Star Trek isn’t known for visual artists. While there might be artwork on people’s walls, or on shelves, it’s more likely to be something almost functional – or at least unbreakable. After all, ships get tossed around an awful lot.
But I wanted readers to have people they could relate to. And I think visual artists are rather relatable, as their work is similar to what artists do now. Painting, as a technique, has in some ways not changed significantly since we were living in caves. It’s still pigments on some form of canvas. And pottery is even closer to what our remote ancestors were doing.
Marie Helêne Ducasse O’Day
In Intolerance, Dr. Keleth dreams of home. This includes the paintings, wall hangings and sculptures created by his wife, L’Kor. Even though she is paralyzed from the waist down, she can still be a productive and highly creative artist.
Lili and Malcolm‘s son is a gifted artist from a young age. In Temptation, Cria and Mistra look over a letter from Malcolm which includes one of Declan’s drawings. Dec is only a young child, but he is still pronounced “very good” by the two Daranaeans. Later, he attends school at Oxford, and is seen there during Flight of the Bluebird. And in Fortune, after Lili and Malcolm have passed on, Declan goes to Europe and, in part, it is to study Monet’s Water Lilies at Giverny.
Times of the HG Wells
With little reason to have a visual artist on hand, it’s no surprise that there are no visual artist characters in this series yet, not even in the background.
For Azar and Maryam‘s wedding, the Muslim bride’s hands are painted with food coloring, as there is no henna. These include images of procul and malostrea. The artist is an amateur. She is a Navigational crewman who is otherwise not really seen much.
It’s not until Hearts in Time that Inta reveals she is an artist, to Hank Harrison. He takes a look and tells her he thinks her work is very good. She wonders a bit if she could go to a big art school, perhaps with Declan, in order to not only further her education but also maybe meet a man (of pretty much any species) who would truly appreciate her. Later, in Confidence, she starts school, and a gift to Malcolm is her drawing of Declan.
For this new series, I want another Daranaean artist. This time, the female is from the third caste (Inta II is from the second caste). Crita is also ambidextrous, and is a bit of a novelty, as she can draw two different images with both hands, simultaneously. This is not an impossibility (at least not for humans, as President James Garfield apparently could write Greek with one hand, and Latin with the other, at the same time). Much like Inta II, she is also a bit lacking in confidence, but at least Crita is trying to make a living at art.
I want my Star Trek fanfiction to have an artistic angle that it just doesn’t have in the series or the films. While characters (Data in particular) might paint, no one is really good at it. And rightly so, as they are, instead, engineers or doctors or the like. But in a sophisticated society, there will always be visual artists. I know I will add more as I can.