Monday, 21 May 2012

Announcing cover artist for WSADF: Carmen Moran

We’re delighted to be able to announce the identity of the artist who will be providing book cover art for the We See a Different Frontier print anthology: an illustrator who has worked with TFF for some years by the name of Carmen Moran. As you know, the Peerbacker campaign is still open for a couple more weeks, and we’re keen to raise as much money as we call, so as to fill the anthology with as many great professional-rate stories as possible. Among the rewards, if you’re feeling flush, is the original signed piece of artwork that we’ll use on the cover. Carmen is a professional and exhibited (and as you can see, talented) artist, so owning a unique piece of her work will be a great privilege.

Carmen has been regularly illustrating stories for TFF (samples) since 2007 when she provided the wonderfully bright and quirky, yet powerful, images to accompany Mark Harding’s irreverent and political cyberpunk satire ‘Art Attack’, one of which (an airship exploding and giving birth to sparkling pink nanobots) we also used as the cover art on TFF #9. Her illustrations have ranged from flawlessly executed simple and gritty sketches, to extravagant and joyful cartoon-like celebrations of insane majesty. Most recently she created two heartstoppingly poignant and evocative illustrations for S. Ali’s fantastic and fierce Arab Spring parable ‘Bilaadi’, including the spine-chilling piece to the left.

In addition to SF illustrating, Carmen works in a wide variety of craft and design projects, a lot of which can be found in her portfolio. She makes and sells everything from stuffed monster toys and printed teeshirts to greetings cards and gift tags via her online store and at craft fairs, and has been commissioned for children’s books and educational exhibits. Some of our favourite examples of her work include this Tigershark print (right), monster bookplate (below), and the tattoo design (bottom).

We’re still in the drafting stage of working on the We See a Different Frontier cover art, so nothing to show yet (but watch this space for updates). One idea that Carmen is playing with is to create a stylized map, in the colours and style of an old atlas, but with the coastlines and contours and frontiers suggestive of folk art and symbols rather than the conventional borders and outlines we’re used to seeing on our maps, through western eyes and on a Mercator projection of the Earth's surface.

Another idea that always comes to mind from the POV of a Third World citizen is the concept of gambiarra. This word (maybe of Portuguese or Italian origin, but of etymology actually unknown) means something like “jury-rigging”, but with the passage of time it came to mean more than that—the poor people’s “McGiverish” power to, say, create a spaceship from junk, spit and paper clips. We thought of a “Frankenstein” spaceship of sorts, all made of different metal plaques welded together, showing different colors and different origins (a CCCP radar antenna here, a porthole design with Indian motifs, names of Brazilian and South African defunct corporations in a few scattered bits of equipment, all this decomissioned stuff, apparently junk—but a junk that works. A gambiarra spaceship made by competent people not from NASA or the European Space Agency. An alternative spaceship that takes off the ground and does its job better than a space shuttle. This has a kind of old cyberpunk flavor, but most of all it represents the post-colonial zeitgeist. The time for a true global SF has come, and we’re ready for it.

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