Butterfly Commute 01

Butterfly Commute 02

Butterfly Commute 03

Wendy-Alexina Vancol
3rd Year, Major in Studio Arts

Daily Butterfly Commute
10″ x 20″
Water and coloured pencils on cold press paper

Artist Statement:

Like many, I depend heavily on public transportation to get around. Since my school and job are far from where I live, I have accumulated quite the mileage over the years and have often been asked, “Why don’t you just avoid all the trouble and get a car already?” The thought of driving has crossed my mind more than once. In fact, the ability to drive would cut my traveling time in half and would allow me to avoid the harsh Montreal climate. However, my reasons for choosing not to drive go beyond my laziness to complete my driver’s permit and my lack of a car. Somehow all of those hours spent travelling in the bus have made me develop this odd fondness for the interactions which come with travelling alongside strangers. Whether it is helping an elder with their grocery bags or giving directions to a stranger, I have come to appreciate those little interactions as they brighten up any gloomy or uneventful day. Daily Butterfly Commute is a three-page comic strip about the sometimes-brief encounters we have while taking public transportation and the non-verbal modes of communication which can also occur during these happenstances. The title of this piece is inspired by the butterfly effect phenomenon, which is based on the idea that even something small is powerful enough to make big changes.

In the case of my comic, the man is a representation of the butterfly who flies out of the woman’s life as fast as he came in. The brief encounter between the two alters the woman’s mood; thus, unknowingly reviving her longing for more interactions. Throughout the years I have drawn many comics that have featured a variety of fictional characters and stories. Although I am the sole author and artist of those stories, I have always had a hard time situating myself as the protagonist, as I never considered my unvarying life to being exhilarating enough to base an entire story on. When drawing, in order to help my mind form a realistic image for the situations in which I imagine my characters in, I tend to physically enact the scenes. To my surprise, me doing so has resulted in my family and peers seeing my characters I drew as being a spitting image of myself and not being able to separate the two. Although that was not a part of the initial process, I will admit that the process of making comics has been a guide for me to dig into my inner psyche. The work has actually given value to all the experiences I live through as they are what formed me into the person I am today.