By Meena Shayna Sarsaba
The rain outside is sharp. It feels like its needles would pierce through the layers of your windows & roof overhead and make a ghost ship out of your room. The glow is residues of evening stars & tender hum of blue light radiation. You find diversion from the noise in your head by syncopating your sighs to the vapor rising from your humidifier pirouetting like wheezed out spores. You stare at it so hard the tension of intense curiosity is creating condensation & you birth a mushroom-shaped cloud with your eyes. The cloud lashes itself out of the glass, bounces onto your palms. Without hesitation, you eat it. I mean, because it was just so cute ! A certain kind of springy inside you scatters you everywhere. Puff ! Translucent webbed wings. Furry talons. Hyper-elastic tongue. I’m not exactly sure what you turned into either. An albino bat axolotl chameleon caracal morph, fangs and all. You purr towards a coiled lomboy. It is some page freshly torn from a plump grimoire turned into a scroll with commands.
RESTORE THE FOREST.
And in exchange, I will grant you the return of your original form. Quest: Crow feather, petrichor, tardigrade tears, starshine, cicada odes. Those are the ingredients for your potion for home. Are you ready to return?
YES or NO
In a virtual fashion, you click Yes. Automatically, a swoop of hummingbirds sews you a leaf dress, a bottle crown armour & a faerie helmet out of bioluminescent mycena. You are eroded in a forest of mosses lured by the sonic trail of a kalimba. A pocketsized parade led by traffic light tomatoes, green, red, yellow. The ant pilgrimage on the crosswalk chugging through!
Oh ! A vicious encounter with a Marsh Jigger. The Mitachurl of grasshoppers. It executes its first attack on you unannounced, TAKE THIS FOR NOT TOUCHING GRASS, you measly peasant ! You petal blizzarded but your attack fell. While cooling down, Marsh Jigger attacks. You pollen puffed but this fell too. Attack. You leaf tornadoed, seismic tossed. Nothing seems effective. You’re beginning to limp at 20 CP. You hover at your last option: Banana peel fruitfly swarm. But then you remember ! And with conviction, you ! TOUCH ! THE ! GRASS ! Elemental advantage ! Torrents of white goo splatter everywhere ! The god of the natural-world-starved has been defeated, by you.
The spirit of the balete tree continues to guide you to the corner of surreptitious magic where the author of the grimoire awaits. Hello, my dearest traveler. Dragging your shiny loot you have religiously battled for, you slowly dislodge everything. A tiny tingle in your bones echoes the voice, Are you really ready to return?
I’ve been obsessed with mushrooms lately that I got white oyster fruiting bags & had one of those in-*insert-obsession-here* wonders, if a mush-room exists, then there must be a mush-ceiling, a mush-dorm, a mush-asylum, mush-grave, a MUSH-HOME somewhere !
Shelter. That’s what the art of Jodie Ferrer evokes. Each drawing is composed of the elements that could construct a mush-home, delicately & sincerely. They do not ask something specific of you, like concentration nor discomposure, instead you are free to glide, climb, swim, drift, frolick on the vibrant hues within the pixels. Jodie’s illustration makes you feel like human telescope, wide-eyed at the craters of outer planets & what’s beyond. And a human microscope; squinting at what’s also right here. Sleeping on a blanket of moss harbouring spores & tardigrades that lend you their dreams.
Even if my virtual conversation with Jodie gave me the impression she is a bit reserved in real life, it doesn’t mean you nor I would not want to forage shroomies CO-OP mode irl with her & have the most fun. It was quite like writing penpal letters.
Art is something and somewhere that I am able to immerse in a space no one can invade.
How does your ideal day go?
Ideally, I wake up early, eat a proper breakfast, clean at least 1 thing a day, finish a good amount of work, do some personal art, play video games and send an unsuspecting person a cat picture. Realistically, I do around 2 – 3 things on this list daily.
How do you approach art?
I’m focusing on subject matters that make me happy and smile despite the fact that these more recent illustrations don’t really hold a story or any apparent depth to them. I’m recently enjoying fanart a lot, especially as a way to practice certain technical things like anatomy and color.
What is art to you?
Art is a way for me to detach from the noise of the world. It is something and somewhere that I am able to immerse in a space no one can invade.
Is it similar to the somewhat universal reason we are attached to gaming? Escapism?
Me and my gaming is definitely a form of escapism. I think it’s quite different for me and my art. Apart from my responsibilities as a “contributing” member of society and taking care of myself, my cat and others that I care about, art is the only thing that really matters… to me at least. It sounds cheesy but I’ve been doing it for so long that it seems reasonable to see it as such. Everything else outside of the things I mentioned is what’s escapism from what really matters.
What kind of person are you? A bird person, a frog person? A moss person?
I love animals but cats are my favorite.
Artistic revolution is the cynosure of this beanie-tucked prophetess. The older art she began posting on her Instagram will greet you with textured, story-telling watercolor. But the heart of her art remains: divine feminine energy in a negative space focusing on the elemental emotions around the aura of their unfiltered façade. Strong feminine beings surrounded with floating flowers & thorns & what’s spilled from inside their head & heart that reminds us broken is beautiful.
She’s always trying new paths, turning over rocks, unlocking abilities
Just as whimsical and earnest as her recent illustrations. She’s always trying new paths, turning over rocks, unlocking abilities that are already in there but require a shot of digging to bring them out of the surface. Jodie invites us to tiptoe, maybe even crawl into the terra incognita of endless discovery and of the little world inside your home, around it, the homes within home.
Yet I simultaneously feel like I’m not experiencing this for the first time but having this realization that old realms we used to love & brewed mud soup in but forgot about or tend to overlook or even have abandoned can still & will still dazzle & sweep us away manifolds ! Most of us developed a habit of LARPing as a functional person. I’m becoming figuratively myopic pollinating in a simulated jungle with little to zero seconds spent in the actual nutrient-giving sun. I feel like I’m slowly burying my soul being out of touch with what’s behind these partly-painted chambers.
Jodie delineates serenity on any canvas she gets her hands on & is generous enough to spare us that obligatory timeline cleanse & unparalleled calming properties. Some written words do not really capture the quietness of a moment. It viscerally transports you to bask in the fluorescent forest sun that kisses you through the tree crown shyness cracks. Nothing like escapism that actually motivates you to get up and escape, even if it’s just a few feet from where you were once glued to. Do you really want to be exhumed by dinosaurs epochs from now fossilized with your bed?
The cauldron is brimming with possibilities but only enough that doesn’t obstruct your tranquility.
So, I guess this is brb, going outside on my bare feet. Find me offline. Until then, see you online !
Ad Astra Abyssosque !
゜✭・ . ✧ ゜・． ・✫・ ゜．
Meena Shayna Sarsaba graduated from University of San Carlos and is now spending most of her days as an opalescent pink poisonous soft coral scape klepto dreaming inside an umbilical cord (yes, you read that right) and being an advocate for kindness since day one. She is officially Team Love Club’s fairy.