I recently made this painting of a giant girl emerging from the ocean with birds flying around her head, which made its way around on Tumblr, an online social website. Turns out, there were a lot of people who thought the girl was a whale. I stared at it and couldn't see how people would think she was a giant sea mammal. I find that really interesting. How someone could see something completely different in your work.
I had one person ask me, "Who is the girl? What is her story?" And I responded, "Whoever you want her to be." I think that's the best thing about art. You take whatever you want from it. It's never black or white.
In EmiTown, I use all sorts of metaphors for the more private things that happen in my life: namely, relationships. The story isn't always clear about how I draw them out. For instance, a panel could be of me in an army helmet hiding in a bunker as bombs are going off around me. For me, it's hiding from love and the pain that love could bring. I put on a helmet for protection and hide out. But, for someone else, maybe they see that the bunker is safe haven for something completely different. If someone asks me what it means, I'd rather they tell me what it means to them.
So, I guess, with regard to that painting of the girl in the ocean... Maybe I drew it in such a way that it was whale-like. Whoops. Not quite the same as interpreting a metaphor differently. But if someone wants to see her as a whale, then let her be a whale!
This is my last post here and I feel very honored to ramble about my book and whatnot. If you want to see what else I've been up to I encourage you to check out my website www.emitown.com and pick up my book EmiTown from Powell's! Last I checked they had a copy on the shelf. That's right, I check. It's still pretty thrilling to see it there.