The Diver

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The Diver

Emily Thibodeau

“And then I thought, if I were underwater, what would be the creepiest thing I could see?”

Interview by L. Valena

What did you respond to?

It was a piece of music, I don’t know who made it, but I think the title of the piece was Lady.

What was your first reaction to the piece?

I had a lot of reactions to the piece! It was kind of unexpected- it took a couple of turns during the course of the time I was playing it. It was cool.

How did you go about translating those reactions and feelings into an image?

The first couple times I listened to it I just wrote down a bunch of words that kind of came up for me. I don’t remember all of them now, but some of them were ‘sinister’, ‘disjointed’, ‘slow’ and ‘underwater’. I did some doodling while I was listening to it, and then I put everything away for a little while. When I picked it back up and started brainstorming an image, I didn’t listen to it again. I kind of went off of the words I had written down- the feeling of that.

Can you talk to me about what this particular image means to you?

So, I kept thinking about it. The first word was ‘underwater’; thinking about the characters that you might meet underwater. And then going down the list, and thinking about the word ‘sinister’. And then I thought, if I were underwater, what would be the creepiest thing I could see? Who’s the creepiest character I could run into underwater?

I love the idea that the creepiest character would be a person!

I also kind of started digging around for images, and got really kind of enamored with the old-timey dive suits, they’ve got that kind of steampunk aesthetic.

The colors are also really cool- can you talk about that?

I tried a bunch of different color combinations, and I actually showed a few of them to my wife, who is not a visual arts person, so it was great to have her feedback. One of the things I felt about the piece of music itself, was it was a little, I don’t know if disjointed is even the right word, but something was definitely a little off. It wasn’t totally harmonious. I think I picked the pink because it’s kind of a bright, shocking color, and then tried to pick colors that were close- like one step away, so it would cause a little bit of that dissonance.

How does this relate to the rest of your work?

I don’t know that it really does. I figured this was a great opportunity to try something completely different. So it was a great chance to try something else. In general, a lot of my other work is illustration and design, so I think this style is not too far off from the other work that I’ve done, but this was a great chance to push myself a little bit.

Any advice for other participants?

I didn’t intend to take those few days in between starting and picking the project back up- it was just a scheduling thing, but for me that ended up being really awesome. So I’d say that if people are feeling out of ideas, just try giving it some space.

Call Number: Y2MU | Y3VA.thiDi



Emily Thibodeau picked up a pencil (or more likely a crayon) at an early age and has not stopped drawing since. She enjoys drawing bicycles, animals and animals riding bicycles. She is a former bike shop owner and current graphic design student at Massart.