Arcaylis, Element of Land, Sea and Sky

Arcaylis, Element of Land, Sea and Sky (2007). This picture was drawn as a follow-up to 2005’s Enoxx, Season of Four Weathers. I used a wide range of magic markers for Arcaylis, the entire concept and execution coming when I was flat on my back for several days. I was sore for about two weeks, and my wife would make sure my illustration boards and bag of pens were within my reach before she’d leave for work, for the week I was bedridden.

Each section of Earth (the left and right parts of the drawing) as well as the Sky and Sea (top and bottom), were drawn on separate boards, the entire arrangement photographed in pieces and placed together digitally in post production. I didn’t have floor space large enough to lay the pieces as I envisioned them. Also, each piece was shot separately to get the best photo resolution possible.

The idea was to create shapes in absence, what we call negative space, where what’s missing in the drawing is as important as what’s present. Anyone who looks at this picture and sees four egg shapes is viewing negative space.

Each June I visited New York City, to buy the best quality markers I could afford. I bought in person because I wanted to hold the pens in my hand and see how the colors talked to each other. I would seek the warm shades that could reach across to cooler versions of like colors. One sense of judgement would say, no, these colors wouldn’t work together, while the actual physical presence of each was the determining factor as to whether the hues would work or not, when applied side-by-side on paper.

The center of Arcaylis is pure Enoxx, right down to the silver paint pen separating the colors and defining their shapes.

I’ve told you about the technical details, now let’s get to what counts: What is this drawing about? My inspiration for the Arcaylis concept was the basic joy of a child playing at the beach—and his secret universal link. When I was eight years old I knelt in the shallow ocean, scooping sand and heaving it skyward. I didn’t know it then, but with my feet and legs firmly dug into the sea floor and my arms moving the water upward, I was engaging three quantities: The water, the earth and the sky. At the center was my body, the facilitator in this chain. Arcaylis is a connection of the natural elements.

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About Ara Hagopian's The LITERATE Show

For over thirty years, I have enjoyed drawing beautiful shapes and writing complementary stories. The imagery tends to focus on our place in the world—whomever or whatever we may be. I am influenced by Twentieth Century history—I read vintage magazines, books and letters. Inspiration comes from visualizing human achievement and personal interaction—derived from people, places and things which may be obscure, but never insignificant. My pen-and-ink THE MAGNIFICENT RECOVERY was selected by the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston for their 2008 summer art auction.
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