The idea of Mercy was born while flying somewhere above the sea between Denmark and Sweden in last May. I looked out of the window and saw a large field of wind turbines that rose from the sea. Nothing else was needed. In that moment five different kind of ideas collided together. It was like a visual explosion inside my head. I didn’t have felt that kind of feeling for months. And there I sat, on a small airplane bench in the middle of the row and I felt I’d like to jump or scream to everybody onboard that plane ”What a pitty that I cannot show you what my imagination just drew in my mind?!”
It was very clear: a small girl standing on a boat, wearing a white dress, holding a white flag of surrender, in the middle of the sea facing a wind turbine field.
I named the idea ”Mercy”. Mercy is one of my favourite words. I even made my master thesis on that subject. Powerful word that can be changed into a cry of help with only one mark – mercy! A powerful word that keeps inside an act of goodness. Mercy. There is a place in all of our lives when we have needed mercy, place where we had cried for mercy, place where we have hopefully felt what mercy is.
For me this image keeps inside many stories. I believe we all can add our own interpretation to it. Sometimes it is even better to give your art to public and after that the creation starts to live its own life. So before reading any further – what do you see? What is your interpretation?
I want to share my path of how I created this scenery, to tell those five ideas which blended together unexpectedly. Together they shape an entire story.
1. A song that played inside my head over and over again
Music is definetely one of the biggest inspirations for me and one song was a push to create this image. Before watching out of that airplane window, I had listened a song Mercy by Madame Monsieur (<- link, listen it). When I find a song that I like, I just play it over and over again for few weeks. I really fell in love with the atmosphere and the story in that song. The song tells a true story of a baby who was born in Mediterranean Sea on a refugee boat and survived, and who was named ”Mercy” after they were rescued. For me, the harsh images of the migrant crisis, of the drown children, have left a permanent mark inside of me. Tears and questions without an answer. Why they had to face that horrible destiny? The song and the story brought some light for me to deal these hard news. Many beautiful stories of survival should be told and heard. Like the story of this baby.
Here is the beautiful chorus of the song:
Je suis née ce matin I was born this morning
Je m’appelle Mercy My name is Mercy
On m’a tendu la main They offered me a hand
Et je suis en vie And I’m alive
Je suis tous ces enfants I am all those children
Que la mer a pris Who were taken by the sea
Je vivrai cent mille ans I’ll live a hundred thousand years
Je m’appelle Mercy My name is Mercy
These lyrics just give me chills..in a good way.
2. The view from a plane
This one I already told. Sometimes you just have to look out of the window to get inspired.
3. My favourite musical of all times
I was just a teenager when I saw the musical Musical Les Miserables for the first time. I fell in love immediately. I know all the lyrics by heart and some parts of the melodies always give that certain feeling that I just cannot explain. The story of the June Revelation on streets of France has an iconic poster where a small girl stands in front of the waving flag that symbols the barricades of revolution. Iconic drawing is made by Émile Bayard who has made the illustrations to the original book of Les Miserables by Victor Hugo. I really love that musical poster. When I saw my vision of Mercy inside my mind, I thought there is something familiar in it. I realised that the flag, the girl of innocence and the off shoulder dress came from this poster to my mind.
4. A visual movie & pastel palette
I have seen the movie Life of Pi two times. It’s a beautiful movie visually. After seeing Life of Pi for the second time, I wanted to try to create something with pastel tones. With ”Mercy” I finally saw these light tones. I have made quite a lot dark images lately and it was time to try something new. Something that would look like a pastel painting with no dark shadows.
5. Unstable future
I have always wanted to make pictures that have a deeper perspective, some message hidden, that would make you think why the image is done. At the moment we are facing big issues. The climate change, extinction of species, overconsumption, refugee crisis all over the world and crazy autocrat politicians ruling our world are unfortunately something we have gotten used to. We are tired. It feels like there is no chance to do anything because our world’s problems are just too big to solve. But I still believe we have a need to do something. There are many good signs that we will overcome these challenges, but there are lots of unstoppable threats also. I believe we don’t want to built barricades, we don’t want wars, we don’t want to kill our beautiful planet…
I believe that most of us just scream silently ”mercy!”.
Click image bigger.
Video: Making of ”Mercy”