Elanthian Vogue: Jastatos 5119
This Month's Edition
Editor-in-Chief: Rohese Bayvel-Timsh'l
Phoenatos and Imaerasta kept us busy with FashionCon 5119 in the Shining City of Ta'Illistim, the reopening of the Duskruin Arena in the less salubrious Bloodriven Village, and the engaging gargoyles hosting us at Windfellow's Retreat on the Isle of the Four Winds. With the excitement of Ebon Gate now upon us, the team at Elanthian Vogue thought it might be appropriate to produce a bumper edition that gives festival goers something interesting to read and discuss while playing games, chasing merchants, and shopping on Caligos Isle during the month of Jastatos.
In the recent Duskruin Supplement, we gave you a hint as to the theme of this edition and I hope you were all able to pick up some of the items mentioned so you are ready to demonstrate your bohemian nature this fall in both the way you dress and your knowledge of art.
Art plays an important role in our lives in that it expresses individuality, creativity, and feeling; it is what visually enhances our world and our existence in it. This month, we take a closer look at how much we rely on it and ways in which we can make use of art to more freely express ourselves as individuals, for example, through the use of henna and tattoos. We have also been fortunate enough to persuade a few very talented artists to tell us more about the Elanthian art world from their perspective and I'm sure you will find their insights fascinating!
As always, don't forget to send us your comments on any of the articles in this month’s publication or suggestions for future editions!
Importance of Art
"Art has the power to transform, to illuminate, to educate, inspire and motivate."
Art is usually associated with gallery or museum exhibits, whether it's a painting predating the Undead War or an illuminated missal dedicated to an Arkati, but towns and cities will often use sculptures and plaques to add interest to their thoroughfares and buildings to inform people. You have only to visit the Hanesyddol Museum of Ta'Loenthra - a major institution of the fine arts – to see magnificent landscapes, both old and new, or simply wander the weys and vars of Ta'Illistim to view its many memorials.
However, there is so much more to art than what you see on display. Without being aware of it, we are surrounded by art and use it on a continual basis. Most people don't realize how much of a role it plays in their lives and just how much they rely on it in all of its forms.
Chances are that you own some form of artwork. The first thing that comes to mind is, of course, a painting or tapestry on the wall of your home or shop. Even if you don't own a home, you would be surprised at how much artwork you actually have. Art is not purely for looking at and admiring, a lot of it is functional too. Everything from a picture locket around your neck to a decorated teacup or a magically imbedded figurine in a looted treasure chest can be considered a form of art.
Art is evident everywhere; its importance and value in our daily lives is very similar to that of music. While it's not vital to fulfill our basic needs, it can have a huge effect on our mood and emotions. Inspirational art, such as a tattoo or a crest, is often used to represent something such as a significant life event or family history. There may be a piece of art that you own that you personally find motivational. Perhaps a piece of jewelry that engenders joy or has a quote beautifully scrolled on it with a positive affirmation. It might also be a postcard of a picturesque scene of where you aim to visit one day or evokes a fond memory.
Postcards from Elanthia Landscape ~ Elaejia Silithyr The interior of a roughly sketched cave adorns the front side of the page, pops of color highlighting the stones, giving the impression of glistening moisture. The floor of the cave falls away to one side, and flowing lines of blue and green suggest a waterfall. On the backside reads a description: A trail through the woods to the east of the ruined Calelith Villa leads the hearty traveler to a majestic waterfall pouring through a natural rock bridge formation and hiding a secluded cave.
Of course, some art is very dark and can cause disturbing emotions, anger or even depression but we can choose what kind of art we want to be surrounded by to make us feel good. All kinds of art can affect our mood in a positive way, making us feel happier, calmer, grounded or even inspired to do something.
Art is also controversial. Anyone embroiled in the recent events in Ta'Illistim concerning the trial of Master Paerys Velethuil Loenthra couldn’t fail to be influenced by its ability to draw people in. His portraits relied on the power of flattery and ego to persuade the onlooker to not only look but touch – at their peril. The lesson to be learned from all of this is that we must show caution when it comes to interpretation – never assume to know the artist's motivation without first consulting the artist themselves.
Understanding art and the bohemian lifestyle by Rohese Bayvel
Bohemianism is a term used to describe the practice of an unconventional lifestyle, often in the company of like-minded people lacking permanent ties, and it usually involves musical, artistic, literary or spiritual pursuits.
Bohemians tend to be associated with unorthodox political or social viewpoints, which are often expressed through free love, frugality, and, in some cases, simple living or voluntary poverty. A more privileged, wealthy, or aristocratic bohemian circle is sometimes referred to as being "high bohemia", and this expression comes to mind when one meets the Silithyr family.
Certainly not orthodox or conventional, the Silithyrs are an old and respected elven family in Ta'Loenthra. Their "business" revolves around the mortuary, which, given the perilous nature of our world, has been quite lucrative for them over the centuries.
The matriarch of the family, Lady Irinjia Silithyr, has a reputation for being a socialite and patron of the arts, and her offspring, Jossarian and Elaejia are being encouraged to follow in her footsteps. Both were kind enough to agree to an interview with me to share their thoughts on art and how it has impacted their lives.
You see Lady Elaejia Silithyr Loenthra the Aristocrat. She appears to be an Elf. She is moderately tall. She appears to have come of age. She has subtly tilted cobalt-violet eyes and fair skin. She has very long, glossy caramel-brushed blonde hair with thick side-swept bangs. She has a thin-boned, gracefully angular countenance, tapering to a softly pointed chin. She has glossy white-tipped lacquer brushed onto her squared fingernails. She is in good shape. She is wearing a faceted viridian crystal pendant strung on braided vaalin wire, a rich brown leather jacket, a band-collared pale pinstriped blouse with short capped sleeves, a copper-boned dark jade suede half-bodice, an ivory leather book satchel with a wide top flap, a suit of vultite-studded brigandine, a gilt-inlay ebony signet band, a heavy black silk blade harness, some tawny gold suede breeches, and some pale green silk slippers traced with veins of copper.
Impeccably dressed, Elaejia carries quite a presence. Her demeanor is reserved but she is clearly proud of her lineage. Born in 4793, Elaejia is the oldest of the siblings and she disclosed to me that her earliest years were somewhat reclusive, having spent most of her time sequestered away with books and her own thoughts.
Her expression softened somewhat as she explained to me that the arrival of both her brother and cousin, Aendir, allowed her to enter society, although it notably hardened again on further mention of her mother’s opinion on the matter. Taking this as a cue to move on, I pressed her on her own work.
"Some follow the mantra, 'Art for the sake of art,' but I find that philosophy leads only to grander and grander depictions of the artists' self-satisfaction. Art should speak to the viewer on subjects more worthy of their time."
Surrounded by the inspiration of Ta'Loenthran libraries and galleries, Elaejia took to sculpture and textile arts early, drawn in by the challenge of holding multidimensional imagery in her mind. She seemed to be particularly fascinated by the creatures of the deep, given the wistful look on her face as she spoke enthusiastically of the Ashrim collection.
Reluctant to speak in more depth about the family, she did however disclose that her strongest influences were the funerary customs of the Loenthra and the crafting of death masks.
"That inclination to symbology is strongly ingrained in me, I consider it in all my pieces, and look for it in the work of others."
Whether it was the setting sun casting the room in warm shadows or the change of subject, Elaejia relaxed a little as our conversation returned to her own work. She confessed that although she was asked most often about her sculptures, her preferred medium was actually needlework and textiles; the puzzling interplay of thread and fabric appeals to her, especially when combining different textures and arithmetical designs.
"The natural, organic shapes you can achieve with a pliant medium are beyond the ability of stone to embody. Many of the deep sea creatures I have created were done with artfully ruched and folded silks and tulles."
Modest to a fault, it took some persuasion before Elaejia would share her favorite piece within her own collection. It was in fact a work in progress and her description was mesmerizing. Miming a large ovoid shape in the air, she went on to describe an abstract elven facial form in pumice and incised with bone. The nonchalantly added detail that she was encouraging a colorful collection of Gyldemar-sourced lichens to grow on it as a lacework mask was both innovative and, quite frankly, disturbing but its evolution obviously excited her.
Later that evening, I was joined by her younger brother Jossarian, who must have recognized the lingering scent of delicate florals, labdanum and belladonna, given the smile that played across his face for a brief moment and the casual ease with which he then sat on the sofa next to me.
You see Jossarian Silithyr the Artist. He appears to be a Loenthra Elf. He is tall and has a broad-shouldered slender frame. He appears to be youthful. He has subtly tilted ink blue eyes and fair skin. He has waist length, silky golden hair worn in a single tight cable braid. He has a fine-boned, angular face and a narrow, slightly cleft chin. Dark shadows mar the skin beneath his eyes. He is in good shape. He is wearing a ruched grey silk cravat with a faint ebon sheen, a trim pewter grey twill coat with subtly darker epaulets, a silvered violet silk jacquard waistcoat over a billowing oyster-hued silk shirt, a pair of grey kidskin gloves, a wide black star sapphire ring, some fitted ash grey leather pants, and a pair of knee-high ebon leather boots.
Less reticent to talk and share his work, Jossarian preemptively set out his folio and sketchbook within easy reach and often turned his attention to them during our conversation – albeit subconsciously.
Like his sister before him, I sensed a certain amount of nervousness when asked about his family. I was selfishly hoping to gain a little more of an insight into their mortuary business but it turned out that Jossarian's life choices had led him elsewhere – to joining the Guard.
Moving on quickly to alleviate the tension, I then raised the subject of his mother being a patron of the arts and a possible influence in his life. Obviously seeing a talent, she had energetically encouraged him in his artistic pursuits by providing him with ample tutelage and supplies. I was reminded of something his sister had said earlier regarding the decoration of death masks but their mere mention made him uncomfortable so we turned to the possibility of his work being exhibited in the Hanesyddol Museum.
"While there are masters of renown who of course caught my eye, I have always tended to find myself drawn to the small galleries and lesser known artists who look at the world... differently, with an eye superimposing the surreal or the otherworldly upon the everyday. Contrasts intrigue me -- the contrasts between light and dark, rich and poor, justice and injustice, life and death, hope and despair..."
His sister and cousin are an important part of his life; he fondly referred to them during the interview and admitted that Elaejia’s creations intrigued him. Although they had collaborated on a few pieces in the past to great effect, he indicated that he has of late been more motivated in dreamscapes and the imagery that lingers in the unconscious mind upon waking.
Perhaps it was my imagination, but his expression darkened a moment as he paused to partake of some tea before moving on to a discussion about some of the pieces he had brought with him.
"Oils are my preferred medium, for their richness of color and their slow drying, which allows me the time for nuance and detail and plays to my interest in strong contrast. I will, of course, vary my medium depending on the work to be created; some imagery is more suited to the bold, smooth lines of inks, or the hazy layering of watercolors, or the rough gestures and superior blending of charcoal."
At this point, my curiosity got the better of me and I pressed him to share some of it and elaborate on his favorite.
"My favorites change from day to day as my mood and focus shifts. They tend to be those that I feel actually captured the nuance of feeling that I wished to explore."
The mood had changed somewhat and it felt as if the interview was drawing to a natural conclusion but I was eager to at least see the portrait that meant so much to him.
"The subject was of particular gentle beauty and presented demurely on the surface, but I was able to utilize reflections to present personality in a somewhat surreal fashion in a way that pleased me, and the patron who commissioned the work, quite well."
Miniature study for "Kaleiope, Upon Reflection" Oil on canvas, 5119 private commission
Rendered in oils within the dreamlike blur of a garden refuge, a young elf kneels at the edge of a reflecting pool strewn with water lilies. His robe flows like silken sunlight around him, though the collar has slipped to expose one ivory shoulder. A thick plait of blush pink hair spills over his bared shoulder and trails to his hip. Above, one knee is clasped to his chest and his face is demurely turned away, but his bright-eyed reflection in the water is poised to pounce and dimpled in a playful grin.
With the midnight hour approaching and the nearby candles burning low, Jossarian bade me a courteous farewell, leaving me with much to ponder on art in general but still little knowledge of the Silithyr family. I did make a note, however, to expand my hospitality to include coffee and whiskey as well as tea for future engagements.
On the Spot
Every now and then we take the opportunity to put someone "on the spot" with 5 random questions to gain a quick peek into their lifestyle choices. This month we are delighted to put Ysaeril Illistim, Founder and Curator of the Caeruil Atelier, "on the spot".
Where and when were you born? I was born at my parent's home in the northwest Moonglae residential district of Ta'Illistim, as the Unicorn transitioned to the Spire, in the year 4940.
How has art affected your life and who or what are your strongest influences? My mother, Evelise, is an architect and artist, and she designed many structures around Ta'Illistim over the years including the bridges, a wing of Library Aies, and the soldier's guild. My father, Mechryn, was a student of lore in art history and specialized in 13th-to 16th millennium pre-modern era elven architecture himself. My aunt, Esantra, occasionally holds artist-in-residence at the City College in Ta'Loenthra, where she spent many decades as an adjunct professor. One a master at her craft, one a student of life, and the third, a teacher to many. Each provided me with excellent insight into those experiences and their journeys. They gave me structure and the breadth of their own special influence for the creative pursuits encouraged me to find my own path, just as they had found theirs.
Art is in my blood, it is my history, and my family, and my life. The expression of serves as a record of history and where we came. Art highlights the introspection of personhood and can help us breach the uncertainty of the future, through an output of creative realization. It can be difficult to find the time and place to let this happen, so supporting the artist in their journey is key. This is why I founded Caeruil Atelier.
Do you have a favourite painting or series within your own collection of works? I am most fond of my Southron Wastes series of watercolors, many of which were painted - or sketched - traveling through that area about a decade ago. I first began painting them based on sketches in books in the library, only to come to see and depict those places in real life many years later. While they do not hold awards like some of my more famous landscapes (such as the Sylvarraend Seasons), I appreciate them for the progression both in craft and skill, the representation of a shift in mindset around how nature is depicted in art, and how a physical location and change the perspective and outcome for the artist (myself in this case, if I may be so clinical).
a watercolor painting Heavy rag paper depicting a watercolor of a beetle in motion is nested carefully within the frame, its hand-torn edges still evident. Shaped like an early carrot, the beetle's carapace is dark sienna in color and banded horizontally by a wide, jonquil yellow stripe. Long black antennae droop to its sides, nearly overwhelmed by its many swiftly-fleeting legs. The flurry of appendages are almost playfully represented within a faint, roiling wash of heavily watered black ink.
What next for the Caeruil Atelier? Since our launch one year ago, we've hosted two fine art auctions, held a social event and performed a technical demonstration, thanks to the many exciting new artists that have joined our ranks. In the coming year we plan on offering more demonstrations, at least one symposium (hopefully more), and will host two gallery shows. Plus as many other engaging events as we can muster, between plying our crafts! I'm very excited for what our future brings, and hope everyone will share in our delight for the artistic endeavors.
Tools of the Trade
When it comes to body art, there are several options available. One could resort to the permanence of a tattoo and live with the potential regret of having your ex-lover's name forever inked on your arm or a rather graphic battle scene displayed for all to see on your back. While it is possible to remove the offending artwork by literally cutting it off your skin with a blade, one wonders if it is worth having to resort to such barbaric methods when you could consider the more elegant option of temporary henna and paint to make a statement.
Often found at festivals are pre-made sticks and jars of ink that allow you to daub another in a variety of creative ways from bold patterns of overlapping spirals to elegant florals. Some paintsticks are more versatile than others, offering a range of designs, while the more readily available tend to offer a simple pattern that can be applied to various locations of the body. Henna and body paint naturally fade over time thereby allowing you to either reapply it or change the design, dependent on your mood at the time.
The application of ink to the body is a great way of expressing your artistic flair and enhancing a particular look. It is certainly one we endorse because, after all, the motto of The Looking Glass - patron of Elanthian Vogue - is "Fashion is art and you are the canvas."
Bohemian Fall Fashions
Fall sees the return of shabby chic with the emphasis on recycled materials and shades of white.
Bohemian-styled clothing tends to be loose fitting on the body and free-flowing – consider vintage-inspired layered garments to evoke a subtle feminine feel with razor-frayed hemlines on gowns and shifts worn with knotted pearl necklaces, floral pendants, chain-link belts and earrings.
Alternatively, consider pairing light linen shirts or tunics with distressed leather and buffed suede or adding touches of lace to collars and cuffs beneath classically dark-toned velvet coats, jackets, and waistcoats or vests.
Don’t be afraid of ruffles and flounces!
Dressing in shabby chic also means wearing the perfect combination of new and old pieces of clothing and jewelry. Before you rush out to harass a merchant for alterations, consider artisan-crafted pieces such as knitted shawls, bags and hats, as well as cobbled shoes and warrior sheaths using readily available materials. Try making your own jewelry using a Daxela jewelry box – if you don't have access to one, then visit the souvenir shops in either the grounds of the Veythorne Manor or out in the Saewehna Jungle.
In addition, why not rummage through your lockers and just dig out the old frilly blouse that you haven't worn in years and the must-have pair of leather pants we all own. Then drop by the pawnshop to grab a cheap weapon from the table and hunt down a master cobbler with the right tools who can turn that blade into a set of natty buckles for a pair of new boots. Finally apply some metallic-henna art to your skin for the ultimate in bohemian style!