Solastalgia & Magenta City

Elizabeth Fijalkowski

Magenta City was a personal project I created in Photoshop. I had been inspired by the cyberpunk background art of Batman Beyond and the photography of artists such as Kosten at the time, so I was eager to create something. 

The process to make this piece was a lengthy one, as I went through many iterations of city scenes and compositions before I decided on the final skyline. The tiny glittering lights were created using a variety of textured halftone brushes. 

Spending so much time on one painting can become tedious, but it was well worth it given how many new techniques I discovered and improved. 

Solastalgia is a word that summarises the feeling of distress caused by environmental change. This is the title I chose for my final year animated film, (Solastalgia) depicting a series of landscapes impacted by the escalation of pollution. 

The oil refinery shot is the dramatic peak of the film, representing one of the most extreme types of pollution. I painted all the landscape elements in Photoshop and composited them in After Effects – and for this particular shot, the camera tracks upwards to the top of the chimneys, so the entire picture had to be really tall. 

During the planning and production of my project, I began noticing the dissonant quality of how photos of industry or pollution can still be aesthetically pleasing, often because of their striking contrast with the natural world. In a way it feels like we still manage to overlook the extent of environmental damage until it is too late – so, I attempted to capture this in my film by making every scene as cinematic as possible, regardless of the subject matter, which ranges from landfill to oil spills.  

Words: Elizabeth Fijalkowski, Animation, @lizziefij

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