Imaginary Awakenings Part II

The second part of my Imaginary Awakenings series is really where things began to click for me. I had a pretty clear idea about what I wanted this to be with the first one, but the second one is how all that tenuous ephemera coalesced together.

Third eye felt very special to me the moment I began working on it. It was one of those moment where the whole thing seemed effortless. Perhaps because it had a lot less going on than the previous illustration or maybe because it had a much more solid and tangible concept. For whatever reason it just worked.

Conceptually it shares a same thematic thread as the first part of the series. The idea of the singularity or the melding of technology with human consciousness. It's an idea that presents us with many, many dangerous and potentially problematic scenarios, but it also presents with a window into a new reality which was what I wanted to get across with this illustration.

This new frontier of human ingenuity has allowed the character in this piece to open up his third eye and see into an unseen realm that is beyond human comprehension. But like all many great joys and life, this comes at a price. This being of mental energy merged with technology has access to an unseen, unimaginable world but at the cost of all that he once was and it left as only a mind in deep, black darkness, dreaming an unrealized dream.

Imaginary Awakenings Part I

So I have always wanted to create a series of connected artworks for a while. I usually start on the first illustration in whatever series I'm thinking of creating or get to the second one and lose interest after that. Back in early December I decided to take another stab at it and this time I wanted to focus less on characters like Disney villains, or Greek Gods and more on a specific idea or set of themes. Until recently most of my artwork focused on things that I thought looked cool. That was always the main idea, just to make something that was awesome looking, or beautiful or bad ass. Perhaps that's why these ideas of making a series never panned out for me, I didn't have enough conceptual scenery to chew on to keep myself interested.

Something that has fascinated me for a while is the concept of the singularity, the convergence of human consciousness and technology. I find the idea that one day we could be so inextricably linked to our technology so interesting. What does that world look like and what are the implications of such an occurrence? I decided that this idea was the one I really wanted to explore artistically. And that's what Kaku no Sekai no Sakura was born out of. That roughly translates to Cherry Blossoms of the Imaginary World in Japanese.

I had nightmares about flower petals for weeks while working on this!

I had nightmares about flower petals for weeks while working on this!

I had never attempted this in Photoshop. It's very simple but very annoying to make look decent.

I had never attempted this in Photoshop. It's very simple but very annoying to make look decent.

The concept for this illustration was pretty simple since it's the first entry of this series. A Japanese girl dressed in a traditional kimono, who is not quite human, existing in an imaginary world. The idea was to mix elements true to life with obvious digital elements like the circuitry on her face, her eyes, the symbol on her forehead, and the breaks in the image showing the sterile reality underneath the highly details work. Thematically I didn't want to be overly ambitious, but technically this was at the time my most labored illustration with the most detail I have ever attempted. I got to try out a lot of different techniques, many that wont be noticed at first glance like the designs in her eyes or my attempt at replicating a traditional Japanese ink painting in the background. But overall I think it's a good first step for this series. It's a simple concept that I enjoyed exploring. The other entries in the series get a bit more elaborate as I delve further down this rabbit hole, but I'll save that for another day.

First Blog Post!

So I have been meaning to write one of these blog post for a while now. I always have great reasons to put it off until the fabled "better time", that never actually shows up. So what better time to just do it than right now at 12 am. So considering that I am an artist I think the best thing to write about is art naturally.

I want to actually talk about my art, or at least on piece in particular. It's not something I get to do often these days. So for this first popping of the blogging cherry I will talk a little bit about a very special illustration for me. Lamentation.

Lamentation aka sad naked dude in space.

I finished this illustration more than a year ago as a sort of final effort at art in general. At the time I was working two very shitty dead end jobs that I hated with a deep passion. I had been out of art school for almost 2 years and had no prospects of my life improving in any way, and the idea of doing art for money was a big pipe dream. But I had one illustration left in me.

Typically until this piece I would just draw something that looked cool to me. Disney fan art, or some cool swordsman type character. But for this one I wanted to do something that had some emotional resonance for me personally. I was in a really dark place and felt very alone and isolated. I could see my life descending into a void as I watched unable to do anything about it and I really wanted that to come through in this piece.

The main figure is alone, nude and vulnerable as a cataclysmic event happens in the background almost mourning the calamity but helpless to do anything about it and resigned to that fact. It was a very honest and open moment for me as an artist and evoked feelings I had never explored artistically and that felt good.

looking at this a year later I see plenty of technical things I would change or tweak but conceptually I think for me, this is as spot on as it gets. It can be difficult to want to express something artistically and actually be able to pull it off. Surprisingly enough this illustration opened a lot of doors for me and truly reminded me of why I call myself an artist in the first place. I'm still just a hungry hustler in this art business but thanks to this one illustration I can actually see a path forward and have the fire to go for what I want and that's much more than I cold have asked for.