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Otis is a classic example of what I would eventually come to know as a "Brightmare” that I’ve seen wandering around in Shunderland since the beginning. Not much is known about Otis, so excuse me if I seem judgmental, but they are confusing to look at, and even more mysterious … (read more)
Otis is a classic example of what I would eventually come to know as a "Brightmare” that I’ve seen wandering around in Shunderland since the beginning. Not much is known about Otis, so excuse me if I seem judgmental, but they are confusing to look at, and even more mysterious when you know more about them. When I first saw Otis, I was terrified. It was one of my first trips into Shunderland and I didn’t yet know the proper etiquette, and I had to pee, so I peed in a random bush. Had I known that bush was going to yell at me for peeing on him I obviously wouldn’t have, but that’s another story. As I was zipping up my pants and apologizing to the now-drenched plant, I caught a glimpse of something out of the corner of my eye and when I looked, I INSTANTLY peed again, only this time, soaking my jeans instead of the plant. Otis’s enormous grin and glistening acne was about 4 inches from my face. And then it wasn’t. Otis was gone.
I didn’t think about it much right away, but after a few months of visiting Shunderland, I started seeing Otis and their grimacing, maniacal snarl any time I was at my most vulnerable. If I was crying, I would look up and see Otis, just smiling, then they would run away. If I was dozing off for a moment, I would open my eyes and Otis would be there, acne almost popping onto my skin. Then…just vanished. What did they want? Where did they go when they ran away? What was their intention for staring at me when I peed? And what’s up with that cute smiling pile of puke that’s always dripping from their head? Otis never hurt me, which is what I guess I was trying to say earlier when I described them as a “Brightmare”. They LOOKED scary, but the bright hue of their skin and their genuine act of retreat when I noticed them made them pretty harmless.
Otis, along with a handful of other inhabitants of Shunderland inspired me a lot when I was back in the real world. I loved the reactions I had to these brightly-colored nightmares, or, rather, “Brightmares” that I came across in Shunderland. By using these as inspiration, I was able to get similar reactions to my art over the years, often being told that my art is “Confusing” and “I don’t know, it’s scary, but also…pretty, or at least colorful”.
And much like Otis, my characters and art are most likely harmless. But I kinda enjoy knowing that you think that maybe it’s not.
"OTIS" is part of my "Alex In Shunderland" series, which focuses on the imaginary world of characters and stories that I have created over the last 20 years as a way to escape and distract myself while dealing with depression and anxiety.