Author Archives: Barefoot Justine

About Barefoot Justine

Illustrator, dreamer, Hindu, barefoot.

The Goddess and the Whore

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Drawing, or at least living for it, has turned me into a beggar. THAT, was not my dream, rather a betrayal of it. My dream was “To make a living as an artist,” never to starve, never to go months without any income, never to become an internet whore.

I share my art on Facebook (which I hate), and resent that I have to dance with that devil to to attend a party, that had I gotten an invite, I would have thrown it away. It doesn’t matter if you’re any good or not anymore, it matters how well you market, how charming you are… how many friends you have (on Facebook, no less?). Art is a popularity contest. Let’s just say this… in high school… I was not winning any popularity contests. Quite frankly, the modern way of doing things has exhausted me. So much so, that I am not even sure if what I want is worth the price I’m having to pay.

What I dreamed of doing, of being, is not there for me, and I’m not sure if it’s not there for me anymore because I’ve lost the hunger to pursue it all over again, or if it’s simply not there anymore. This world is not my home, this construct is not the one I had prepared myself for. This maya is rubbing me the wrong way.

So, what do I do? I launch a Patreon site, begging people to love me, to love my work, to send me money, like one of those people on a street corner with a cardboard sign, or far worse, like a someone in marketing. All I’m told now is I have to market myself to make it in the current climate… hell, had I wanted to go into marketing, I would have gotten a marketing degree. Had I wanted to win popularity contests I would have gone into politics. No, this world is not my home, this world has reduced me to a beggar, a marketer, and a narcissistic politician… a fucking whore. And the worst part isn’t that I don’t know how to do any of this, it’s that I don’t want any fucking part of it. Fuck Facebook! The fact that I am on it at all leaves me feeling, for the very first time in my life, like a fucking sell-out.

I have sold out, I am on Facebook, I am on Patreon, and to add insult to injury I am selling out for a pittance, for so little I cannot even pay the rent. Not only am I whore, I’m a cheap whore. But I’m in this squalor now, I’ve settled into this culture’s muck, and I’m going to have to learn to live with the smell of this sewage with every breath.

I’m going to have to put up with the assholes on Facebook who insult me because they misread my tone. I have to deal with men with fragile egos who defend themselves against offers of daises.

But my work, my Mara, is the same as she ever was, pure, a dark reflection of my soul.

Mara, a soul nourished on a diet of forbidden fairy tales.

Mara, an entity that rose up from the fertile soil of my struggles and insights.

She is all that is left of the purity of my ego.

The Mara story is my story, and I am Mara. I may have become a whore, I may have sold out as a human, but Mara, my work, is as pure as it ever was, in fact, more pure by far. I have sold out everything but Mara, she remains a demon and a goddess bound in the jungle of my ego, released through the grinding of my pencil as it scratches, seeks, sometimes fails but usually finds her on the page.

Welcome, Justine Mara Andersen, to the field of opposites, to the dualities of being, of being an artist.

And welcome Mara, too, because what has tainted me will be your cross to bear as well. My weariness will reflect in your eyes.

I will suck the cock of social media, but Mara will forever be a virgin. Her purity will have to carry me through this mire.

I will seek redemption through Mara, as I always have. I am willing to get my hands dirty and dance with these devils if I can keep her breathing. And you can help me keep her breathing.

May her feet stay bare and stray from harm.

If you want to see Mara come to life, if you want to become a patron of the arts, I am asking you to do so. Your contributions will help feed me and keep me alive, it will keep Mara running barefoot through her adventures, it will allow her to grow, perhaps beyond the bounds of Facebook. Help me help Mara, and you’ll get cool exclusive stuff, stuff about the process, scans of the work in progress, and the pleasure of knowing that the money you are donating is making a direct and immediate impact.

To become my patron: https://www.patreon.com/barefootjustine

Mara Page 3

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Become Justine’s patron: https://www.patreon.com/barefootjustine

And introducing… MARA! This is where the truth starts to shine through, the influence of of everything, DMT, Exploitation cinema, and, of course the artists that influence me, and this is where all that merges into the real me.

Early on, Berni Wrightson had a huge influence on me, and in many ways, this page was a tribute to his beautiful mad scientist laboratories, only mine is more organic, and I wanted to get away from Wrightson’s Gustave Dore obsession to remain true to my stylistic preferences. But that’s always the way with the things that influence me, once they are filtered through me, they end up looking little like the source from which I took inspiration.

…And this was also all merging with my love of research. I wanted this image to have the feel of an opium den. For me Mara is very much a “Beauty and the Beast” or “Cinderella” story, in that I am excited by the vision of her beauty surrounded by the foul and beastly, whether that foul and beastly presence be a place or an entity. Plus, at this point in the story, Mara has to be at rock bottom… or at the very least is traveling in that direction. I also have a fascination for things of the past, so a good old opium den setting was far more interesting to me than a rave.

Funny, but the truth is, my fascination with the opium den setting goes back to a fantastic old penny arcade machine I saw in San Francisco at the Musee Mecanique, I was lucky enough to find a picture of the very machine that fired my imagination… wish this was a video and we could watch it move.

I’d like to note also the “DMT toad” in the upper left. Now here is where I have to be totally straight, the entheogenic drug Mara is on is NOT actually DMT, let alone 5-MeO DMT, but a FANTASY version of DMT. Below I have included a photo of a DMT toad… the DMT is NOT activated by licking the toads, but by extracting the fluid from the sacks on the toads.

I’ve never actually had DMT from the toad, but since this is a fantasy, that seems irrelevant. The toad was more picturesque.

At this point I’d like to point out that Mara’s world isn’t so much a future world of any particular time, Mara’s world is another dimension, an alternate reality, and its logic runs on the logic of that reality, as dreams run on dream reality and fairy tales run on fairy tale reality, and Exploitation films run on Exploitation reality.

And, last but not least, to help me make this dream come true, to help bring these visions and fantasies to light, become a patron of the arts: https://www.patreon.com/barefootjustine

To take Justine’s classes: https://learn.sawcomics.org/collections/justine?q=

Mara Page 2

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As I explained in the video, page 2 was in a sense a compare and contrast between the world of Mara’s DMT visions and her “reality.” The page was laid out with the same panel dimensions, and the top panels of both pages were meant to compositionally run parallel to each other.

So, I am showing them side by side below:

Side By SIde Justine's Mara Pages 1-2

Side By SIde Justine’s Mara Pages 1-2

I think in a sense this imagery is a meditation on how entwined the realities and dimensions we live in are, the reality and dimension of our fantasies, and that of our reality.

Yet there is MOST definitely a difference between fantasy and reality, something the political correctness movement has entirely lost track of. It amazes me how quickly people will assume things about an artist’s politics or philosophy based on the fantasies in their art. I was once asked (hell… not asked… ACCUSED) by an ass-kissing gallery owner about my erotic fantasy work, “What does this say about slavery? About women’s rights?” I said, “Uhm… nothing.” I am constantly astounded at how many people cannot tell fantasy from reality. Let’s face it, most of the stuff that happens to Mara I would not want to live through, but that has nothing to do with what I might fantasize about. Fantasies should never line up with ideology, if they do, then I think you have surrendered your imagination, or perhaps chained it, to your politics. Shame, isn’t it?

OK, rant over, Just for fun, and to show how page 1 and page 2 relate even more clearly, I have merged the two pages into one below:

Justine Mara Andersen New Mara Pages 1 - 2 Merge

Justine Mara Andersen New Mara Pages 1 – 2 Merge

To be honest, I don’t really have much of a feel for science fiction, too much technical stuff, I prefer the organic quality of fantasy, but for the story to work, Mara had to start out in a world in which she feels misfit, so I had to draw environments in which I feel misfit.

Whenever I draw science fiction, I tend to turn to Syd Mead for influence, the man who essentially designed Blade Runner. I turn to him not so much to copy, but to draw influence, I also turned to Roy G. Krenkel for influence, but I could not find the Krenkel in particular that influenced elements of this page.

Below I have included a fine example of a Syd Mead, a world I admire as an act of creation, but not a place in which I would want to spend any time, a place Mara is forced to exist in… at least for now.

And, last but not least, to help me make this dream come true, to help bring these visions and fantasies to light, become a patron of the arts: https://www.patreon.com/barefootjustine

To take Justine’s classes: https://learn.sawcomics.org/collections/justine?q=

Justine’s Site… Exciting NEW Content

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Hey Group, check out my site, an updated Home page, a new animation gallery, a new gallery of my Gainesville work (under “galleries”), and most exciting, an in depth look at my work in progress under “New Mara” (to be found under “categories” or in the top navigation bar), an enormous undertaking that will feature page by page videos and blogs about the process.

And I need help, artists need patrons, so check out my Patron site, too: https://www.patreon.com/barefootjustine

Mara Page 1 (& Classic Mara)

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Watch video above!

Old Mara Art

Old Mara Art

These entries are meant to compliment the on-camera video flip-through (TOP) I did with Tom Hart for the unfinished relaunch of my highly personal Mara comics series. At first we thought we might edit in close-ups and images from the artists that influenced me, but it seemed that a better treatment was to write accompanying blogs so the viewer can perhaps come in closer, or at least spend more time with the images I want to spotlight.

Before even going into the first page of the new Mara, I spent some time discussing “Classic Mara,” if something as utterly ignored and low-selling as my Mara can ever be considered “classic.”

Regardless, that old Mara project came from the heart, and it kept me “sane,” and drove me nuts at the same time… and kept me poor. But I felt I had something to say then, and then I thought it was important. Now, I have something to say, but being older… I no longer suffer from the delusion that it will be in any way “important.” As I often say, “I wanted to leave a mark, but I fear all I’ve left is a stain.” What kept me doing it even while it was being so utterly dismissed was that I had never seen anything like it. In other words, as familiar as I was with Exploitation Cinema, eroticism, and comics in that style, nothing sated my thirst, ONLY Mara did that. My unique vision was what kept me going.

Here she is, good old Mara! The image below was done about the time I had begun to burn out, it’s hard to believe now, but I abandoned this page because I thought it was lousy…

It ain’t!

Classic Unfinished Mara by Justine

Classic Unfinished Mara by Justine

The first page of the “New Mara” was inspired by my experiences with the psychedelic DMT, experiences which ended a couple years back. The problem with translating these experiences into art is that the DMT experience does not translate into the limitations of this reality. The DMT experience is not about seeing and hearing things, it’s more about BEING things. And worse, the DMT experience is a lot like having a handful of gold in the cave of wonders, gold that quickly turns to dust once you exit the cave.

How does one draw that which cannot be grasped, that which cannot be described or defined, or even remembered? About all an artist can do is try and recreate what the experience felt like.

I found the image below, and while it is not what I experienced, it came far closer than anything else I have seen. But imagine if the image below were in motion, the colors rotating, luminesce, and wholly immersive. All I could find to credit the artist was that it was done by “Beacon.”

I think if you look at the 2nd panel of the first page you will see that I did a variation on this image, but chose to reference the trunk of the Hindu deity Ganesh. Also note the floating circles and how they pan across all 6 of the lower panels.

Justine Mara Andersen's Mara Page 1 Detail

Justine Mara Andersen’s Mara Page 1 Detail

The grid underneath was intended to help me maintain symmetry, but I am thinking I might ink it in, it seems now to be a part of the drawing.

I was asked just yesterday if the DMT experience changed me for the better or for the worse. I stammered, and had to say that every action comes with consequences, some could be seen as positive, some as negative. All I know is that the changes have been profound and utterly irreversible. What I have learned from DMT has expanded me, and somewhat frightened me, it’s not something that should be undertaken lightly. Was it for the best or for the worst? I don’t know, but I don’t regret it.

And, last but not least, to help me make this dream come true, to help bring these visions and fantasies to light, become a patron of the arts: https://www.patreon.com/barefootjustine

To take Justine’s classes: https://learn.sawcomics.org/collections/justine?q=