BA Quest

Where College Students Meet Their Fate

Bad Art and Brainstorming: The First

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Hey folks, did you come here to see another post about how life is hard as a BA holder who isn’t working in the field they wish they were? Too bad, today you are going to be subjected to Bad Art and Brainstorming.

What is that? Well the first thing you need to know is that I cannot draw. My artistic capabilities are childish at best. When I made my mother a picture of our family for her birthday, she said, “It looks like a 6 year old made this,” I was 23 at the time. I consider perspective to be a noodle scratcher, and I’ve written essays in celebration of my achievement in ‘coloring inside the lines’. When I took a drawing class in community college, I dropped out after the first week because things were already ‘heating up’.

So I figured the best way to talk about some of my new creative ideas is to draw my story concepts in MSpaint, then explain them. Without further rambling, Bad Art and Brainstorming.

A sunny day in the world of colored blocks

On facebook a month ago I started asking ‘questions of the day’ as a chance to talk to my friends about things related to story, games, and art. It was pretty fun, and we’ve had some good discussions on genre and tropes, the concepts in art that we see so often that we expect them and have named them. When I asked about mega-corps, the cyberpunk staple of companies that become so large they are effectively national powers, we got into a discussion about ways to make this trope fresh for new stories.

To tell the truth, I don’t think we got there. In the end a lot of ideas circled around the same old deal, companies that become huge and powerful are bad and meanie heads. They have poopy shoes, and they smell like bum. Etc etc.

The only place where I split away from the pack was when I thought about the path of a corp becoming a megacorp. The idea was a common one, a powerful AI. Instead of an AI meant to do anything special, it would initially be meant to handle customer service, answer calls and troubleshoot problems. This AI, lets call him Ted, would work for a company large enough to support him, like a media conglomerate. As new technology was developed, Ted would get more powerful, be given more responsibilities, until he effectively was the company. The idea of an AI in charge of a megacorp has been done, humanity loves to put an uncaring super-computer at the head of their fears. It is no surprise that Terminator is as popular as it is. The question is what happens after these AI, several of them now, control the megacorps that control the world. They make requests that come from no human, they manipulate lives for the greater good of some non-human, they may set laws that no human would care for or think of. These AI have transcended, except that isn’t quite right. They were never human beings, they were just incomplete. If you give Ted all the resources he needs to do whatever he wishes, and he has masses answering to his every whim, isn’t he effectively a god?

This first picture is looking up to a corporate headquarters as if it were ‘holy’. Now I’ve taken a college course or two (isn’t that the point of this blog?), I assume most of you have as well, you understand the mass media and corporatism. This isn’t supposed to be the usual ‘have we started to worship companies as idols’ question, it is supposed to be a step beyond. In this hypothetical, the companies have gotten away from their owners, they have become their own entities, and we are the stones they pile to build their empires.

Now this wasn’t the first embarrassing picture I ‘drew’ for this brainstorm idea, it was the second. Lets see the first.

A children's toy is attacked by wiggling green lines in the dreams of a pencil


This infantile work is supposed to represent a person coming up to a rock edge to see a castle below. How does this relate to the AI idea? In a world where Ted is trying to make his business as perfect as possible, it isn’t unreasonable that the gap between the rich, the average, and the poor, would be divided to extraordinary levels. As some see even today, the job of the poor in a capitalist structure is to put work into the process of shipping and manufacturing, and then reap very little of the rewards for their labor, before the state around them supports them just enough to get back to work. So why pretend that their wage is livable when you can change the way they live? Then change the way they see the world around them so that you never have to pay them in the first place. They would never have the money to purchase any of the products created, but that is a matter for the markets to adjust to. Soon you have a section of society who lives on a different scale of technology, and their world is driven into a more medieval society.

The art represents one of these ‘poor’ finally coming upon a home of the rich, which to him seems like a grand castle. It also helps that I’m no good at art, so I just drew a bouncy castle. When and if I actually write anything related to this, it would be a more muddled message; what exactly does it look like? and what of the protagonists life colors how he sees the building? Would it look more like the first image, skyscrapers against a skyline? The design and coloring (mostly in the lines) of the first picture may be how a person today would see a ‘divine’ building, while this second picture is how the poor from the setting would see it.

This idea seems more appropriate for some serial, many short stories showing the evolution of a character from a poor ‘dust dog’ to an agent of change in a world that isn’t equal. Sounds like fun.

All right, that is enough of that. Hope you enjoyed Bad Art and Brainstorming, there should be more of it in the future.


Written by MD Kid

02/23/2012 at 1:31 AM

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