For my 2015 BA degree I did a series of illustrations for John Updike's novel "The Centaur".

“The Centaur” tells a story about a small North East American town’s teacher and his son, about a neurotic and hypochondriacal father who is losing his joy in life and his son, full of hope. Parallel to the traditional narrative all the characters in the book are woven in the myth of Chiron, the supreme centaur and a teacher. Chiron is the teacher George Caldwell and his son Peter is Prometheus. As in the Greek myth, where Chiron, being immortal, but heavily wounded, gives up his immortality to save Prometheus from chains, so in the book does George Caldwell by sacrificing his ambitions and future for the sake of his son’s future and well-being.

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With this cycle of illustrations I try to create this woeful but somehow hopeful mood and also depict the space and meaningful signs captured by father and son. The novel is very visual, full of lights, smells, everyday surroundings along with psychological details, metaphors, usually bound with Greek myths. With my illustrations I try to convey indirect, metaphorical meanings which are not necessarily spotted by the viewer and not necessarily significant to the person who did not read the book but these meanings charge the illustrations intellectually.
“The Centaur” as I said before blends mythological narrative along with a traditional one. In many cases mythological insertion is like an irritation of reality – real life narrative is disrupted by adding particles of the myth in it. However sometimes Updike immerses us into completely mythological narrative changing school teachers and small town citizens to mythical beings. The space here changes, as does the atmosphere, personages become more impulsive, more open to their instinctive needs. I illustrate the before mentioned irritation of reality with digital drawings while using mythological details, visual metaphors, marking mythological territories with Greek meanders ect. Meanwhile I choose etching for the purely mythological parts.
All the illustrations are included in the book layout. This layout, along with typographical and non-typographical elements, enrich the illustrations and hidden meanings in the text, expand the readers experience. Also, the illustrated book is a sort of portable gallery – a movable illustration exhibition for “The Centaur”.
The Centaur
157
2,278
15
Published:

The Centaur

Series of illustrations for John Updike's novel "The Centaur" for my 2015 BA diploma at VAA Graphic Arts department
157
2,278
15
Published:

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