The most direct and truest inspiration for a creator comes from their personal experience. Expressing these feelings through creations is one of the reasons I am obsessed with the arts.
In my previous relationship, I found that two individuals may have a completely opposite understanding of each other and their common experiences. This came as a shock to me. People in an intimate relationship might not ever step into each other’s spiritual world, due to different family backgrounds, life experiences, personalities, and other reasons. I also observed that this happens in other close relationships, either mine or others’. This makes me reflect on whether we really understand the thoughts of people we know and so it inspired me to create a thriller comic about it.
In the winter of 2020, I traveled to Iceland. It is gorgeous with natural beauty, quiet, romantic, and totally different from my usual living environment. It brought me closer to nature with a sense of distance and danger. After encountering a howling huge raven, walking against the wind, staying at the warm and isolated Airbnb, and having a car stuck in the blizzard on the way back … My story sprouted naturally: winter, two lovers, in an unfamiliar cold wonderland. Uneasiness and danger hid under the quiet, just like their relationship.
So, Two Stories: The Man and The Raven and The Invisible Woman was born. It is a graphic novel with two fictional thriller stories from each point of view. I set this story in the context of the memories of a trip to a place like Iceland of the couple, Geoff and Mary.
In Geoff’s story, he hurt a raven and suspects that Mary, who behaved unusually, is possessed by the raven and disappeared. In Mary’s story, she became invisible several times because of Geoff’s negligence and finally left him. These two comics are bound as two books facing each other. After readers finish reading Geoff’s story, they can read Mary’s story with a 180° rotation.
Blurring and breaking the boundaries between virtual and reality such as dreams, imaginations, and facts, inner and outer worlds occurred naturally in my previous artworks. In Two Stories, I continued exploring this method to bring viewers a reading experience combined with reality and illusion.
The way Mary looks and the sequence of events of both stories are different because the memories vary from person to person and deviations exist. Audiences won’t be sure whether the stories came from lovers or strangers until they are almost finished reading. Flashbacks, imaginations, and dreams change from monochrome to color as the plot develops, which makes the reader doubt whether these really happen or not.
For this reason, some of the images in Two Stories are life-like, while others are staged with shapes of strong light and shadow. The style of dramatic staging was influenced by Lorenzo Mattotti and Jorge González’s early comics. In order to present this effect of rich and vivid colors and delicate details, I used pastel, oil & wax pastels, and colored pencils as the medium.
I hope this graphic novel can provide the audience with an interesting reading experience and arouse their reflection and resonance about intimate relationships. As for what is true in the story, the choice is left for them to decide.