Artist's Comments

Sony Pictures
Chinese actress Gong Li in a still from the 2005 movie Memoirs of a Geisha.

My drawing.

I came across this still photo from the 2005 Sony movie Memoirs of a Geisha on the internet and it immediately appealed to me. The appeal arose, I think, mainly from the photo's powerful evocation of my own memories of scenes in Japan.

The scene depicts the figure of a woman trapped by and yet shut out from structures so close as to barely leave room for her. The lanterns suggest a warmth within and yet the isolation of the figure suggests alienation and rejection. The tension created is driven to a peak by the vulnerability of the isolated female figure.

Unconsciously, I think, I tried to intensify this sense of isolation, alienation, and female vulnerability by turning it into a foggy, nighttime waterfront scene. The light streaming from the tugboat's porthole suggests at least one of its crew is required by his duties to be awake at an ungodly hour and this destroys the last vestige of domesticity in the scene and completes the alienation of the female figure. The viewer is driven to ask, "Why is she here? What will happen to her?"