I'm Here is a project created in the wake of the current global pandemic. It is a concept created to connect people and share stories as well as acknowledge the severity of the situation through the use of storytelling through postcards sent in the mail.
The postcards tell the story of an older woman named Emma who has become isolated due to age. Eventually, she meets her mailman Walter, and at first she is reluctant to let him into her life, but eventually she allows herself to create a friendship with him. The story, however, ends on a bittersweet note. Inspired by the current state of events at the time of this project's creation, Emma contracts COVID-19 from Walter as he is an asymptomatic carrier. She eventually dies.
This project originally started as a multitude of different concepts that were scrapped for one reason or another, such as a live exhibition or a game. I've abandoned these endeavors as I realized what I wanted to create would not have been effectively expressed through that media.
This originally started as a project examining our relationship with death, but the way it accomplishes that evolved. Before the pandemic, I've decided to create a 2D animation that tells the story of Emma and Walter.
Originally, neither of them were going to contract a virus of any kind, and Emma was going to die simply from old age. But after the pandemic started, my ability to work on the animation plummeted and the state of the world was all I could think of, so I knew I had to incorporate it into my story. I even changed the medium to postcards because USPS workers are so at risk, being essential and having to come into contact with many people due to their work. I decided to hand make the postcards to add a more personal touch and help people feel more connected, especially since we are using technology as our primary means of communication. I sketched out the postcards in pencil, then lined everything using India ink and a calligraphy pen, and finally adding color using watercolor and color pencil.