Unessay 2

For my second Unessay project I created a book cover for Teresa Mei Chuc’s Invisible Light. I wanted to do something a little more artistic than writing a typical paper. The poems we read of Teresa’s were some of my personal favorite writings we read and I specifically wanted to focus on her poem “Agent Blue”. This poem is part of Teresa’s third poetry collection Invisible Light. I was inspired by her poem “Agent Blue” because of our class discussion of it and the ways in which it depicts the “other-side” of the environmental warfare waged by the U.S on Vietnam. Our class discussion pulled some key lines from the poem and connected them to the Agent Orange and Blue herbicides used by the U.S military to destroy Vietnamese forest cover and crops. Teresa Mei Chuc’s poem depicts the evil nature of the Agent Orange/Blue operation through the lens of the people it affected. Her poem has an evil yet hopeful feeling, discussing the death of seeds and the perseverance of love, “Because mortars, grenades and bombs cannot destroy a grain./Because our heart is made of seeds”. The cover I created was inspired by an image I found on a website alongside “Agent Blue“. The image depicts a grainy scene of a plane flying over what looks like a field or forest of some sort. I wanted to include a plane of some sort in my cover because of the ways in which they were instrumental to the U.S military in the Vietnam war but also because they were necessary to deploy agent orange herbicide into the forests and farms. That being said, since I am not the best artist I relied on the tools provided through the Procreate app to help create a cover that is almost a collage of drawings. The way I created the cover was by first deciding how I wanted the scene under the plane to look. The original cover for Invisible Light is kind of a strange image of shapes and water. It is titled “Oil in the Ocean” and because there wasn’t a lot of blue in my image inspired by “Agent Blue” I felt it was important to have some element of water to bring that back. I felt inspired by that previous image but I needed to make sure it was clear what was happening with the plane so I made two islands with coastlines, both covered in trees. The islands were made simply by drawing, however the plane is a mixture of traced outlines from reference images and combination of layering and flipping the image to create the plane’s shadow. For someone like me who has artistic ideas but lacks the practice and skill to create them, this mixture of laying, cutting, tracing, and filling, digitally allows me to create something that’s very close to my original idea. Once I finished the image and I was able to play around and manipulate some of the layers, which is how the reds in the image came about. I was able to manipulate the image layer with the ocean and distort the colors, the final product I felt resonated with the grim actions of the Agent Orange herbicide depicted in what looks like a simple “pretty” scene. I was going for a sort of evil tone over something with everyday connotations. I felt herbicides were something everyone is familiar with and sometimes used on a small scale, however at large poses a huge environmental risk to the people and the land. Sort of a grim overlay to the simple nature of watching a plane fly by. I had a lot of fun creating this cover and wish I was a little more skilled so I could really impress myself but I am happy with how it came out.


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