Jack Byers

the art of communication

62

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words prison

Concept

After visting Turkey in January, I became fascinated by the political climate in the country. In one hand, you have a country that is rapidly modernizing, while in the other is a leader who is steering the country towards autocracy while keeping a straight face. One of the most interesting aspects of this shift is the state's treatment of the news media. Several high-profile journalists have been jailed and threatened with life sentences by Turkey's president, simply for exercising free speech. 

Execution

I created a list of words relating to the state of free speech in Turkey and chose "words" and "prison"

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After thinking for some time about how illustrate free speech in the context of Turkey, I decided to draw the six letters that differentiate the Turkish alphabet from the English alphabet in a way that avoided forming any legible word. This way, the viewer wouldn't be led astray by seeing an actual word.

I tossed around the ideas of how to portray the letters as being imprisoned; on a stage like king kong, through the window of a solitary confinement cell, or in individual cells. I noticed that in Roman's drawing, the abstraction of the buildings in the background was such that it helps focus the viewer's attention on the foreground, so I decided to illustrate a vague prison in the background, but focus on the letters in the foreground. 

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Once I had the letters and the prison sketched out, I laid sheets over top of both and began inking. I kept the letters very tight using a fineliner, and kept the prison loose by using a brush, my finger, and a steel tipped pen. I also added in some random pen markings to use once I began to digitize, including some scribbles inspired by the word "censorship" from my notes. 

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I scanned these in and manipulated things around. I chose a moody and somber color scheme for the background and contrasted it with the stark, bright red and white from the Turkish flag for the letters. After lots of failures, I arrived at this: 

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Thanks for the good teaching and inspiration!

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