Since I have been living in California, I have often wondered about the meaning of home. When I visit Montreal I speak of going home, but when I return to Los Angeles I’m also going home. In French the closest equivalent of home would be a chez-soi, and in Quebec we’ll often say chez nous, using the plural form whether it’s one or many persons’ place. That plural can sometimes also relates to us as a group, and to our culture.
Montreal is where my family and culture is, but over the years the city has changed, and I’ve changed… it’s still my hometown but I can’t deny it feels different. Los Angeles was very foreign to me when I first arrived, but now it holds a great deal of memories and people I care about. More than that, it’s a place of innovation, artistic expression, and possibilities. And I feel at home with that. As Herman Hesse says… “Home is neither here nor there. Home is within you or is nowhere at all.”
This exploration of the concept of home was my response to this month’s assignment in Lilla Rogers’ MATS Bootcamp. It started out with a mini about Ellis Island which then turned into designing mugs with the hairstyles of the era of Ellis Island. I was quite challenged by that. How to place the topic of immigration on coffee mugs, or even as an editorial, limit it to the era of Ellis Island though it expands way beyond that time to today? As others did, I first tried to approach it simply with the fashion angle, which is quite fascinating considering the costumes and the hairstyles of the time. I sketched some motifs, explored the connection between some historical hairstyles and those in vogue now.
But I also had the thought when seeing photos of the people of Ellis Island that they had to carry their whole home in a suitcase. Those big trunks looked so heavy to carry, why they didn’t attached wheels at the time I have no idea. Although mine had wheels, actually it was a truck of belongings following me, I can relate with packing my home and moving it in a far away place. And somewhere between drawing a fancy hairstyle and being nagged by the concept of moving and home I got the idea of designing the girl’s dress as a house and found the perfect quote to go with it.
I meant my illustration to be used as an editorial piece, to be pitched to lifestyle magazines for articles talking about home. But I also managed to turn it into a mug as suggested for the assignment.
And I couldn’t resist animating that one too ;).