Alone Together

With the start of Quarantine in 2020, I started creating an illustration every few days to capture a message, a feeling or the everyday elements that I took for granted before the pandemic. The following illustrations are some of the examples for this exercise.

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The dusty rose hued background became a through-ground when her threadbare shirt bore right through her. In lieu of breasts, her emptiness has revealed a cavity occupied by black decaying lungs, a root system of bronchioles interspersed with branches of ivy. Her lips, displaced atop a gauze wrap, criss-crossing her mouth, an allude to a wound. She is in a state of emergency.
Her head was tucked beneath the floorless house, its shingles guardingher ginger mane from the pink rain falling above. The welcoming abode, made of bulging stone, rested securely atop a wooden handle. This was no ordinary house, this house was an umbrella. Or was the umbrella a house? She was no longer in a state of emergency. She was now safe.
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Her pristine blue surgical gloves and cap contrasted the red marks bridging her nose and cheeks. She was raw, or at least her face was, from the rub of a mask worn for too many hours, over too many days. Her neutral expression of the professional detachment gazed distantly. She clutched her hands protectively to her chest, her right hand appearing to take the radial wrist pulse of her left hand, which was sensing her heart. Her black scrubs, darkness duds contrasted her rosy surroundings. She embodies the paradoxical label of hero.
The drinking hole of her to-go cup rose into a steaming chimney that  jutted from the shingled roof of its plastic lid. She was out in the world, donning five-button faded black jeans with a black, off the shoulder draped tee. A blonde pixie cut accentuated her doe-eyed, expressionless face. The cup was a house in her hands, carrying comfort and safety. It was a home, made.
She was nestled in a blanket under a fort of sorts, a wooden frame of a house draped in a twinkling sheer voile. Seated cross-legged on the ground, she clasped awhite mug that read ‘not all who wander are lost’. She customized her pillow-propped laptop with stickers of the Powerpuff Girls and Edward Scissorhands. She was working from home.
Her house could no longer contain her. She sat, resting her back along the clapboard seam she had burst from. She was sheathed in an oversized pink and aqua ombre sweater, offering her the protective force of her disposable teal facemask. Cradling her knee close to her chest, she looked up to the stormy pastel sky. She was taking in the fresh air.
Her home was where her heart was. It was a primitive red cabin, smoke billowing out of its chimney, up along her aortic valve. Inside Her the rain had become a starry sky, while outside it continued to fall. Two horns, matching her full brows, pierced upward through her lilac ombre hair. Her gray eyes bereft, offset by rosy cheeks. She was homesick.
Their sepia toned skin crumbled into rustic bricks, just below the two wooden windows that framed their heart. The panes on the left reflected the rain showers outside while a clothesline was put to use on the right. The worn binding of a book became a roof that rested upon their head, a chimney billowing with smoke. Like each of the others, their oversized eyes eclipsed their mouth in size, drawing attention. In return, though, their gaze was numb. They were melancholy.
She stood in front of the tri-fold board, a science fair display of yore. A scrawl of clouds and rain, an interjection of her present state on the pitch black dreamscape beyond. She peered at the house with its porch and chimney billowing scribbled smoke. Her face had been erased, becoming the night, with a twinkling smattering of stars. The house was doll sized, placed upon a shaded stump, it seemed to be on display. Perhaps because she couldn’t fit in it, she was abandoned.
The grass was green on the other side of the window. The monotone interior was further subdued by the lush landscape outside. The walls did not disrupt the white clouds, which permeated the interior and exterior, but they changed the falling rain. Inside their bounds, the heavy droplets form remained, but outside they tumbled in a finer mist. She was doll-faced, gently cupping a gray toy house in her hands. Her skin had morphed into the bodice of her dress. There are no seams, but her chest is clothed. She was framed by, but not looking out the window.
It wasn’t magic that made her into a house, it was her ability to transcend literalism. That’s what made her a witch, the universe contained in her shimmery blue lips. A 3x4 grid of windows lined her chest. All were dark, minus the one where the light of the sun shone through. The peak of her flat-brimmed hat formed the ridgeline of a gothic house, a cardinal preparing to build a nest in the attic window. A spider's web of scaffolding steadied the hat to her head. She had become fused to her surroundings, reshaped by them. She was homebound.
She was not the center of the universe, because she was the universe. Her body held the night sky, which rose above an empty, colorless city. It was the stars and the waning crescent moon that glistened on her translucent skin. Atop her shoulders, rosy tear-stained cheeks showed signs of life on an otherwise stone complexion. Her bloodshot eyes looked directly through you communicating her forlornness in the silent city.
Crisis, Corporation, and Pollution headlined the young boy’s newspaper boat hat. His dull grey eyes, reflecting the rainy skies, were surrounded by dark circles of listlessness. The broken heart logo on his white sweater brightly contrasted the shades of gray beyond. The gritty texture of the landscapes reflected his own distress. His apparent boredom was undeterred by play time.
She is contained in the shell of a human sized iPhone. The rain clouded background is washed out, a bright injection of light smoothing the patina of yore. He wraps his arms around the iPhone from behind, as she serenely leans into his hand which covers her own. His hair is disheveled, his brows furrowed, he is in distress while he holds her in a digital embrace.
While rain continued to fall from those three cumulus clouds, the pink monochrome background faded to gray. She sat on the ground, facing away from the camera, draped in an elaborate dress made of newspapers that flowed behind her. Her hair blew back, in the direction of her sad gaze. Searching through the wind that passed, she was encumbered by all that is newsworthy.
They were facing each other, which meant they now had to face each other. The couple sat together, in matching striped shirts. While a glimmer of a smile hinted to his interest, her upward gaze did not reciprocate. Between them, a digital rendering of an iPhone was inserted atop the washed out background, and served to make the foundation of their relationship explicit.  While not legible, the text exchanges on screen appear robust, in contrast to their silent demeanor, reminding them that at any moment, they would again be socially distanced.
Two iPhones, screens open to Facetime, are situated side by side in the center of this image. A dreadfully beautiful macabre couple were on the distant edges. To the left, she wore a black dress draped in lace. To the right, he swam in an oversized pinstripe suit. They reached each other in a myriad of ways. First, through their gaze. Then there was the red string tied to each of their index figures. Finally, the reach of their arms through their respective iPhones, fingertips nearly meeting. A recreation of Michaelangelo’s ‘The Creation’. This is their connection.
She sat, cradling her home in her arms. Blooms from rose bushes poured out of its windows. In her right hand, she cupped a glowing crescent moon as it waned. A ring crowned by white dove wings, ready to take flight, adorned her left hand. The rain clouds had reappeared in the background, their usual gray replaced by a dull but familiar pink. Tendrils of wavy hair framed the bittersweet expression on her guileless face. The things she held onto were solid, unlike her worn and faded surroundings. They grounded her, a reminder of how to be lucid.
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