Posted in Homepage, Steven's Newest Posts

Flames of Confidence

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The flames of confidence. They are what appeared upon my death. My death as an insecure person, desperately trying to disappear with the crowd around me. My death as as the one who had to face the reality of their true passions for other men. My death as someone who believed there was only one way to be in a relationship. These very flames transform me again and again. The first time I died one night in 2011, I was reborn into a man, now sure of his sexuality. The second time, I died in 2013, and was reborn into an experimental person, now accepting his feminine side and allowing it to be a part of his masculinity. The third time, I died as an amateur in my style, and was reborn with more secure tastes in clothing. With every “death” I go through, my rebirth brings me back stronger, with new viewpoints and abilities. I died not too long ago in 2017, and came back with a new view on relationships and how to better manage the dilemmas that are presented to me. Of course I can’t say what I’ve learned, considering that not everyone goes through the same situations. But if anyone were to speak to me about what they go through, they’d get similar, but not the same info. I modify it to their situation to avoid close-minded advice. But anywho, back to these flames. For this image, I got four different transparent images of the fire element. I took the original photo of me striking a pose mid air by setting my phone’s camera on timer, which automatically took burst pictures in order for me to pick out the best pose. I then kept the image the same, but added and positioned the fire images in a way that makes me look like I have fire wings spreading from my body.  added another ball-shaped flame over me to make it look like I’m about to make the flames burst all round me. I also used the fire ring image, increased its size, and positioned it around me to make it look like I’m causing a heatwave, which is a symbol of my confidence influencing others. Finally, I added the sunny filter to change the lighting of the entire piece so it looks more authentic. As usual, I put my personal symbol to let viewers know that I created the image. All of my transparent images were found on google images. From my point of view, the elements each represent a certain characteristic. I also see the elements more than just water, fire, earth and air. I see them as more specific kinds, as well as more varied kinds (because pokemon inspired me, so I see water, ice, steel, and electric as their own elements). The final piece is also inspired by Phoenix (Jean Grey), and the Phoenix five (Cyclops, Emma Frost, Magik, Colossus, and Namor). I found out about marvel characters such as these in 2014, and became inspired by their heroic art ever since. I’ve also always loved the idea of me being possessed by the cosmic flames known as the phoenix force, mostly because of the cool poses and abilities. My dash of heroic characteristics were inspired by marvel heroes and villains alike. The image I made can be loosely connected with my natural body heat, because I heat up fast and am more resistant to the cold than many people I know. And because I’m confident, it along with my warm body connects to the image I made as well. For my next post I want to play more with fire, and symbolize the consequences of too much confidence, giving myself a more “corrupt with power” image where I strike a pose that looks like I’m losing control while my flames run wild, hurting everyone around me. I’m not usually the overly cocky type, but I, like everyone else, have my days where I’m hyped up to the point where I have too much confidence.

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Posted in Homepage

Rat Queens: The Baddest Version of Myself

Kat’s Music and Comics Corner (Issue #10)

The eccentrics. The outcasts. The weirdos. These are the kind of people I’ve always been drawn to in the world of art. From film characters like Wednesday Addams in the Addams Family to television show characters like Penelope Garcia from Criminal Minds, these have been the most relatable characters, because they’re usually the ones who don’t quite seem to fit in but at the same time totally own it. These are not negative titles. These kinds of characters are far from unlikable, in fact, they’re completely lovable. They slash their way through your heart with sharp-wit, sarcasm, and sass and never say sorry for doing what they do best (unless they’re really in the wrong). These are the kind of women set as the cast of characters in Kurtis J. Wiebe’s and Roc Upchurch’s Rat Queens.

The story is chock full of elements of fantasy, and each of these totally “bad” (the best kind of bad) women are types that you could find in a Dungeons and Dragons game, but they’re ten thousand times better than anything that’s ever been imagined before. They slay in the realm of cool, fashion, bed, and literally slay dragons and other terrifying creatures. They’re the most irreverent, unapologetic babes that ever met the pages of comics.

Upchurch’s art punches you right in your gut and then waits for you to take a big gulp of air, then punches you again. His style is such a marvel to behold and it’s nice to see thick, meaty women instead of generalizing the female body as this one size fits all body shape. We are able to see curves and folds and the raw beauty of the female body that is mostly untapped. His work reminds me of Kelly Sue DeConnick’s work in Bitch Planet, in terms of diversity in the human body.

As for Wiebe’s writing, I found it really, really hard to put down Volume 1 of Rat Queens. Holy crap, these women are the kind of amazing, underdog, screwups that I aspire to be. Each has a unique voice and personality that makes up the band of misfits who are just so darn hard to not fall in love with. They’re definitely far from perfect, but that’s what makes them so bad. They’re the bad version of myself I’ve always wanted to be.

– Kathryn Fornier

Posted in Homepage

Sweet Tooth: Trusting in the Post-Apocalypse

Kat’s Music and Comics Corner (Issue #2)

Trust is the foundation of any good relationship. It is what helps relationships thrive and survive in the worse of conditions. Now, imagine a post-apocalyptic world where your survival depends on who you trust. Would you choose to live a life of solitude and mistrust, putting your survival at risk or take a different kind of risk and put blind faith in someone and hope for the best? This question is explored in comic book writer and artist Jeff Lemire’s volume one of Sweet Tooth.

Sweet Tooth is a dark and gritty story about the journey of a human-animal hybrid named Gus and an older man named Jepperd to a supposed reservation where other human-animal hybrids reside. The setting is a dying world affected by a sickness called the Affliction that only affects humans and not these human-animal hybrids. The first volume spans four issues which enter the relationship between Gus and Jepperd. Gus is naive, having been raised in the seclusion of a forest by his late-father, and follows his gut instinct which tells him to believe that Jepperd is a good person despite his violent and coarse nature. Jepperd serves as his protector and nicknames Gus, Sweet Tooth, after Gus takes a liking to a chocolate bar he gives him.

Jepperd doesn’t need to trust Sweet Tooth because he is clearly the dominant of the two so having gained his trust he takes this to his advantage. Sweet Tooth on the other hand has not much of a choice but somehow remains hopeful that Jepperd is someone he can put his trust in.

The art of Sweet Tooth has a gloomy palette which sets the scene for the post-apocalyptic world Gus and Jepperd live in but also sets the scene for a theme of trust that is on the fence of good, evil, and unknown. The proportions of the characters are sometimes off which is just one way Lemire showcases how imperfect the world can be and in this imperfect world he has created trust is something that, too, is off and imperfect.

To survive in a world like in Sweet Tooth, you need both trust and mistrust. Trust in others to form a community of survival but also mistrust in case something goes awry. Does Sweet Tooth’s optimism and hopefulness conquer Jepperd’s possibly devious intentions or does he succumb to his fault of being too trusting? Trust me, it’s worth reading to find out.

–  Kathryn Fornier