THE FIRST NOVEL I EVER READ COVER TO COVER in one sitting was Mary Shelley’s 1818, Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus. Over the years, every October, I read and listen to it again… no movie has yet to be so compelling.
The psychological struggle of Victor Frankenstein with his obsession to create life and then destroy the life he created captivates me to this day. Whether you are new to the story or a long-time admirer, I wish for you to enjoy my journey as I give life to a poster of Frankenstein (hoping to avoid the desire to destroy it after “it’s alive”).
My objective as an artist will be to creatively answer this question, “How will I capture a powerful emotion found in the magnificent story, Frankenstein?”.
STEP 1 – Getting Into Character
The obvious starting point here is to begin rereading and listening to Frankenstein while I browse the internet for inspiration. Fun but often time-consuming undertaking. Below are a few of the Frankenstein books in my library (It’s Alive!, Frankenstein Alive, Alive, Frankenstein)
STEP 2 – Gesturing A Soul
Keeping things loose, I am listening to Frankenstein a second time (I often use book or movie audio as background noise while I work) and reading my book and notes from previous years. The novel flashes my imagination with a thundering display of creative ideas. Some of my favorites are:
“..my mind was filled with one thought, one conception, one purpose. So much has been done, exclaimed the soul of Frankenstein, – more, far more, will I achieve: treading in the steps already marked, I will pioneer a new way, explore unknown powers, and unfold to the world the deepest mysteries of creation.”
“..I saw how the worm inherited the wonders of the eye and brain, I paused, examining and analyzing all the minutiae of causation, as exemplified in the change from life to death, and death to life, until from the midst of this darkness a sudden light broke in upon me..”
“..to make a figure of a gigantic stature; that is to say, about eight feet in height, and proportionally large.”
Finding reference material on Frankenstein is easy to come by, so I build my catalog simultaneously as I sketch thumbnails and jot down my thoughts. Like any great book, as I grow, it grows with me. Each reading brings to life a new meaning. In this first week, painting the monster of Frankenstein feels like the winner to driving me forward. Although I think a scene of glaciers with a figure of a gigantic stature in the distance or the deaths of Frankenstein’s loved ones has an intense mystery about them.
“The directing room and the slaughterhouse furnished many of my materials…”
“..I saw the dull yellow eye of the creature open..”
STEP 3 – Stitching Things Together