For this assignment, short stories were assigned to the class. I was assigned the short story “Weekend” by Ann Beattie. I had quite a lot of commentary as I read. I took notes on the following pages:
After reading the story through, I started thinking of some designs for the decks based on the characters and more obvious visual elements:
My Professor mentioned Anton Stankowski after I presented my first few concepts to him. I decided to do some further research on him.
At first, I planned on focusing on a representational wine bottle that was cropped out for effect; then I was gonna make some sort of beach theme to reference the good times and seashells found in the story; for the last concept, I was thinking of depicting a soaked sweater on a hardwood floor to represent George’s mood toward the end of the story.
Although I presented these concepts to my professor, he challenged me to look even deeper into the story. Even though there is quite a bit happening in the story, I have decided to focus in on the character George. I will also focus on the wine drinking that goes on in the story.
I am now able to create more concepts based on alcohol and branch off from there. There were many more obvious visual elements in the story that I can work with.
The Cycle Continues
I decided to keep my focus on the character George. To be more specific, I will focus on George by connecting his relationship with alcohol and people. There were countless things going on in the story –as I explained in my sketches and notes on the story above. Narrowing the image down is going to be quite difficult for me.
There is an ongoing cycle that happens in the story. Lenore mentions it from the beginning of the narration. The reader just happens to get the weekend part of the cycle. Although the weekend is usually spent with former students and friends of George, we do not get too much detail on the other weekdays except for Lenore taking care of the house and taking care of George. The general cycle of the week seems to reach a climax on the weekends when more people are involved.
George’s main muse this weekend is a student named Sarah, but there is a brief mention of a girl named Anna in the story. Anna was also a student of his, but she was hit and killed by a drunk driver in the past. The references that are made about Anna let the reader know that the accident was no accident at all. The driver never even got charged, which is very strange and questionable. The drunk driver is not revealed, but based on what I know about George’s character toward the end of the story, it seems like something he would do.
Why else would George bring Anna up in conversation to Sarah? Could it be that he was low-key threatening Sarah by mentioning what could happen to her if she didn’t reciprocate George’s affections or go along with the affair? Could it be that George actually killed Anna in reaction to her lack of affection for him while he was drunk? It is hard to believe at first, but after reading some key points of the story a few more times, it seems to be a strong possibility to me. George’s frustration gives the possibility away when he says, “I should have known she was a stupid little girl,” and later when he says, “I wouldn’t care if their car went off the road” (Beattie 48). I believe George would have sabotaged the car in some way if he had more time. His actions would be based on his frustration toward the lack of reciprocated affection from Sarah.
Toward the end of the story, George proclaims his love for Sarah by picking her up and spinning her around. Sarah is not a happy camper about it and also seems very embarrassed, so she runs upstairs from the situation. She clearly was not in love with him. As the story comes to an end, a flashback is revealed to the reader about George and Lenore on the beach. George picks up and spins youthful Lenore around and she returns his affections.
George just wants to go back to a better time: a time when he was in love, a time when he had his teaching job, a time when Lenore was attractive to him, I time when the waves of the beach made everything better, a time when he was healthy, and a time when he didn’t even need to drink. Nevertheless, his way of escape to a better time seems to be when he drinks alcohol throughout the story.
It seems to me that every so often, George tries to re-live a better time with different students like Anna, Sarah, and even future students. When he is rejected, he just moves on to the next student. The funny thing though, is that they are not students or people to him at all. They are just one of the elements needed in order to re-live the good times. He is using them for his own selfishness. The cycle continues every weekend.
The deck above depicts pouring wine into a glass. The wine glass would be seen as turning into a clock to represent George going back in time every time he pours a drink. I think this is a good start, but I may end up drawing it by hand or trying to illustrate it myself. This is currently a stock photo that I traced off of Google in Adobe Illustrator. This one does not feel that much like a skater design to me.
Even though preference of design depends on the skater, the deck above does not feel like a skater design to me.
Although I was extremely pressed for time, I was able to sketch and ink out my idea before the critique in class. I ended up drawing the whole design out because I was running out of time and drawing was more efficient than if I were to try to ink it in Illustrator. If I revisit this project, I will definitely plan on making it a vector image so that it becomes more flexible for other things as well.
I drew directly on the skate deck template print out and then made copies as I went. This way, I could go back to a copy if I made too many mistakes. Consider it the “Command + Z” or undo for designs without a program to use on the computer. Here are the stages and the number of copies I went through before the class started:
Although I was able to make my drawing a vector image by using image trace in Illustrator, I prefer the scan on the left because it appears to have more depth. I find the strokes of the pencil beneficial to the mood. I have always favored my drawings over my computer images anyway.
The final version may be viewed as pouring alcohol that swirls into a clock. Since the use of text was restricted in this project, I emphasized the tick marks that are found on analog clocks. I think the abstract aspect of the clock works well in contrast with the fluidity of the pouring alcohol.
Like mentioned before, George just wants to go back to a better time. The small ticks on the clock represent calmness, while the large tick marks toward the bottom represent the climactic chaos. That is where George becomes the drunkest and then he does something like proclaiming his love to a student. The movement of the cycle goes in a clockwise motion that never ends. I would like to break the cycle into 6 main points for further understanding:
1. Alcohol is poured
2. Conflict arises
3. Chaos reaches its climax
4. Action is taken out of frustration/feelings
5. Conflict settles
6. George becomes sober
The cycle goes from 1 through 6 then back up to 1. There is also a musical reference that can be found on the deck. In the story, the music seems to contrast with the mood of conflict that was happening. They had been playing records of music in the background of a few scenes, so a piano can also be seen on the final deck.
I wonder if that’s how George will spend the rest of his days with Lenore: looking forward to the past every weekend. Surely there is more meaning to his life. Surely there must be more positive memories to look forward to. Perhaps he will hit rock bottom so hard that one day he will snap out of it. Until that day, the cycle will continue.