A Belated Letter From Your Art Director*

The WWI flying ace, with her slightly addled brain, is flying towards the end of another issue!

*Blame the Pony Express! This letter was written at the beginning of summer.
Art & Writing by Katy Somerville

Here’s the WWI flying ace, with her slightly addled brain which is making her more silly than usual, flying towards the end of another Creamscene issue!

As I was doing some early artwork for this issue of Creamscene, I was listening to a podcast all about fairies and the fae folk, which was inadvertent, but semi on-theme for this issue.

I used to love fairies as a kid (I still do, but I used to, too.)

I had a small but precious collection of dragon and fairy figurines, trinkets, and books; Cecily May Barker, Shirley Barber, Lady Covington and her pressed fairies… 

My mum worked in a fairy shop for a while when I was younger. She dressed as a fairy, sang songs of her own devising and told stories for kids’ parties. The party/story room was set out like a forest. Or at least a hollowed-out tree. There were cushions/stumps/toadstool seats and glitter on the floor and adorning the walls.

At least that’s the way it was in my head. 

I keep trying to picture it and I started describing it, feeling confident, but the image kept sliding away like I was awakening from a dream and trying to sleepily grasp the last of my sleeping threads. 

I do remember that I watched Grease 2 for the first time in the room above that shop, with the other kids of the fairy shop staff, while drinking lemonade with hundreds and thousands floating in it (because again – kids’ parties, and we had the supplies – we weren’t gonna mix sugar with sugar? Please.)

That memory is so very clear. But the decor of the room that I got to sometimes be the “assistant fairy” in? Apparently, as I have grown up, the reality of the fairy room has faded into the harsher realities of life in the fae vs human realm. 

I am choosing to embellish the fairy room in my head though, like a fungus, or as Michael Cameron said in his truly wonderful and generous interview this month:

Art eludes capture and containment.  

Like a weed growing from the side of a rock, it thrives in the most inhospitable environments. And when there’s an obstacle in the way, it grows sideways. 

Is the memory of The Fairy Room growing around me –  the obstacle – to keep reminding me of the wonder and joy I felt in that room? A time when I got to be a part of a world that I couldn’t reach outside of the fairy walls? 

Like a little dystopian dome. Forever preserved, albeit slightly skewed, in my mind.

My mum, in her fairy form, wrote up her songs and the stories into a big “fairy book” for the parties. I still remember some of the lyrics of one song, but after the debacle with the fairy room memory, I wouldn’t want to talk up my 25-year-old lyric retention (unless it comes to Billy Joel or musicals my local theatre company performed over the years).

Which brings me neatly from fairies to revolutions. 

Revolutions and rebellions were in the form of musicals with idealistic French youths, newsie hats, and ruffled children in clothes made deteriorated by a cheese grater, and being run over in a dirty driveway. And of course, the Don Bluth animated Anastasia. 

I carried my carefully painted replica of a placard through a protest in Argentina, I crushed on Gavroche as he clambered over an impressive barricade that I think got burnt after the show ended because the theatre group didn’t have the space to store such a big set piece.

Seated in the passenger seat belting out the Elephant Love Medley with my best friend because we were (again, still) falling over ourselves about Moulin Rouge. 

One of our contributors wrote that Art is Rebellion and Rebellion is Art. I fucking loved that.

One of my most beloved musicals (yep, I’ve commandeered my own editorial into a rant about musicals… ) is based around French pointillist, Georges Suerat’s work, A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte. I love the show. I love that painting. I have been fortunate enough to have seen a few other works of Suerat in galleries and I cried big ugly happy tears to be so close to all those dots.

I could never do justice to the music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim by paraphrasing or trying to explain it. 

But the show, and this song in particular, hits me really hard, with the last lines of:

Anything you do

Let it come from you

Then it will be new

Give us more to see

And yes – that is late eighties Mandy Patinkin (Inigo Montoya), and Bernadette Peters.

Slightly more seriously, I do feel like I am leading a very small but important rebellion against myself.

Not fighting against myself exactly, but definitely…grappling in a jelly pool with my own sense of self. 

Saying yes to things that I would have been intrigued by or longed for in the past, but the intrusive thoughts in my brain get such a better microphone than the ones that validate my own abilities or worth. On the flip side of that coin: saying no to things when I need to, having a lovely white picket fence of boundaries around me and locking the gate when I need to. 

It may not seem at all revolutionary but for someone who hadn’t registered or mastered (ha – is that really ever anyone?) emotional regulation or the concept of “ohhhh having boundaries is actually really beneficial” – it does feel somewhat radical and euphoric.

 I’m lookin’ at you, Dia – and going with my favourite “I’m a mermaid” analogy of the month. 

The mermaid analogy, for those playing at home, is basically me going, “I dunno if I am a mermaid, but I’m gonna try to be!”

 And then flopping my fat body into the ocean to see if I sink or swim. It’s swimming so far.

Mayday has been another massive issue for us at Creamscene. Dia and I are both ready to go into hibernation, like little bears and emerge in a while. 

Mayday! Is full of such amazing contributions. 

There’s been a lot of emotions and a fair few dramas, and wanting to throw technology out the window moments, but on the whole – I am so pleased with everything that went into this issue.

We have a beautiful team of supportive, gorgeous weirdos (Charlie – thank you for the cowboy and musical conversations – they’ve been a highlight). 

From one rather exhausted art director to y’all – sincere thank yous and big cuddles to those who like cuddles.

Please spare a thought (once again) for my browser history going from its wholesome regularly scheduled program of erotic/just plain smutty fanfiction to “Okay google, what is a fucksleeve?” In hindsight, I didn’t really need to bother the big G with that one. Context/word clues were pretty obvious – I probably could have worked that one out. 

About the Artist

Katy Somerville was beamed into existence on a Monday night in the mid-eighties by stars, glitter, and a glorious Italian woman from a long line of very strong women. In the present timeline, she likes to drink coffee, pat any animal that will engage with her, make collages, and spend time laughing and finding moments of joy wherever she can with her partner and her goofy, lanky dog.

Katy is Cream Scene co-editor & Art Director

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