Artist Beck Hemsley shares how they created their hand-painted scene about personal and emotional growth for an Airship Games Art Jam.
This piece was my submission for the Airship Games Art Jam, June 2022, and it won ‘Judges Choice’. When I heard the theme was ‘Growth’, I knew I wanted to approach it from the perspective of personal and emotional growth. As a trans person, I wanted to express the growth we experience in every small moment of transition. I came up with a few ideas, and sketched them out in 2D before finally settling on this concept. It arose from a close friend telling me that she felt intense time pressure to access hormone therapy, in order to prevent irreversible effects from her body’s testosterone—the fear she felt towards leaving things ‘too late’. We so rarely see portrayals of elder trans women, and they are rarely represented with the respect and dignity that they deserve. I wanted to create a care-filled and loving representation, for folks who have never seen themselves shown to be truly beautiful. An art piece that would say: you are and will always be valid, and worthy, no matter your age, no matter how long it takes to grow into yourself.
I’m hoping I’ve done the emotion justice here. This is someone discovering themselves for the first time—their first experience of gender euphoria. The gesture and expression is everything. I tried to capture a sense of gentleness, of a single moment of growth that is simultaneously ground-breaking but also fragile and vulnerable—the eggshell softly cracking.