The genres of science fiction and fantasy have existed in close proximity to one another for decades, stretching to before the founding of the Science Fiction Book Club sixty years ago. This coexistence was in mind when I began exploratory sketches for an image commissioned by the Science Fiction Book Club to celebrate what the Club has offered to its readers through the years - challenging books and works full of wonder, empathy, and discovery.
I was seeking an image which could read on multiple levels and stand alone as a work of art. After a few rough abstract sketches, a theme on the meeting of minds immediately resolved itself as the basis for the concept - Convergence - the old with the new; male and female; fantasy and science fiction. Considering my recent infatuation with merfolk, it was not a huge leap to balance one of those figures with another passion of mine, that of painting astronauts. Inspiration and motivation was never in short supply on this project!
I began to produce various rough concepts and bounced these to the art director Matthew Kalamidas and his team at the Book Club – from full figure, realistic interactions, to symbolic gestures of hands meeting in space around a book-like device (have I mentioned that I love to paint hands?) Within a few rounds of revisions, we had settled upon a powerful composition and theme. An astronaut and mermaid would be engaged in a ying and yang encounter, circling about in wonder and excitement at each others 'discovery'. An ambiguous space would fill the background, could it be water, could it be a nebula? Matthew had a wonderful challenge for me, to resolve this scene in such a way that you could hang the poster in any orientation and it would be 'correct'. Which way is up, which way down? That is for you to decide.
The resulting image was a joy to paint and I am extremely happy with the results. Not only did I find a way to paint my mermaid and astronaut, but I was able to work in a wonderfully expressive gesture in the hands of the mermaid. Enjoy.
Convergence is a limited edition Print being offered by the Science Fiction Book Club and making its premiere this weekend at their booth, #2020, in the 2013 New York ComicCon. The original Art will be available for viewing Friday through Sunday while on Saturday from 1-3 I will be signing and can remarque prints for those stopping by the booth! Hope to see you there!
Convergence 24" x 20" Oil on Panel 2013 Donato Giancola