NiGHTS: Descent into Dreams
Prelude to a dream paradox~
Sometimes you'll see them when it hurts the most ...
Under London's dull amber street lamps. Coat pockets full of old bar receipts, office doodles and chocolate wrappers. Things you're not entirely sure were ever part of your life. You find yourself walking in too much silence with all the thoughts and memories still floating around your head. Drained.
That familar heavy jingle isn't there around your neck anymore. You've grown to hear it with your footsteps, proud of it in a way. Running out the door before the sun rises. But now it's just you wandering down the street feeling strangely numb, walking home. Feeling lost in a place where no map could ever be of use to you. Still a little drunk to even consider what tommorow will bring.
Did any of it even happen? Did anybody ever care? Was it all just another one of my horribly real dreams that I was abruptly waking up from?
That night, I'd cried my eyes out surrounded by friends.
I didn't ever feel a moment of shame. It was like everything had just built up, despite me trying my best to be strong, always optimistic, it had just come tumbling out despite my best efforts. It had been the worst day. It had felt like my most desperate dreams coming to life. Except in this place, I was helpless to fix anything. Helpless and small. Watching my world fall down. Reality at his worst.
And all I could do was cry and think to myself, this is my home. This is my family. This is what I chased for years. This is what I was proud of and wanted to protect.
I cursed myself for caring. It doesn't matter, it doesn't matter. It really doesn't matter. Be professional, it doesn't matter.
It did matter. It does matter. It always had.
Two nights later I picked up my pencil again.
As artists we have this ability to turn anger and despair into something beautiful. Something to be admired and celebrated. Something that a select few witnessess can ever fully appreciate. Leaving behind symbols and cryptic memories for people to weave their own stories from. Things that feed the image with living emotion.
There was a place deep in my heart that I had been neglecting.
Something that I had kept silenced for a long few years. At least openly. People may have confused it with disinterest, ego or simply growing up and become what they call an 'adult'. No, no amount of tax paying, legal document signing or having to bite my tounge would ever take this away from me. Nothing would ever take me away from my passion or dreams. Not those ones anyway. If anything, this had given me the spark I needed at 30 years old to do for others what had been done for me as a child.
I wanted to hand people the keys to their dreams again...
The night I resumed drawing was one of those ugly familiar color drained days. Grey like thick fog dragging you down into your lowest thoughts. I'd had too many days like these back in 2004. I had been hoping to avoid them. After a few sleepless nights I'd already given up on naming days of the week and had started counting waking hours by internet timezones again. My friend Suzy had given me her old HP laptop to keep a few weeks before we'd left. It sat perched on the bed surrounded by a mess of papers, art materials and crumpled kleenex. The light of Facebook casting a heavy air across the bedroom. I always found myself surrounded by a tangle of wires. Headphone wires, computer wires, console wires. Electronic spaghetti scattered around my work.
I furiously scribbled at my art board listening to music. Not really stopping to check for angles or correct perspective or any of the other technical things that normaly bothered me when working on our comic books. I just wanted to express a feeling as fast as possible. I'd missed moments like this as an artist. Having the fuel to put something raw on paper. Feeling that drive.
On the screen digital people softly passed through, waking up or going to bed. A flicker of photographs, places in the world you'd never see. Thoughts, joys and sadness. Cats, jokes, families, babies, hipster quotes. Freezeframed and archived forever. The internet going about its daily routine. Always something to see, always someone reaching out, always existing in a seperate world. It reminded me a lot of my dreams in a way. Never quite taken seriously enough despite its power. Ironic.
You often find yourself stopping to look at the computer clock at two in the morning and consider for a second that you might be wasting your life away. Shrugging it off you remind yourself that everything has its place and purpose. I'd always been a firm beliver in everything happening for a reason. Going with the flow until you felt the need to switch. It felt like one of those moments.
The moments in life when dreams seem impossible to grasp like happy distant memories.
But as defeated as I'm sure I could feel, I felt something incredibly uplifting. I sleepily gazed at the timeline photo of me, my partner DiGi and my work collegues on Facebook. The photo had been taken at a house warming party. We were all ridiculously drunk and merry. We'd only known eachother probably as a group for a few months if that. But, the bond I felt with that group of people was the kind I'd craved as a child sitting alone at my art desk in the homeless hostel. Back then I'd stay strong by telling myself I'd get there one day. Just big dreams for a little kid...
And here I was sat with the opposite problem. Trying to keep hope for the things I'd already gained.
Putting pencil to paper I started to sketch out the scene around me. The room, the screen, my friends in the photograph. Every little piece of me I could share to show how I felt and how much I cared about the things I treasured. The things that I felt very lucky to have. Side stepping rules with expression. Remembering why I started and where I'd come from.
Remembering the person who gave me my dreams back.
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NiGHTS Descent into Dreams: Pg2
"Currently coloring the next few pages of the NiGHTS comic. It's an intro of sorts... I wouldn't feel happy about jumping straight into a story without making something known loud and clear first. So I hope you'll take the time to read it properly and try to understand the meaning behind it, because I'm not always able to say exactly what I mean.
I like my comics to have many layers to them so they reach out to people in different ways. Different people will react to different things that i draw. That's one of the joys of being a comic artist."
And yeah I cried when coloring this. It means a lot to me.
Next page tomorrow.