October 07, 2015

Online Greenlight Review: Invisible Cities


  1. OGR 08/10/2015

    Hi Becky,

    Ah yes, the glory of Diomira - Calvino's picture postcard of a city, autumnal and somehow wistful; like the end of a holiday romance... I'm hardly surprised you were drawn to this vista, as somehow all of your thumbnails have felt a bit like Diomira You are a romantic, I suspect! :)

    I think Diomira is a difficult city to design! It almost encourages a kind of genericism on account of its familiarity to us; we can see it all too easily almost. This means that you have a special responsibility as a concept artist - you have to find another way into this city; a way to make those sixty domes and all those statues into something striking and memorable. The use of the plural 'Gods' makes us think instantly of classical Greek gods, and thus we think of Diomira as being European. I wonder if the secret to figuring Diomira out in terms of architectural reference and the broad world it sits in is to do some really speculative research about other polytheistic religions or belief systems?


    If, for example, you decided Diomira was a city based on a belief system that worshipped the 12 signs of the zodiac, then looking at celestial star charts might give you ideas for the layout of the entire city: https://img1.etsystatic.com/003/1/6370118/il_fullxfull.401934893_r7cz.jpg

    Those sixty silver domes might in fact be planetariums...

    Put simply, in terms of understanding Diomira as more than just a dreamy picture postcard of a lovely romantic city, I think you need to look to the belief system of the people who live there - as expressed by those statues - and from there, work out a visual concept for this place that is more concrete and more speculative than a colour palette alone. I reckon you could have tremendous fun this way, because there are so many polytheistic religions which align with rich visual reference, you'll probably be spoiled for choice!

    By going a little further into this city in this way, I suspect you'll find it much easier to identify the purpose of your other 2 digital paintings - the low angle and the interior: if you can establish the culture of this city, you'll be able to show us its most special, sacred places: I shared this clip with Tom earlier today:


    Imagine then, if the Gods of the Zodiac were scared to Diomira, then maybe its most scared place of worship would look like this...

    And that's the point - Diomira needs a concept to drive it beyond that first hazy postcard given to us by Calvino's description...

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