Friday, May 27, 2011

What makes me tick: Myst

(This is the first post in what I hope will be a series about my influences, inspiration, and the artists I admire!)

Replica of Gehn's Crest
by ~rivenwanderer on deviantART

This isn't jewelry, though it has some similarities with the wearable things I make. It's a six-inch disc made for a contest on DeviantArt. I joined a group over there that's all about the computer game Myst and its sequels. And I couldn't resist pulling out all the stops and spending my weekend recreating one of the elaborate designs from Riven, my favorite game.

When I first played Myst as a kid, I was dazzled by the revolutionary (for its time) graphics, and by the concept of books that could literally transport you to new places. It was a concept much like the Wood between the Worlds from the Narnia books my mother read to me growing up. And the linking books in Myst provided me with a way to imagine writing my own worlds, and then travelling to them. My sketchbooks filled with doodles of islands, forests, and buildings.

Riven was an experience like Myst ten times over; a world much bigger, grittier, and realer than any fantasy world I'd seen before. Every surface showed the effects of weather, time, and wear; every puzzle existed for a logical reason; every aspect of the ecosystem fit together perfectly; every building bore the mark of its builder. I spent a wonder-filled week playing the game. Then, I wanted to know how it was done; I wanted to create real-feeling worlds like it. I pored over the "making of" video and learned to make my own computer graphics. In the end, I drifted away from 3D modeling, but the lessons about giving objects depth, texture, and a life of their own have stayed with me.

In making things out of metal, my aim is always to create something that feels like a real artifact from an imaginary world. Something that transports the wearer the way that Myst and Riven transported me.

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