The past year of lockdowns has impacted us all in various ways. As an artist and illustrator, Mark Gagne aka Mindmelt Studio decided to turn his anxieties and fears around the pandemic into a collection of creepy images he calls ‘inked photography’.
“A few things inspired me to create this series” Mark explained: “First, to channel my anxiety into a new artistic area of expression. So many of us are struggling to cope with this tumultuous year, and art is my therapy. Second, I’ve always been fascinated with the deep dark forests of the world and the strange creatures that might dwell within. Who knows what lurks beyond the veil of our reality? Third, to perhaps make some statement with these creatures about how we’ve made a real mess of this planet. If these creatures did exist, I can’t imagine they’d be very pleased with the damage we’ve done.“
Mark’s favourite illustrations from the series are those featuring ‘Guardians’. The series shows an ancient race of nature guardians, beings that roamed the Earth before man, as protectors and nurturers of the natural world. They have awakened from their long slumber, confused and angry about the state of the world and how we treat it on a daily basis. They want to reclaim the land that was once theirs.
The artist also created a sub-section of the project titled ‘No Sleep’. He described these illustrations; “The bedroom in most houses is our sanctuary. It’s where we relax, renew our energy and are at our most vulnerable. Bedrooms can also harbour sadness, fear and isolation, and these emotions can leave imprints on the spaces themselves. When I photograph these abandoned spaces, I sometimes imagine emotional spirits watching from the shadows. They’re not necessarily harmful, but perhaps they do feed on our emotions as well? Who knows what lives were lived within these walls?“
A fascination with mythology and legendary creatures is also a major source of inspiration. The artist is fascinated by tales of the Loch Ness Monster, Bigfoot and the Wendigo and designs his own otherworldly monsters influenced by these stories. He is interested in the elements of truth that inspire myths, saying “Centuries ago tales of huge sea monsters terrified sailors, and now the giant squid is scientific fact. Perhaps the stories of cryptids are not as farfetched as they seem.“