Sunday, June 23, 2019

Artist Justin Gerard on Tolkien

Beren and Lúthien by Justin Gerard
From TOR:
There is so much wonderful detail here. Beren’s ghostly hand (since his real one is gone) and the representation of the Silmaril that he’d held there—which I see you rendered here in the same visible symbolic fashion of your “Hunting of Carcharoth” painting. I love the saintly nimbus behind Lúthien’s head and the winglike sweep of her robes (a nod to her erstwhile Thuringwethil bat-costume). And the fact that Beren still looks like he carries the griefs and wisdom of his experiences. He’s being restored but he’s not forgetting everything nor is he given a fresh new or younger body. This just feels…right. 
What can you tell me about this piece? Are those swirls on Beren’s arm a tattoo? The embodiment of the wolf’s poison? Tell me more!
Justin: The swirls were definitely meant to be the wolf’s poison. Working on the images from Beren and Lúthien, I was not trying to show specific moments exactly, but instead trying to collapse a series of events and moments into one scene that could kind of make sense of them all and convey the ideas, more than a literal event per se. This image does have a lot of those small symbols in it. I wanted to treat this one a bit more like iconography than photography if that makes sense. It is meant to be after Beren and Lúthien’s escape, after Beren has had his hand bitten off by Carcharoth and his life still hangs in the balance, but it is also meant to foreshadow Lúthien later singing to bring Beren back from death as well.
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