Monday, February 16, 2009

The Fantasy Sculpture Garden of Bruno Torfs Destroyed in Australian Bushfires

I just found out about this today. It's just one of thousands of horrible stories coming out of the horrific bushfires still underway in Australia and while it doesn't compare to the loss of life, losing great art is worth mourning in its own way. The loss of this work in particular has affected me very deeply. I'll give you the awful news first then I'll explain why it's close to my heart.

Australian Bushfires Destroy Amazing Fantasy Sculpture Garden

The fantastical sculptures of Bruno Torfs, nestled in a temperate rainforest garden setting in South-Eastern Australia have wowed, moved and inspired 1 000's of visitors from all over the world for over 10 years - but no more.
The unique sculpture garden was one of many places destroyed in the devastating bushfires in the state of Victoria last week. The Torfs family, who lived at the garden and gallery, managed to get to safety but lost their home, over 300 paintings and sustained great damage to the sculpture garden. Friends and neighbors in nearby Marysville weren't as lucky and lost not only their homes but their lives. The area remains in a state of emergency at this time.

The Torfs family, in a statement on their website, say they hope to salvage some of the sculptures with the intent of rebuilding the fantasy garden in the near future. The website also has a slideshow of some of the beautiful sculptures the garden contained before the fires swept through.
My sympathies and condolences go out to them. While nothing can compare to the loss of life, the destruction of this unique home-gallery and garden is a great tragedy that will be mourned by many.

For those who wish to show their support for Bruno and his family, please see his website. For general support for the many bushfire victims please contact The Australian Red Cross and reference the Victorian Bushfire Appeal 2009.

Reasons This Is Close To My Heart

I am an Australian, living in the US for 10 years now, and have been anxiously following news of the fires as I have a lot of family there. I am lucky in that all of mine are safe, though a few of my cousins continue to fight the remaining fires in their various capacities. I am very proud of all the work they are doing and how they're able to directly help so many.

When it comes to fantasy, art and writing, though I have loved the classics and fairy tales of mainly European influence there was always a part of me that yearned to integrate that fantasy 'sense' into the landscape I love of Australia*, especially the forests and rainforests.
One of my long-term works in progress, called 'Fae Dreaming', is an attempt to approach classical fantasy from a unique Australian perspective in a very organic way. I say 'works' because it isn't just a story or novel but includes an artistic exploration of the images so people would literally 'see' what was in my imagination. I had planned to come back to Australia at some point to build a fantasy garden project with the dream that the concepts and characters in it would eventually make their way into film and/or animation. I hadn't heard of Bruno's Art & Sculpture Garden till very recently and couldn't believe the images I was seeing.
The sculptures were exactly in the same vein as the characters existing in my head for 'Fae Dreaming'! [MORE IMAGES FROM ANOTHER BLOG HERE, INCLUDING BRIEF MOVIE] It was as if he'd dreamed the same dream then brought it to life in his own way. I nearly cried for joy to see such imaginings had become reality.

To hear that so much is lost and damaged has me in tears again but this time of deep sadness.

*It must be in my blood. My Nanna's aunt - May Gibbs - had the same desire and created the well-known and loved characters of Snugglepot & Cuddlepie. Though I don't ever expect to approach her success I hope one day to have made her proud with my efforts. It's daunting to even think about (they're very big shoes to fill!) so it's best I just put my head down and keep at it. I have a lot of inspiration to keep me going.

Monday, February 9, 2009

'Shopping Expedition

Where has InkGypsy been for the last 6 months?!

Desisting from participating in all non-essential tasks in an attempt to stay sane during some trying times.

So what, if any, creative work have you done?

I've had many false starts, including: not-finishing my novel (no chunks of time to concentrate = a wash), not-NaNoWriMo-ing (one idea & no time - that was a hard one to give up), drawing practice (yes I've managed some. Not much I'm proud of but Jackzilla got lots of truck and animal drawings!) and other little things.

(I did learn something about my organic writing process in a post-NaNoWriMo-failure-anti-funk-writing-attack but that's another post...)

Then Christmas was over and I thought it about time I did something properly.

So I took on a project which I thought was impossible:
a book cover for a podcast novelist's book.

Not being a professional artist or having half the photoshop expertise necessary I took on the project with a great deal of disclaimers. After two weeks of barely any sleep, working in the dark on my laptop next to my restless and wanna-be-nocturnal toddler, I managed a miracle and created a book cover I was actually surprised and pleased with.

Then I got a couple of notes from the author. Small notes. Reasonable notes. Should be easy, right?


Turns out it wasn't as straightforward as it seemed and I spent as long trying to find a solution that I was happy to have my name on.


I did it!

Wanna see my artwork for the podcast novel 'Scouts' by author Nobilis?

Here is a wallpaper version:

Here is a link to the full (textless) artwork on deviantART-

& here's the book cover (text included) -

I've included some additional comments at the deviantART site in case you're curious as to my creation process but suffice it to say it evolved from one thing to another and I was both surprised and pleased at the result.

It's my first time making any of my art public so I'm a little nervous about it but if I don't risk putting it out there then nobody will see it and I probably won't get any better. So out it goes (gulp!).

I don't think of myself as an artist. Rather I'm a writer used used to be a dancer who likes to draw/photoshop a little, but I'd love to be 'a well rounded person, ably creative and proficient in multiple disciplines' (yes - Leonardo da Vinci is one of my heroes!) so I'm working on improving the 'art' side of me.

The piece has a slight comic book feel which I'm pleased I achieved and although my original version was a little moodier (which I prefer) this version works well too, to suggest a story.

Check it out and feel free to leave me a comment here or on deviantART!

If you'd like to know more about the book you can go HERE to find the 'Scouts' relevant episodes from Nobilis' podcast which consists of the author reading one chapter (per episode) and additional commentary about his book, his writing and other topics relevant to podcasting and Nobilis Erotica in general. [Please note the book's genre is sci-fi/erotica and the audio contains explicit adult content.] Nobilis has told me his website is currently undergoing a redesign but that my artwork should be up there soon (yay!).

Have a creative day. Hey - if I can, YOU can too!

In the meantime - anyone have any suggestions as to how to convince my toddler to sleep for 12 hours straight so I can too? :)

PS If you have problems with the links please let me know and I'll post the full ones. Merci!

NOTE: While I can't promise to be blogging regularly again yet, I will attempt to keep you up to date on any creative endeavors I take on. Not doing anything creative isn't good for my soul so I have to do 'something'! The trick is not take on too much, not to promise more than I can realistically (and sensibly) do and to only do one thing at a time. It's hard to choose that one thing and inevitably I wish I were doing something else along the way but it works.