Friday, February 10, 2012

Another Mothman:

Take a closer look at this gorgeous painting by artist Jason Rosenstock.

I stumbled upon it while Googling for the site of an artist by that name, as I wanted to link to the homepage of the artist who drew some of the art in The Strange Case of Origami Yoda (discussed here). I have no idea if this artist named Jason Rosenstock is the same artist named Jason Rosenstock whose illustrations can be found in the Origami Yoda book, but regardless, this artist named Jason Rosenstock is a hell of an artist, with some beautiful paintings devoted to some outre subjects, like dinosaurs and fantasy and alien creatures and landscapes. (UPDATE: This Jason Rosenstock is the Origami Yoda Jason Rosenstock, according to author Tom Angleberger in the comments)

The first thing I thought when I saw the un-labeled image above was, "Say, I wonder if that's supposed to be Mothman," and, to my delight, when I yanked it from the page to set on my desktop, I saw it was labeled "Mothman.jpg."

Aside from the considerable virtues of the piece as a digital painting, including its use of light, the suggestion of the subject matter by the number of moths fluttering about, and the way the moths seem to be attracted to the luminescent monster that bears their name and the way it regards them in return, I think it's a pretty tremendous depiction of the creature.

Firstly, it looks rather moth-like, mostly due to its coloration and, to a lesser extent, its shape, but unlike other depictions of the creature to take the name literally (Frank Frazetta's famous image used as the cover of The Mothman Prophecies, for example, or the Robert Roach-sculpted statue that commemorates the legend surrounding the bizarre 1966-67 events in Point Pleasant, West Virginia), this moth-like Mothman actually looks like, were it real, it might be able to generate the types of witness accounts that we have.

Yes, the bulk of the witnesses described the creatures as gray, brown or black, but at least one person said they saw a white creature, and, in darkness, it's easy to see how a creature with this coloration could be mistaken to be a darker color (And, in the dark, the striping might not be apparent). Additionally, in pitch-black, all a witness would see would be the glowing red eyes, if that's what are atop of this creatures' head, which, because of the odd shape suggested by the wings—this Mothman does look rather like a couple of blankets thrown over a chair in form, doesn't it?—could be perceived as being embedded in its chest or shoulders. Certainly, if someone saw this Mothman, it would be easy to understand descriptions referring to a headless or faceless monster, or one bearing an indescribable face, or a "science fiction-like" face."

What a great image: accomplished and beautiful as an image and, intended or not, a smart illustration of the Mothman folklore, reverse-engineered from reported sightings.


Akilles said...

Wow. What a great artist.

Sam said...

Yes! Jason is an INCREDIBLE artist!
He did the covers and a few doodles for the books. I did most of the inside stuff.
But-- as beautiful as his covers are -- they are clearly just the tip of the iceberg. Jason seems capable of anything.

I'd like to write a book for him to illustrate, but frankly I don't think I can think big enough to match his talents!

Tom A

Caleb said...

Tom A,

Oh. The fine print crediting the art simply credited the cover and art to you both, so I wasn't sure who did what; I assumed he drew it all. I'll try to rewrite that bit to make it clearer in the text of this post...and the previous one that actually was about your book.


Jason said...

Caleb, Tom,
You guys are the best. Thanks so much for the high praise and insightful comments. That Mothman picture came from exactly the process you described. I was spending some late nights at work when I was at BioWare, and I would put on crazy documentaries in the background. Mothman stuff was a staple. I tried to piece together the ways in which mothman was described, then imagine what I would see if I was out late at night in the woods and I had that name and all those witness accounts running over and over again in my head...
if you would like to see my most recent work, ive spent the last year making about 1,000 pieces of art for my new game with my new indie studio, White Whale. The game is called God of Blades and its based on old pulp fantasy paperbacks like the ones that inspired me my whole life. it should be available on iOS devices at the end of this month.

Glad I found this blog, Caleb, its a great resource with lots of insights. And if Tom is listening, its my honor to be able to contribute to your books. I know so many kids who have fallen in love with that world, and for good reason.