What's uuuuup? Guess what? I'm back for another blog post. Yeah, yeah, you knew that I wouldn't be gone for more than a few days, so don't act surprised. This week I'll still post only one blog entry, instead of my usual two, due to a heavy loaded week... but I'm happy to be able to post again nevertheless.
So, what's new? A new image indeed. An image that for a moment steps out of my regular work style. It is an image that features... belly dancing. The reference model for this new image is the beautiful and more than talented Mira Betz, a big big name when it comes to the belly dancing community.
If you have followed my art for a while, most likely you know that this is not the first pin-up that I do with belly dancing as the main theme. I actually did my first two last year. However, you probably also know that I don't do this kind of work very often. In fact, almost never. That's why I refer as to belly dancing pin-ups, as unusual when it comes to my artwork. By the way: do I consider this image (and the other two) pin-ups? I do, because even though they're not pin-ups in the most orthodox form, they're still images that: 1) highlight the beauty and form of the body, and 2) you can still "pin them up" on your wall :)
OK, I won't be talking so much about the process of this new image, but the idea behind it. The process is the usual, my regular pin-up rendering, where I sketch an image and I start working up layers of color. So, let's focus on the how and why. As I mentioned before, this is the third image that I render with this theme as a main focus. It is a concept that I have had in my mind for a few years now, but it wasn't until last year that I finally buckled up and did it.
The motive and reason for this project didn't just come from nowhere: both my sisters, are in fact belly dancers themselves. However, my younger sister decided to not only practice belly dancing, but to promote it as well, many years ago. Since then, she has brought many renowned names from the belly dancing community to seminars in Mexico City, where she currently lives. Even though the idea of drawing a belly dancer image had been floating inside my head, It wasn't until my sisters got involved in belly dancing (therefore exposing me to more of the culture), that I started to give this project a shape in my head. I wanted to create something inspired in the incredible dancers that my sister has brought and keeps bringing to Mexico City.
Now, there is something I want to point out: in general: a pin-up portrays a human figure, usually female and also usually in a static pose. Typical examples would be a girl sitting, laying down or even standing. No dynamic poses, for aesthetic purposes. Being that said, I must share that the main problem I encountered when trying to do a pin-up highlighting belly dancing, is the fact that when I say highlighting belly dancing, I really mean it. Not just the form and beauty of the human figure, but the beauty and form of the dancing itself.
In other words, I didn't just want to portray a beautiful model/dancer, in a beautiful outfit, in a regular pin-up pose. Don't get me wrong, I like that idea and I'm sure I'll be rendering something like that in the future as well. But again, this project is about trying to capture a moving moment, an instant taken from a belly dancing performance. The easiest and perhaps most logical solution would be render an image based on photographs taken at an actual performing routine. However, that doesn't help me either, since most of these photographs lack the poetry that belly dancing communicates.
The fore mentioned photographs are quite real and authentic, they capture the performer in random moments during the performance. But what I want to portray is an artful vision of the dance, something that includes that extra element the live performance brings... or at least try to get closer. Think of it as a documentary vs a movie of the same historic event: the movie usually is a more dramatic and visually beautiful version of the documentary. Maybe not as accurate, but more visually appealing. And, that is actually what I want to transmit with these kind of images: a visual treat, even though if it's not necessarily an accurate one, from a technical point of view. To achieve this, I've relied on wonderful photographs taken by very talented photographers with a great eye. Maybe someday I'll take those photographs myself, not as a final product, but solely as a reference for new artwork. But for now, my sincere thanks to both the performer and the photographer.
As in any other project where I've worked, there is a lot to learn and a lot of improvements to be made. But at the same time, there is a lot of room for new ideas, and that itself brings a lot of excitement and fun. Even though this kind of work is not my typical, I look forward to render more of these images and hopefully get better with each new pin-up. It's all about trying to pay tribute to a beautiful form of art through another form of art. I've always said that art breeds more art, and this is a great example of it. :)
So, let's keep kicking ass when it comes to the creation of new art. Just this project alone brings dance, music, photographs, illustrations... what else? When it comes to art, the possibilities are endless. By the way, speaking of art, make sure to follow my sister Fabiola on Facebook to learn more about how she supports the belly dancing community and its presence in Mexico. Visit her Facebook page "Ananda Fusión" by clicking here.
Thank you for reading this, and again, thank you for your support. See you next time!
Pin-up artist by day… and also by night. Well, mostly by night, because night time is my favorite time to paint.