Unpacking the Story of GB #578: Her First Evolution
Hidden Reference #1:
The ‘vibe halo’ behind her head, called ‘pink energy’ in the GB’s background metadata. This one has a special touch! A fave artist and friend is one of two people who gifted an art layer to the GBs. Check out on Twitter @whichlight and his ‘Feeling great about my butt’ drawings!! He made the shape of her vibe halo.
Here’s an example of Whichlight’s work, this one is called “The light I am making, the light you are making.”
The specific halo he made for the GB Project is based on, in his words: “the halo is from a series of procedural pattern drawings, here’s another one:”
Hidden Reference #2
Some GBs have a mood on their chest. There are rainbows, clouds, gulls, etc…. This one has gulls (the upper chest gulls represent a mood).
Gulls throughout the project are a key symbol. They relate to the human tendency to observe without taking action. This is an ambivalent force — it can be good or bad to observe without taking action. There are other ambivalent forces in the GB world, too. This is just one.
Hidden Reference #3
She also has the ocean in her sunglasses. There are other ocean references in the collection, most obviously in the ocean bra top. These a reference to a poem by a husband (Michael DuBois) and wife (Larissa DuBois) team. Together, they go by ‘Dream of the Woods’. The poem is called ‘Because I am a Mermaid’ and written by the husband Michael DuBois. They live by the ocean in Massachusetts, where Nathan and I like to go sometimes. They do not have twitter from what I can tell. But their instagram is: https://www.instagram.com/dreamofthewoods/.
Hidden Reference #4
The background is dark, but contains a pattern that is an indirect nod to M.C. Escher. I love that kind of art — and we’re lucky to have mathematical artists, Arran and Harri, on the GB Project team :). Though Escher became a household name, during his life he was neglected by the art world in part because he insisted on calling himself a designer of interesting mathematical concepts, rather than an artist. Those who don’t know his work will recognize works influenced by it like the game Monument Valley, or the Abyss scene in Kentarou Miura’s manga, Berzerk. Incidentally, at the very beginning of the GB project, I was using the handle, Berzerk, before GBae.
Although Escher claimed that emotions did not influence his work, they clearly did. He struggled with social anxiety and avoided people. He even avoided people in his art, making portraits of himself because having others sit and pose for him was too uncomfortable. He made a few portraits of family members and these seldom were for sale. He also grappled with trauma. During WWII, he was expected, like many artists at the time, to join the Nazi propaganda machine, and refused. “The artist was never able to completely get over the loss and deaths brought by the war, and turned pessimistic about human society in his later years. He wrote to a friend, “It’s a pity that the world we live in is such a hopeless case. It’s an unfathomable while dangerous world, an irrational gamble. I myself prefer to live amongst obstructions that have nothing to do with reality.”…
M.C. Escher gave a lot to others, and if I could send a GB back in time, I would send him one. You can read more about his life and work here: https://www.illustrationhistory.org/essays/the-hidden-emotions-in-m.c-eschers-artwork
Hidden Reference #5
The cheeks are a nod to one of my favorite artists, Hulya Ozdemir from Turkey, whose portraits are stunningly bright, textured, and make me happy. I love her work, much of which has psychological titles like ‘talking backwards’, ‘memories of early warning signs’, and ‘vague are the hopes that try our patience’.
Hidden Reference #6,7,8+
There is always more to be discovered in a GB, and likewise, there is more in this one (her hair, body fill, etc also have meaning..) but this is plenty for now.
Thank you for reading!