Sunday, September 18, 2011

Notre Dame

One of the first things I wanted to see in Paris was the Notre Dame Cathedral, the setting of many novels, picturebooks and art history textbooks that I've read and studied.

The entire cathedral is fairly laden with history and story. The ancient gargoyles, the stone are all eroding and blackening.  I wonder at all the things those statues have witnessed over their years.

Seeing such ancient history brings back many of the emotions  I had when I was an art student studying in Rome, Italy. It was there when I saw such a rich history of the country around me that I felt a kind of envy. I wanted to have the layers of culture that the Europeans had, the pride and care of their roots. It was very slow realization on my part to see that I did have those layers of culture in my Asian-American heritage--it was only that I had never bothered to see it or appreciate it. Being amongst Italians had made me realize and value how Asian-American I was and was really the turning point in my vision as an illustrator/author.

But being France has brought back my artistic dreams. In the past few years I've really begun to identify myself as an author; these days it's been novel writing that has been all-consuming. But at the very beginning I was solely an illustrator, drawing the world around me.

Which is probably why it's here that I've begun to observational sketch again. I feel like it's been a long time and I'm quite rusty. But it feels good...almost like I'm a real artist!