Good gorsh! It feels so good to be painting again. I have to admit, the comic hound has been nipping at my heels. But for now I'm all about my new body of fine art works. Check out some of what's been developing in the lab....
The sketch up top is the start of a piece called "Reborn In The Kill." I did it at a listening party for the new Beck album (random, I know). The title is pulled from a Subtle song I enjoy. The piece itself is one of the first in a series that's been haunting my sketchbooks and imagination for months. I've been obsessed with warfare since about 1998. It isn't any sort of fetish or war-monger business. I just find the entire concept of war and the military fascinating. Recently, I've been mulling over the reality that, despite any technological advancements, combat and killing remains as brutal as ever. Bullets and munitions don't make clean cuts. This stuff shreds human beings like so much soft cheese, just like their distant relatives, from the musket to the mace. With that in mind, I've been sketching images of brooding, modern soldiers using primitive, almost Neolithic weapons... spears, arrows, jagged metal bent into blades. In the sketch for this painting, a wild-eyed soldier is bringing his blade down into the mouth of an enemy combatant, who is helplessly trying to push him away. And an incarnation of Death is helping the protagonist strike the killing blow. Creepy!
As you can see, "Reborn In The Kill" grew from its sketch form. I redrew the central soldier character on a larger scale. Then I pasted him down to a 20 x 42" canvas. I'll be collaging and painting on the rest of the elements over the next week or so.
The next four paintings are about 9 x 12" each. They're collage and paint on plywood blocks. I'll start with the one above, "Urban Flight." I like to draw people flying with cities (or the suggestion of cities) strapped to their back. Since moving away for college, I've become increasingly aware of the constant press of city life. It's like you can't live in a city without acknowledging the grip it has on you, for better or for ill. Also, every urban area I've ever visited or dwelled in has had its own personality. Part of how I like to interpret that in my work, is by creating these people hauling an urban sprawl on their back. That's where this one springs from.
Next up is "Business As Usual." This one depicts an otherworldly soldier/exterminator wading through smoke and fog. Small fires are smoldering on a distant hillside. But our solitary figure goes along with the same determined mundanity of a plumber leaving a drain he just unclogged. Obviously, this guy is moving on from some sort of violent confrontation. And, most likely, is headed for even more of the same.
I call this one "Alleluia," which is another spelling of "hallelujah," a transliteration of the Hebrew word for "Let us praise." Another concept that's dominated my sketches of late, are these Iron Gods. They're massive, benevolent creatures that seem to just exist in the world surrounding them. Sometimes they're the embodiment of cities. Sometimes they're simply large, observant creatures. I guess I'm attracted to the idea of a tangible god... something massive and made of metal and wood and stone, that's alive. And with this Iron God, I'm depicting the hands of worshipers reaching up from their homes to praise him. Actually, it might be a female. Or even asexual! I mean, why would a god succumb to the rules of gender?
Last but not least is "The Brute." I did the sketch for this guy while watching The President give his speech on the economy, yesterday morning. Go figure. Anyway, this is another of my wild soldier pics. His modern body armor and uniform are sharply contrasted by his dreadlocks, and the beastly wolfs-head cloak he's wearing. You might not notice at first, but instead of a human hand, his right arm ends with the gnarled talon of a bird of prey. And, like his brethren, he's armed with a crude, sharp weapon for dealing death to the opposing forces. Yikes!
And that's all for now. I'll post more pics as things move forward on all of these paintings. Hope you enjoy the budding flowers of my latest visual endeavors.
From SF with flava,