The Shape of Water and my own forced evolution

Last weekend, Mike and I went on a date to see The Shape of Water. We both love all things Guillermo del Toro and couldn’t wait to feast our on eyes on this beautiful film. Which it was. Incredibly beautiful. Amazing. If you haven’t seen it yet, you gotta get on that. Afterwards we had a hurried cocktail and conversation about what we saw, eyes dutifully on the clock in attempt to make good on the promised return time for our babysitter. Both of us were flurried in our inspiration. The story was unique, everything was perfectly intertwined, nothing was arbitrary and visually, yes please, all of that. It’s a movie you don’t want to end.

But what struck me personally, was the storyline of a secondary character, Giles. An aging artist, who seemingly once had a successful career as a commercial illustrator but was now struggling to stay relevant at a time when photography was taking center stage. He makes a comment about whether he was just born too early or too late. It was a moment that created a lump in my throat and a burn in my eyes.


Photo by Kerry Hayes. © 2017 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation All Rights Reserved


I have been working as a graphic designer in editorial design, on the printed page, since I graduated college in 1996. In that time I have been very fortunate to almost always have work. Great work, on great publications and with wonderful people. I have also bore witness to the decline of print, the shuttering of publishing companies and the big-fish-eat-little-fish merging of print houses. I have seen staffs go from 50 to 10, not to mention, profound budget cuts—which always starts with benefits then quickly moves to creative. I’ve seen the negotiation of usage rights with artists, as we navigated bringing our books online but not wanting to pay more to do so. I’ve listened to photographers who started shooting digitally in order to meet demand, but lamented the loss of their beloved 4×6 polaroid. Good bye light tables and slide viewers.

As for me, I resisted all the signs that urged me to change, to learn web and move to marketing. Rooted in my ways because I love print and telling stories with design, that being WHY I was there. In the past few years, I’ve experienced my own casualties and have lost work. I’ve had a steady decline in income and once we moved to Minneapolis, there was no work at all for nearly a year. I started thinking and worrying about what I would do if it all went away, and even started coming to terms with maybe it already has. And this is where I felt like Giles. He was also chasing the past, still arguing it’s merits while facing the power of the beast that is new technology.

Of course, what Giles didn’t know is that good art, the kind from within, never goes out of style. He needed to evolve, which is no small feat (I might be projecting here). Towards the end of the movie, he is so inspired that he starts creating these wonderful, rapid but thoughtful sketches* of The Asset, as the creature is called. They are striking and visually liberating and very different from the controlled commercial work that he was so desperately trying to hold onto. I like to think that as the story continues off-screen, Giles has a rebirth of who he is as an artist and a homosexual man. That this new work, exploratory in nature, also breathes new life into him (pun intended, if you’ve seen the movie), and people’s perceptions change, and all of this ultimately gives him the strength to be true to himself and his art.

Powerful right? I love a good fairytale.

In thinking about Giles and myself and the crossroads I will inevitably reach, I am inspired and working hard to be fearless. I know I am capable of evolving, of letting go what doesn’t work anymore and letting in what is new. I will work on magazines as long as I am invited, but I will also explore the ideas and concepts that invigorate me. I know what those things are, I just have to start.

*Giving props. The sketches in the film were created by artist Natalie Hall

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

togel deposit dana klik88 klik88s tok99toto Link alternatif klik88slot togel bsi mahjong gacor slot zeus maxwin akun pro kamboja gacor slot gacor agen bola88 situs toto situs sv388 tok99toto klik88slots link alternatif klik88 situs slot thailand bp77slot bandar sbobet rtp klik88slot rtp tok99toto rtp k86sport rtp one8slot slot thailand super gacor slot gacor thailand slot zeus idn live casinod slot dana indonesia slot maxwin terpercaya slot demo pragmatic sv388 slot mahjong ways pg soft taruhan bola sbobet slot thailand 2023 slot gacor situs slot server thailand slot zeus gampang menang link slot mahjong gacor slot dana slot mahjong ways link slot pg soft slot gacor thailand link slot thailand Slot thailand gacor slot88 resmi login k86sport sv388 online 24jam akun slot thailand slot bsi slot gacor slot server luar slot deposit dana slot deposit bsi link slot gacor server thailand bo tok99toto k86sport slot gacor server thailand link slot gacor thailand link slot gacor link server thailand slot88 gacor klik88slot thailand slot thailand slot5000 situs slot 5000 bandar togel 4d akun pro kamboja fun77 situs slot88 slot thailand x500 slot thailand maxwin slot link slot gacor slot gacor maxwin tok99 klik88slots gacor thailand akun pro vip slot toto link klik88 data sdy slot88 gacor maxwin slot thailand gacor maxwin slot zeus online sv388 slot pragmatic play slot toto togel ngamentogel akun pro server thailand link alternatif tok99toto situs tok99toto situs k86sport link alternatif k86sport link alternatif k86sport resmi tok99toto gacor slot zeus gacor slot thailand terbaik slot maxwin mudah menang judi pg soft slot server thailand super gacor link slot deposit dana Starlight Princess 1000 slot dana gacor ok88slot gacor slot macau akun pro slot thailand one8slot slot china 10 link slot thailand 12 link slot thailand slot mahjong terbaik data hk pragmatic play slot bandar toto resmi daftar slot maxwin slot gacor slot thailand super gacor gampang menang slot dana server thailand slot zeus gacor rtp tertinggi mahjong bet 200 slot deposit 10k situs slot ovo 5k pg soft resmi slot thailand super gacor hari ini sabung ayam sv388 slot pgsoft bet 200 mahjong 200 perak terbaru mas77toto slot gacor deposit dana bandar judi baccarat slot mahjong maxwin dewaslot mahjong slot777 resmi pragmatic bet 200 joker123 deposit 5000 slot depo 5k slot olympus 77 server thailand gacor slot-thailand super gacor slot mahjong ways 2 2023 link slot toto gacor link slot thailand 2023 pg soft bet 200 link slot gacor dana slot ovo anti rungkad akun pro thailand rtp slot gacor mudah maxwin slot ewallet dana gopay ovo linkaja slot live casino baccarat slot dana mudah maxwin slot thailand mudah menang terpercaya slot gacor hari ini slot server thailand super gacor 2023 slot depo ovo 10k slot mahjong gacor bet 200 situs togel terpercaya tok99toto deposit 5ribu situs slot88 gacor slot zeus maxwin bandar togel terpercaya slot88 server thailand ok88 slot gacor mudah maxwin deposit dana ok88slot ngacor slot thailand mudah maxwin fun77toto link fun77toto pg soft slot mahjong ways slot thailand gacor maxwin terbaik