‘The Mermaid’
Pencil and marker on paper
594 mm x 841 mm

I think the transition from Medusa to the Mermaid was heavily based on my appreciation of Gustav Klimt (his painting ‘Water Serpents I’, in particular). It fascinates me to think that someone from the 1915-1920 era had such incredible foresight when it came to art. You can tell that it certainly wasn’t sampled off of anything because it stands out against all other work from that period. It is a unique piece. It is a mix of striking realism with regard to the female form, surrealism in the entire ‘Mermaid’ prospect of it, and just a bizarre concoction in the background.

With this piece, I wanted to challenge myself away from the curvature of the female form and my over-reliance on the hair and its texture to be a primary part of the composition. A tough challenge here was to perfectly execute the mermaid’s tail. It is a highly technical skill to shade fish-tails accurately. Apart from that, I wanted to essentially capture the likeness of little filaments of the fins and then essentially transpose the picture over a, dare I say, Bridget Riley background (in terms of the distortion in it). With the distortion, I was trying to sort of emulate bubbles with the entire pattern of spheres on an elliptical scale.

In all, I think the piece ticks all the boxes that I intended. The realism of the female form, the surrealism of the mermaid and the abstract nature of the background, all come together very well in the picture. It took me a solid 8-10 days to make and it was an extremely engrossing experience on the whole.