Lucy & Tomo Ralston
How do you describe your aesthetic?
Lucy: My aesthetic in writing is to keep things simple and neat. I’ve always been a fan of the thinking that a poem or a novel gains nothing by being difficult to understand, and instead hurts its own message by making it so difficult to access. I’m also particularly fond of nature-based imagery! (Tomo: as a non-english speaker I can assure you it’s not difficult to understand and they are very powerful)
Tomo: Mine is all about visual balance, to achieve something you want to keep looking at and good enough you’ll want to hang it on display! (Lucy: Remember that engagement picture you drew, and I kept noticing more details you’d woven in? Amazing.) Something that will inspire to whoever sees it
What motifs, characters or objects are important to you to feature in your work?
Lucy: What’s most important in my work is less a physical or character-based presence and more an emotional one. I spent a lot of time feeling very alone as a child, and a lot of that was because I thought I was the only one experiencing the emotions I was going through. So even the most personal things I write, I try to write so that anyone reading them might feel a little less alone. (Tomo: There are times in your writings that I feel like you can read my mind, emotion-wise. You always leave me speechless with the way you capture emotions and how you play scenarios)
Tomo: Colors and emotions; I personally love bright colors. Sometimes I draw fluff and soft and others harsh and raw. To capture emotions in lines, shapes and colors is what I pursue the most. (Lucy: Trust me love, you do really well at it. I know you’ve tried to teach me color theory a few times, but I still don’t know how you do it!)
What inspires your work?
Lucy: Honestly, Tomo is constantly inspiring me. I feel like my writing was missing something before I met her. I wasn’t really trying to push myself or my boundaries, and I was starting to feel really stale. Because of her, I’ve tried so many new things! And that’s not even mentioning how seeing her draw for my stories or poems always unlocks a better understanding in me of what my work is about, and how best to capture it! (I’m not a very visual thinker in general, so working with an artist is amazing!) (Tomo: WHAT? You think so? I’m surprised you don’t think you’re a visual thinker. Every time I read your stories or poems I immediately start imagining such vasts and detailed scenarios. You inspire my art so so so much.)
Tomo: Life. My life recently got so very interesting. Before my journey in life together with Lucy, I used illustration as way to express my feelings, or more like ‘take them out of me’ Recently I draw to capture all those bits of life; from funny stories in our lives, to our favorite characters in alternative universes created by both of us; things around us. I enjoy greatly drawing our adventures. It all started with a commission Lucy got from me, we click together. I love drawing for her more than anything, her words are paint in my imagination. (Lucy: Wow… That’s the sweetest thing I’ve ever heard…)
What is it like to be part of the creative community in Athens?
Lucy: I’ve always loved the writers in Athens. I used to do a lot of volunteering with National Novel Writing Month here in town, but I’d kind of left the scene for a long time after a crisis of faith or two. Coming back has been incredible. Everyone has been so unspeakably kind and enthusiastic! I can’t tell you how grateful I am that I live in a town where I can write about my international same-sex engagement, and know that my community will root for us! (Tomo: I feel the MOST special when people on the street stop to say hi! Also that we don’t need to hide ourselves)
Tomo: Oh boy, this is new for me. I’m not a local, so being part of the creativity community of my, soon to be, forever home? I’m both nervous and thrilled. Our art show this summer felt like the initiation of something. Most of our friends, if not all of them, are artists and they feel like a second family to me. I can’t thank enough P&I for giving us both this amazing chance! (Lucy: You’re going to love it here, Preciosa. And the Athens creative scene is going to love you!) (Tomo: :) I’m so excited!)
What first prompted you to sell prints of your work?
Lucy: Poetry is in a weird grey-zone. You rarely see it printed outside of a poetry book unless it’s one out-of-context line from Robert Frost. But Tomo and I always post our work together online, usually with my stories as descriptions for her artwork. So when we started to think about moving our work from the internet into the physical world, making prints of the poetry as well as the art seemed to be the next logical step! I didn’t really stop to think about it until I saw my poetry framed. And then all I could wonder was why I hadn’t seen it from anyone before! I’m hoping that in the future we can incorporate artwork directly onto the poetry as well. (Tomo: We complement each other pretty awesomely. Our work stand by themselves, but together? That’s us.)
Tomo: I’m not new in making a business out of my art, but I’m new on making them tangible. Usually I work as commissioner; a person sends me full description of what they want and I get paid for drawing it. Having BOTH our works sold together in a printed way is amazing… I never thought of framing poems, and when I saw Lucy’s poems nicely framed and hanged I fell in love all over again. (Lucy: Hey this bit is supposed to be about you! How’d you sneak me in here again?) I want to do more of this, sell prints the way we do art, in 2, together. (Lucy: I still can’t believe that this was your first art show, and your first time seeing your work matted and framed. You are SO amazing, and I’m so glad to have been at your first gallery show!)