When I Grow Up

Our next project has to be hands down the most stressful one we’ve had. For me personally, anyway. I put this down to the time element of it all, as my head ran away with my ideas and left the time scale and responsibility behind.

Welcome,

This is Prophecy.

1.  a prediction of what will happen in the future.
“a bleak prophecy of war and ruin”

This project felt very open, although we had some sub-themes within the subject of prophecy, I could already see the many yellow brick roads waiting to be skipped down. Some examples of the themes are Children, memory, politics and so on. We had the choice of working with Amelia on a shadow puppet show, titled ‘The Fir Tree’, work with Tom and create an animation, or finally create work using a form of print. I decided to focus on a young girl or boy having the chance to have a peak into their future life, in the style of a children’s book, and focusing on print techniques.

The story goes a little bit like this:

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Norman was a very adventurous young boy, who’s imagination grew more and more by the day. With shiny red Wellington  boots (and matching rosy cheeks) and a dinosaur helmet, with stegosaurus spikes that would frighten away any threat, he was always ready for the blood-pumping adventures that happened almost instantly after walking in his front door from school.

One day, Norman was very bored and had already played his favourite game in the garden, and read his favourite book. Twice. His mum, Hattie, and dad, Ronny, sat with him and asked him one question.

“What do you want to be when you grow up?”

Norman’s mind ran for miles of all the things he wanted to be when he grew older- a fireman, an astronaut, even a superhero! He then wrote down his wish and ran to the end of his garden, climbed over the broken fence, pushed through the old and rusty gate and finally planted it under the twisted, bulbous oak tree.

He dawdled back to his cosy country cottage home. There he had a bowl of hot broccoli and cheese soup waiting for him. He ate his dinner and clombered into bed, hanging his dinosaur hat safely above his collection of fossils.

A few weeks passed.

It was a drowsy day when Norman heard a knock at the door.

Jumping down from his seat his little feet pattered to the front door. Reaching for the handle, he heard wheezing coughing noises coming from the other side. On opening the door, Norman was greeted with an overwhelming feeling of shock and horror.

“H..H… Hello?”

A great disbelief rushed through Normans body, when he had the realisation that the wretched and weathered man that stood before him, was in fact himself visiting from his future. Little did Norman know, when he planted his wish upon the piece of paper that day, the roots under the tree dissected the contents of his wish: his thoughts, his feelings, his motives and his anticipation, and with that the tree decided to act upon it.

The tree showed Norman the truth.

As a child he was filled with false hope and desperation through the children’s books that he read and was fed to him through society, delivering to him a vision of a perfect, functioning and solid life. Little did he know that all that did for him was make him into a naive little boy.

Grown up Norman was in a terrible state. With a stench that could make your nose dive backwards into your face, clothes that bared more holes that the back wall of a shooting range and less teeth than a fish with a sugar addiction. Little Norman found it very difficult to make eye contact with his future self, mainly because one of his eyes veered off towards the left. The spikes on his dinosaur hat had been broken and there were cracks around the edge, too. The older Norman stubbed out his cigarette into the soil of his mothers aloe vera plant, and whispered..

“take my hand”

Together they travelled through snippets of his future, stopping firstly at his home. But could you call it a home? They entered a hollow, filthy and decimated apartment, that housed couches with rips and stains, broken coffee tables, and mouldy pancakes that have more life to them than future Norman himself. It was nothing like little Norman had imagined and hoped for. Where were the bookcases overflowing with his favourite novels? Where was the spiral staircase leading to his story-writing studio in the attic?And that cute little shabby dog that is always fully of energy, bounding around the house?

His future self let out a bellowing sigh and sparked another cigarette.

Before he had time to blink, they were walking towards a very old and quaint house, with smashed slabs that had fallen from the roof, drainpipes that were bashing against the walls with every gush of wind, and trees so over grown that Norman thought he wouldn’t make it out the other side to the front door.

“Where have you taken me?”

Together they wandered over to the front window, which looked into a darkened living room. The curtains were drawn, except from the left one which was hanging down and appeared to have been burnt. In the corner, Norman noticed a severely over-weight old man, slumped into a dreary armchair that seemed to be covered in old food, uncountable stains and what seemed to be a pile of old family photos, scattered on the floor around his feet. He stared, lifelessly, into a television set that has had a brick thrown through the screen.

Norman became very frightened and uncomfortable, but most of all he was confused, and his future self refused to answer him when he continuously asked “where are we?”, “who is he?”, “can we go now?” Just as Norman was about to turn and run back through the jungle which was the front garden, his eyes glazed over a framed family portrait that was crooked slightly, hanging above the fireplace. There Norman relaxed as he recognised a very beautiful young woman, hand in hand with a handsome young male (who’s glasses seemed a little too big for his face) down below was a young boy, with a grin larger than life itself. He wore a hat, just like the one Norman had on. Future Norman had to turn away, and walk away, leaving his younger self alone to piece it all together. It wasn’t long until he realised that the man that was wallowing away in the corner was in fact his father, living alone in his run down house. Below the family portrait stood a very clean, polished and cared for urn, labelled very proudly-

‘Hattie’.

Little Norman threw himself onto the floor, and with doing so he grazed his knee and scratched his hat. Tears began to flow: he closed his eyes and rubbed them until they were sore. When he opened his eyes he found himself surrounded by suits, suits! so many suits! But not the kind that come with a burst of confidence, happiness and success..oh no. These suits were soiled with coffee stains, dribble and over-grown beards. Norman couldn’t even hear himself think. Voices were everywhere, at every volume. Bodies crowded into cardboard offices (with just one feeble piece of board separating one person from the next)  each with a telephone glued to their ears.

“Hello Mrs. Ingrid Hemingway would you be interested in buying our state of the art fog machine now with new and improved colour setti… M… Mrs. Hemingway?”

With the continuous question flying through the air Norman began to feel growingly claustrophobic and had to take a seat. He covered his ears. He looked around and noticed one of the fossils he has in his collection sat at the desk in front of him. Above was a staff photo, where he recognised his future self- with the no-hat policy in the office Norman could see a very clear dint in the over-grown hair where the hat had been taken off in the morning before the photo, along with dark under eye circles, last weeks dinner in his beard and stained teeth like the colour of rotten bananas.  It didn’t take Norman long to realise this wasn’t a fireman’s office, or an astronauts office, and most definitely not a superheroes office.

” Stop! Stop it Right now! I have had enough!” Little Norman bellowed as he tugged on the trousers of his future self.

“Take me home!”

In a click of their fingers, they both returned to their childhood home. Little Norman was distraught- he ran around his house frantically in search of his mother and father, but they both appeared to be out. His future self struggled to hold his feeble self upright as he stared lifelessly out of the window facing the bulbous old oak tree. Little Norman screamed questions to himself in such despair, all with empty answers. He paced his kitchen and he hid his face.

Bounding into the garden, little Norman grabbed one of his mothers tiny garden shovels and headed straight to the oak tree.  When he got there he wasted no time, and he clawed away at the foot of the tree creating mounds of soil behind him. Soon enough he grew tired, so tired that he struggled to lift his little arms up from the ground. His little knees were coated in grass stains, and his shiny red wellington boots had lost their magic, and were coated in thick, slimy and grisly mud, that looked as though it had been sneezed out by the most intimidating, lethal and blood-curdling monster that could roam the earth.

His future self dawdled up behind him and stubbed his cigarette out onto little Norman’s dinosaur hat. There in front in them both sat an infinite hole that little Norman had dug. His future self placed his hand on Norman’s shoulder and he stood up, shaking off the soil, the empty snail shells, the slippery worms and they held each others hand.

One step at a time, they both sloped down into the vast and never-ending hole that Norman had created. The darkness soon swallowed them both up, and the points of their dinosaur hats soon dissolved.

Grain by grain, the mounds of soil elegantly lifted from ground and danced together in the air. They gently and calmly collected together and filled the hole right in.

That evening, Hattie and Ronny placed little Norman’s broccoli and cheese soup on the table, with his T-rex spoon waiting patiently to be drowned.

His soup grew cold along with the night, and Norman never returned home.

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Next steps: Now the body of my work is ready I have something to work from. I now need to decided what form of print I want to work with, and try and fit all of this in to the 2-3 weeks we have.

Wish me luck!!

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