanks to Tomalee, we knew she'd been a dancer (still is!) so I thought I'd put together a picture of her 'now' with a portrait or photo of her 'then', perhaps performing, which would not only show her face but could also be a poignant revelation of the big change she's undergone.

So I thought about it some more and the seeds of 'That was then. This is now.' germinated. What you see in the first picture is pretty much the original idea - Ruth 'looking' at herself on the poster. I was taken with the idea that I could show her in a physical attitude of 'looking' (which she obviously can't do any more) which would indicate her internal imagination at work - she adopts the pose of 'looking' even though she (unlike us) is only 'seeing' the poster internally...

Well, it sounds complicated when I try and explain it! And it proved to be so in the execution too. And, to be honest, although I think I've captured what I originally set out to do, as I went on with the picture it never quite came together. It's a pretty good rendition of the original idea, but I'm not completely convinced that the idea is right, in that it doesn't really show that 'external / internal' parallel clearly enough. I worry that people will look at it and just say 'well, she can't possibly see the poster, so why is she 'looking' at it?'. :)

Maybe it works. Maybe it doesn't. You can probably tell better than I can! The point is that while I was struggling with it and trying to make it work I had another (perhaps better) idea of how to use the poster. Hence the second picture.

I'd been thinking about what I could do with Ruth and Kami in the later 'chapters' of 'A Day In Ruth's Life' and one of the ideas I had was that the ballet company for whom Ruth had been a prima ballerina would do a benefit evening for her with all proceeds going to her rehabilitation and independent living fund. And that Kami and Ruth would be going to that benefit performance as guests of honour in the evening of 'The Day in The Life...'. It would be a very glitzy affair with limos and a red carpet, celebrity guests and the full monty.

I loved the idea of Ruth and Kami getting dressed up, preparing for the evening, working out the logistics of it all so that Ruth could be the guest of honour as independently as possible - getting out of the limo, processing down the red carpet on her own, beautifully dressed and loving every minute of being the centre of attention (even though most of it she wouldn't actually experience directly!). It would be very right for the character that Ruth has become in my mind - a brilliant way for her to demonstrate to the world in no uncertain terms how far she'd come and how independent and capable she still was despite her losses. No carrying. No wheelchair. No compromises. A sister, doing it for herself, never mind the lack of limbs and senses... :)

So I'd found a way of depicting that red carpet scene (which I really wanted to do) and to show Kami (which I also wanted to do) and still to show the pre-happening Ruth so everyone knew what she looked like! And that's how 'That was then. This is now. Again.' came about.

This time it wouldn't be Ruth who was looking at the poster - she couldn't see it anyway and she'd be otherwise engaged, excited, happy and concentrating on getting herself up the red carpet unscathed. This time it would be Kami that would see the old Ruth suddenly, unexpectedly, and I thought it would be really touching if we were reminded of the true immensity of what's happened to Ruth through the eyes and in the reaction of her best friend.

So that's why there are two different pictures of what is basically the same original idea!

Right, now, back to 'Part 3'. :)


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mautheil Featured By Owner Jul 19, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Jerek, thank you for the comments and the many :+fav:. You made me happy for the rest of this year ! I wasn't certain that you loved my art, but you certainly know how much I love yours, especially the hand-made drawings.

I didn't post comments or suggestions about the headless Ruth because, in my own taste, a beautiful girl is firstly a beautiful face, but I've been happy to see that several devs have sent comments or suggestions and that there's been a constructive discussion about this topic. BTW, years ago, I've seen a headless woman (with all four limbs) and a bodyless woman, but of course, they were fakes. It was at the 'Foire du Trône' in Paris, in the sixties or seventies.

All the best,

Maurice :) :#1: 
jerek-uk Featured By Owner Jul 20, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
No problem, Maurice. I should have done it before! :) (Smile)
jerek-uk Featured By Owner Jul 20, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
No problem, Maurice. I should have done it before! :)
M3lanie Featured By Owner Jul 11, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
*Bounces eagerly*
I can't wait; you MUST tell me: How is part 3 of Ruth's life coming along? xD
jerek-uk Featured By Owner Jul 11, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
It's coming along. :)

Twelve hour working days don't help. But I am working on it. There might be a bit longer wait for further parts - parts 1 and 2 were written over a long weekend so I had more time. I'll post it as soon as it's ready! :)

In the meantime keep your eyes open for another couple of pictures which are on the way...

M3lanie Featured By Owner Jul 11, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Sweeet :D
No pressure - Keep up the great work :3
drawitbig Featured By Owner Jul 10, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
I have a question, but what motivated you to come up with Ruth?

I don't have anything against her, but is there some sort of message you're trying to get across? Trying to see what makes a human a person? Or is it just for fun?

Whatever the reason it's fine by me; I'm just a little curious as to why you created her. From my personal experience, when someone does something that's a little out of the ordinary there tends to be a reason as to why they got started. Sometimes there isn't, but sometimes there is.

Whatever the reason: keep doing what you're doing. 
jerek-uk Featured By Owner Jul 10, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Hi and thanks for the comment, and the interesting question. :)

If you've dipped into my gallery at all, you'll know that I an attracted to and fascinated by limblessness and, particular extreme, limblessness - where the limbs are gone completely. I've explained in previous journals why that is, but, briefly, part of the fascination or attraction for me is the ability of the characters I portray to exceed the expectations of other people (or even themselves!) of what they should be capable of. I find it hugely moving to 'see' those people living strong and independent lives, despite their amputations. 

I took the liberty of checking out your journal and I go along completely with what you say there about objectification - I'm very concerned that my pictures should be of 'real', believable, autonomous people rather than 'objects'. They're usually in control or striving for independence for that reason. And I find that striving for independence and autonomy in the face of physical constraints extremely attractive. I also like the contrast between a past existence without those limitations and the current state, as that suggests a psychological strength as well as physical ingenuity.

So, often, I have to imagine or think up ways for a completely limbless person to do things that others would take for granted - so that I can portray them in that way. That's become an enjoyable challenge. The challenge (and the enjoyment) is obviously greatest where the limblessness is most extreme and therefore the normal mechanisms for manipulating and affecting the person's surroundings are most absent.

I've added some sensory deficit to limblessness in the past occasionally - blindness, forexample. This obviously adds to the challenge and to the ability of the person to adapt and transcend their situation. 

For some time I've been playing with the idea of an even more extreme sensory deficit - the sensory equivalent of total limblessness if you like. At the back of my mind I've always had Paulette from the horror story The Surgeon's Tale, but there have been other influences too - a story of xyzzy2112's, some of Gamera's characters...and others. And so the idea of Ruth was born - limbless but also headless, and therefore lacking even the ability of a 'normal'  limbless person to grip or hold or manipulate things with their mouth as well as sight, hearing, taste and smell.

I don't claim the idea as original at all - in fact when I posted Ruth a rash of other limbless headless characters emerged, both before and after Ruth's creation - from VulcanKnight to M3lanie to Blackspeedk. :)  But I was really struck by two things - two challenges  with Ruth. The first was the usual one of seeing I could believably portray a person living an independent, autonomous life in such a terribly reduced state. The second was to do with the lack of identity that a headless (therefore faceless) person would experience; to go back to your point about objectification I really wanted to see if someone who has almost literally been reduced to an object could still be seen as the complex, vibrant, beautiful personality I was imagining her to be. 

Plus I really wanted to see what Ruth would look like, move like and what she might be able to do! :)

Of course the third challenge was the best - when Tomalee suggested she should be a dancer. I absolutely HAD to rise to that one! :D

Wow. That answer turned rather longer than I'd expected! Hope I didn't bore you! And thanks for taking the time to comment! :)
drawitbig Featured By Owner Jul 10, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
Oh okay.

You do a good job of keeping them people instead of objectifying them, and you are right, it does take a lot of strength. I'm not an amputee, but I would imagine that it would be tough to pick yourself back up and move on.

Truthfully, I like to do that to with some of my characters; like you said, it is fun.

I've heard of those two guys before, Gamera's nice but I haven't spoken much to XY before so I can't say if I like him or not. I like Gamera's work better than XY's because Gamera's work seems to be more alive, vibrant, and interesting to me than XY's work.

I know what you mean by character surges and those challenges. I think Ruth would need some help, but I'm sure she could figure out how to do a lot on her own too. I know what you mean by creating headless characters; some people think that they are less work but in reality, they are a little harder to do even if they're like my version of a headless character. It's possible for them to be seen as such, but it might be a little hard to get the message across.
M3lanie Featured By Owner Jul 6, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
*grins* Thanks for the faves! :3
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