” The Gray child is here, my emptiness, my nothing, my death. She is the one who says nothing at all. She is everything and nothing all at once. She looks just like me though she is hollow inside. The Gray Child surrounds me. She has no name, her shape and form are mine. With her I forget everything as we watch the world fall away. “
At first glance Failure to Thrive (The Gray Child)↑ is not the typically dark creation↑ we might expect from Storm Septimus↑. The landscape looks other-worldly, but beautiful, and the colours are attractive.
At first glance.
A closer inspection reveals content in many ways much darker than anything I’ve seen from her before.
When asked about the build Storm replied: If I were to use one word to sum it all up, well that’s easy, its simply about depression. I have been fighting with depression for almost as long as I can remember. Though I think it would take an idiot not to see that with the style of builds I install within SL. I find it very easy to indulge that side of me, and the results are usually bleak yet rather beautiful.
Originally the sim was to be just called The Gray Child as that was the title of my self indulgent mini ramble on a particularly woeful day. However when piecing it together I had some really bad days where I was almost screaming at people “I simply cannot do this”. I had my hand held and I was told to put my big girl pants on and to take a step back and maybe try to broaden my view and consider a different direction to what I had at that point built. (the sim has changed about 5 times before it finally found itself). I’ll be honest I was not happy with said person so the failure to thrive came into as a bit of a fuck you because I said I would fail because I had no idea what I supposed to do anymore, so I saw the whole thing as a big waste of time as I couldnt see it progressing to anything. In later thoughts I realised that’s what depression is … it is a failure to thrive .. emotionally.
Discussing the design she explained: It’s cluttered and abstract just like the thoughts in my head when the gray child is winning. Alot of it looks perfectly acceptable from a distance… then when you get closer less desirable things come into focus. Agin a classic thing with people who suffer depression , on the outside we can quite easily appear like we are doing okay , get closer you see the cracks. So I tried to get this across in the design with things like the dolls’ tea party, looks legit from a distance till you notice they are eating their own. The birds swooping down in the rotunda a sign of hope until you move closer and discover someone pierced them with scissors…
I find it to be a peaceful and beautiful thing to look at. I know the message gets across as people tell me I have made another masterpiece in depressing lol. So I guess I am winning? even if I don’t see it that way myself. I adore walking through the thousands of shimmering stars and losing myself, and you know what? I don’t feel so sad anymore, instead I smile.
One of the many intriguing aspects of this build is Storm’s notecard concerning the Windlight. Using the region’s default is important, but she gives you two options – low and high rez. She prefers the low and, if you check out the reflections in the final image, you’ll see it does make the landscape even more dramatic.
I’m not a supporter of the theory that artists (whether painters, writers, sculptors, musicians, etc.,) have to suffer for their art. It is often true, however, that out of suffering can come art which touches us and allows us a glimpse inside the artist’s psyche.
Being a determined (albeit often cranky) optimist – I consoled myself at Failure to Thrive↑ with the image of Storm wandering through the stars and smiling. Hold on to thought as you look closely at this grim beauty created from anger and depression.