When I first read the title “An Investigation of Dreams”, I felt intrigued by it. Dreams and fantasies have always been my escape from life’s various challenges. Whenever I have felt mentally exhausted I close my eyes and try to let sleep create images and situations that restore me to a good, healthy place.
Rarely have my dreams been realistic. I am fascinated by the supernatural and the paranormal and that’s what my mind generates in order to survive. Sometimes this may include a power fantasy, other times it revolves around horror, but rarely is realism the basis for my fantasy.
By investigating my relationship with my dreams, I realised something. They never feel real enough. Even the ones that go deep under my skin can’t go deep enough for me to get lost and never return. There’s a wall that keeps us separated and forces me to experience my dreams from a safe distance.
I think this is because at some point in the past I realised that my approach to dreaming was as much of a medicine as it was a drug. Early in my teenage and adult life, I found myself visiting the dream world too often and not truly letting go of it, even when I was awake. I kept my distance from the real world and soon I found myself alone. When I understood how harmful this was I tried to keep myself grounded in reality, to the point where now I don’t think I can go back to the old ways.
I tried to describe this experience through my illustration in two ways: first, its theme. I created an unrealistic image, with dragons and dinosaurs, in a landscape with just as unrealistic proportions. Furthermore, the person representing myself, the small girl in the centre, has wings that are not big enough for her to fly. This is my way of saying “This is as close to the action as I get. It’s not only a matter of will but also ability”. Secondly, the use of colour. The upper section of the image is much warmer than the lower one, which is an effort to reinforce the contrast between the two, the realness of the former and the detachment of the latter.
Find Ariadne Tzounakou here: ariadnetzn.tumblr.com