I was inspired by a few quotes from my favorite book, Les Miserables by Victor Hugo. He writes:
"So long as there shall exist, by reason of law and custom, a social condemnation, which, in the face of civilization, artificially creates hells on earth, and complicates a destiny that is divine, with human fatality; so long as the three problems of the age—the degradation of man by poverty, the ruin of women by starvation, and the dwarfing of childhood by physical and spiritual night—are not solved; so long as, in certain regions, social asphyxia shall be possible; in other words, and from a yet more extended point of view, so long as ignorance and misery remain on earth, books like this cannot be useless."
From there, I decided to try to capture the essence of misery in a single person. I went back a forth between child labour and prostitution, and came to the terrifiying conclusion that child prostitution exists. I did research, and re-watched one of my favorite documentaries "Born Into Brothels" for inspiration.
I did a quite a few value studies in watercolor, then used photoshop to make color studies. My professor ended up really loving the color studies as a group, and encouraged me to use them for the final project. I ultimately decided to use a finished illustration for my final, but I still think the color studies are powerful on their own.
I based most of my research and visual inspiration off of the sex trade in India. Here are some statistics:
- There are estimated 900,000 sex workers in India
- 30% are underage