Emma Flaire’s piece, Henry presents a depiction of an aging man with a sense of dignified wisdom and resolve. The man, presumably named Henry, is depicted with an intimacy that of which could only be derived from a knowledge so innate with detail and history as one in the immediate, is presented to us with poise and respect-demanding form. The piece’s composition draws into the folds of flesh that composes the countenance of the subject. These ridges and caverns carved into his face are not ones of disfigurement, but of vulcanized character. The galvanization of age is shown upon the rendition of a man at ease. The oils of piece accentuate age, and the dynamism of the face’s natural contours ebb toward a culmination of character evident upon the gaze emanating from the piece.

As a writer, I am drawn to the subject of the piece itself. I used this piece, and another submitted by Emma Flaire in a generative exercise based of derivative origin in my own productions. I found my impression of reserved platitude, and the implication of a lifetime of labor to be of great potential for exploration. I focused, in my generative ventures, on the way the piece evoked a sense of demand for respect. The man in the piece gazes with authority at whatever meets his weathered gaze. I wrote extensively on the concept of virtue in labor and the continuance of genealogy through reproductive propagation. I find Emma Flaire to be adept at observing the qualities of an entire man, and the depiction of earnest and comprehensive depictions of the authentic.

I encourage those viewing the piece to look within at their own reservations and associations with that of which they derive parallels from the work of Emma Flaire. Once I was able to divorce myself from the physical limitations of the medium of the visual, and look to find the memories and values within the gaze of this man, and other works alongside it, I was able to articulate and expand upon that which might not have been acknowledged without the assistance of a visual catalyst by which to direct my inner evaluation of those individualistic abstractions.

A fantastic generative process by which I, and others have the potential to realize, is the disassembly of impressionistic conclusions as to the nature of the subject depicted in the piece, and the delving into the components of the derivative implication. The way the artist investigates the formlessness of Henry, and the sheer emotional intimacy evident in the care and detail put into constructing such a nuanced and specifically degraded face is the visual actualization of a memory, formulated from the impressions of a series of presumed interactions. She is, in a sense, immortalizing the impact the subject has on her through her close inspection of that which is common, and therefore making it evidence of a much greater understanding of universality in common interaction.

Emma Flaire’s interpretation of this impression is evident in her apparent dismemberment of her memory’s account, and restructure of a far more connection inviting representation of a stranger, whose intricacies are plainly and eloquently given to us through his face’s austere gaze.

Sheldon White, Junior Fiction/CNF Editor

The Power of Élan 

This year’s fall edition of Élan is something that I’m really proud of. This was my first time being a part of the editorial process as the senior Fiction/CNF editor and it was a really cool experience to play a big part in what pieces go into the book. Reading all the pieces that had been submitted and looking at the art was so interesting, as it always is. I think each piece is truly special in its own way, and each one impacted me differently. Two pieces that inspire me a lot are the CNF piece “Jew-ish” by Jake Shafran and the art piece The Whore, The Gunslinger, and the Guy Who Wrote Their Scripts by Nur Chodry. Both of these pieces stuck out to me in the editorial process and I am so happy that they are in the book.

I’m going to start off by talking about the piece, “Jew-ish.” Before I even begin talking about the piece itself, I want to talk about CNF. In my first year of Élan, the genre team made it a goal to include more CNF in the book. CNF is such a powerful form of writing and every reads process I am excited to see the CNF pieces that are submitted. This year, I had the same goal, and when I came across this piece I was immediately impacted. Writing CNF is so vulnerable in itself, and submitting it for other people to read is as well. “Jew-ish” is a very personal piece and I think most people can relate to it, even if they aren’t in that exact situation.

The piece deals with feeling lost about what religion you belong to. It deals with those strong feelings of confusion, and I think most people can connect with this feeling. The reader gets to read this story about a young boy dealing with feelings. The reader feels close to the speaker, and it allows us to really be present in the pieces. We get to see him when he feels united with others and when he feels separate from them. It’s a powerful message and one that I connected to immediately, and I think the readers of Élan will connect to as well.

Selecting the art for Élan is just as fun as selecting the writing. I’m always excited to see what people have submitted, and one piece that stuck out to me immediately was The Whore, The Gunslinger, and the Guy Who Wrote Their Scripts by Nur Chodry. Before I truly looked at the piece, the name of it grabbed my attention. I think the title in itself tells a story, and that’s important for something like Élan. We want the art to tell a story just as much as the writing.

The piece of art itself is so interesting to me. The girl in the front grabs your attention first, and I think the way that her body has been painted is really beautiful. Once you see her, you then focus on the person behind her and how he’s looking slyly at her. It almost seems like she doesn’t notice either, by the way her eyes are looking up. The man behind her had a halo and she has wings, so that provides a aspect of heaven as well.

As I said before, I’m really proud of this edition of Élan. I think the pieces that have been selected, both art and writing, are powerful in their own right. Each one has something special about them and I think the readers of Élan will be pleased with the writing and art coming their way.

Anna Howse, Senior Fiction/CNF Editor

Inspiration in the Teen Art Community

I am constantly amazed looking at the submissions Élan gets for both art and writing. There are so many talented teens in our community that I am glad they have found Élan as an outlet to make their voices heard. With every book every Élan member takes part in choosing the writing and art pieces that will be in the final look of the book that we create, no matter if it is an online or print edition. My favorite part is being able to read all of the writing and art before the list of both are narrowed down. This is my favorite part because it allows me to dive in to someone else’s world for a second and see what is going on in their mind.

My favorite writing piece in our Fall Online Edition is “Icarus Drowning” by Isabella Tolbert. Icarus was one of the first of many mythology stories I read when growing up, and is a story that has always stuck with me. I love the way the images move throughout the poem, as well as how Isabella chose to make the poem about more than flying to close to the sun and touched further on Icarus’ death too.

I feel mythology stories are very accessible overall because of how long they have been around and how many people know of them. There are many mythological stories that have been told over and over in several different ways, including Icarus, and when writing in the persona of a mythological character you can twist certain aspects of the story to your advantage.

My favorite art piece that is in our Fall Online Edition is El Sueno Produce Monstruos by Sam Pabon. I felt the strong emotion in this art piece the first time I saw it, despite the lack in color, which is what makes the piece so connecting to me. There is depth in the height shown and the darkness show in contrast to that height I feel tells a lot of the art piece’s story. This piece is accessible because of the emotion and the perspective. The art piece was created to resemble first person point of view looking over an area from a high place. The perspective makes the art piece accessible because at least once in everyone’s life, we have looked at an area from a high perspective (i.e. a Ferris wheel, bridge, etc.) The emotion that comes in with that perspective is also accessible because the perspective feels as if we, the viewer, is observing from a high place. Many people have different reactions to having that sort of perspective.

Art and writing both equally can have a large impact on many people and in many different ways. I encourage you to go read Élan’s Online Fall Edition and allow the work to inspire you and your own art and/or writing.

Catriona Keel, Senior Digital Media Editor