Here is a story of a boy who never grew up and will continue having adventures of childhood for as long as he shall live. This may not be quite true of William Erkens who is sure to grow up soon, but nonetheless, he has had the life of a Peter Pan as any a boy could. Being the eldest of four children, Will acts as the leader of his sister, who could easily be thought of as Wendy, and his two brothers, who naturally could be viewed as John and Michael. Will has spent much of his life living on a farm, helping out with the garden and being nearly one with the animals. He enjoys exploring the world outside, going hunting, and looking after the animals on the farm with his siblings. The author of Peter Pan, J.M. Barrie, gives just as much credit to his little friends, the Llewelyn Davies boys, to the creation of this well loved character. During one of his many walks through the park of Kensington Gardens he came across this family and developed a strong friendship with them. Barrie was able to bring out his inner child when playing make believe with the boys. They were his greatest influence in bringing the characters in Peter Pan to life.
Deep down Jill is a very confident person, and she tries to prove her confidence to Eustace as well as herself when she stands very near the edge of the cliff in Aslan’s Country. Her real test of character comes in the moments after when Eustace falls off the cliff and suddenly a huge lion is standing beside her. When he makes her no promise of her safety in his presence, she must learn to trust him no matter what may become of her. All her confidence seemingly fades away and in her meekness he then gives her the great responsibility of learning the signs that will help her and Eustace to find the lost prince. Such a work by God has been prevalent for many years in my life. It is by the power of God with which He uses the smallest of people to exemplify His greatness. He uses our weaknesses so we might see His glory. The journey He brings you through is, however, not accomplished effortlessly. Throughout the Chronicles the lion Aslan often gives a command and then a warning. To Jill he commands her to remember the signs and repeat them over and over again. He tells her that up in his country the air is clear and her mind is clear. Once she is in Narnia, it will not be so down there and she must hold on fast to the signs and let nothing confuse her mind. This was the warning he gave. Going to a Christian university may make it simple to remember the Word of the Lord and be continuously encouraged by other believers. But what will happen when I leave such a Christ-centered place? Puddleglum the marshwiggle gave a reassuring word by saying that Aslan did not tell Jill what would happen, but he told her what to do. And in this comes true confidence. Philippians 4:13 says, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”
Being raised in different cultures, I developed an open mind and curiosity for other areas of the world. The compilation of works derives from a variety of countries and regions such as Arabia, Persia, India, and Egypt, which brings a vast range of cultures together. Because of this, I have chosen my friend Daniel Yılmaz to portray a character named Zumurrud of Samarkand from the story Ali Shar and Zumurrud. In the story, Zumurrud puts on a disguise as a noble Turk in order to escape captivity. Daniel is originally from Turkey and for part of his life grew up in Kazakhstan. He is fluent in Turkish, English, and Russian. Having been brought up in different countries as well, languages was something we bonded over. We would teach each other little phrases in Turkish and German. Even though our backgrounds are very different, having that connection with Daniel and people like him helps to understand and appreciate those who come from diverse cultures.
When we moved back to the States and found a church to attend, our youth pastor, Abe Stratton, reminded me of Jonas Armstrong who portrayed Robin in the series. After getting to know Pastor Stratton better, his strong leadership skills and vivacious personality made it clear that he was more like Robin Hood than just meets the eye. He cared deeply for the teenagers he was teaching and mentoring and for his church. In the Bible, a bow often symbolizes the doctrine of truth and a tool used for carrying out the gospel. Not only is the bow highly iconic for Robin Hood, but it also plays a great significance in depicting Abe Stratton as a pastor.
There were many days where Johannes and I would dress up and make costumes and props including a ship out of a big box. Dressing up as pirates was certainly a favourite one to do. It was only natural that I should choose my brother to be the young hero, Jim Hawkins. At the beginning of the story, Jim gets wrapped up in a quest to find a hidden treasure as a cabin boy. He sets out on a journey which becomes more involved than he thought, but learns a lot about trust and his purpose for this voyage. My brother was going through a similar stage in life when he graduated from high school and deciding what his next step in life would be. He has had the opportunity to travel on his own and discover what he might do in the near future.
My body of work is a series of portraits of personal acquaintances that tell stories of aspects of their lives through the eyes of characters from children’s literature. By using familiar characters, of which derive from several of my favourite stories, they invite viewers to immediately learn something about each person I have chosen to represent these characters.
My friend, JJ Pearson, who I have drawn as one of my favourite fictional characters, the Mad Hatter from Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland.
I met JJ during my first semester of dual enrollment at North Greenville University in German class. He was a theatre major and one of the first people to talk to me and show me some magic tricks with playing cards. Already he became a fascinating character in and of himself. But setting aside his talents of theatricals and magical shenanigans, probably the most outstanding thing about JJ was the way he dressed. One could spot him all the way across campus and recognize him by his top hat, brightly coloured blazers, and highly patterned mesmerizing slacks. His mysterious but lively spirit reflected that of the Mad Hatter nearly every day. When I took the photographs of my models, I told them what my visions were for the pictures and talked to them about the characters I chose for them. I then let them come up with their own poses in order to have them better embody that character from their point of view. When I told JJ to pretend he was talking to Alice, I captured a moment which reminded me of him explaining a game at an improv show he would do. I had him wear his purple coat as the colour purple represents mystery, magic, and creativity. The background was added in later to give the whole picture a sense of dreamlike reality and incorporate the whimsical quality found all throughout Lewis Carroll’s book.