Watchers – Painting

A mixed media painting on cold-press. Ink, watercolor, and photo-manipulation for the geometric overlay of the ink-splatter. The face near the middle connected to the smoke is actually a portrait I did when I was first getting into digital and mixed media. It saved me a lot of time to use that and I think it looks pretty interesting.

trad

copr Blu-Art 2018, all rights reserved.

Vertebra – Photo-manipulation

A straight photo-manipulation my friend and I made using a mix of personal and free assets. It was a fun day trip driving out to Des Moines to gather a plethora of photos, and this is what we came up with. I think it could have gone a lot worse considering our relative inexperience with photography.

Putting it together was also difficult, as we had something like three hundred pictures to comb through. Anyway, I had fun putting it together!

V1.png

copr Blu-art 2018

V – I miss you

Time lost up front.

You fell and it’s to late too fix the hole in your head.

So I’ll be there when they say it’s time, because I wasn’t there when I should’ve been. Time paid back in half…at best. Still, I’ll be there when they set you free, of that prison gravity put you in.

And at least your valves will work for someone who didn’t fall, but if I’m being honest I don’t care. Because their brain isn’t yours. There’s a romantic something to be found in the fact your heart will be pumping for someone else, but I liked your brain better than your heart. It was a good heart. You ran eight miles a day and left me in the dust whenever I tried to tag along.

I could blame the pseudo-asthma but the truth is you had a better heart. Figuratively and literally; a better heart. Which brings me back to the construct of you; your brain. Your dead brain. You survived the surgery and suddenly Kendra was right to have driven straight to Madison. You pushed through. But, it’s just as well, I’ll get to see you but I owe her an apology. The surgeon said you had three hours and I had eight hours of pavement to cover. So I cried instead.

Then we thought you were alive again. Until they couldn’t wake you up. So I cried again and at least Kendra was back to cry with me. I know I need to be there for her more than I have been too.

Still.

Fuck you for not using ropes. And fuck me for thinking it was cool every time you scaled a building or cliff face without them. Fuck me for not loving you back when you needed it and fuck me for taking so long to realize you were still my best friend. Fuck me for assuming you wanted nothing to do with me over that lie.

At least we figured it out near the end. Figured out we still needed each other.

And I know you want to leave now. I know you don’t want to be trapped in a coma. I know you don’t want to be buried so we’ll scatter you where you said.

Thank you for everything. Thank you for convincing me to keep arting, thank you for playing Borderlands 2 with me everyday after school for over a year because you knew I was lonely, and thank you for being there that summer during my surgery. Thank you for helping me cook for French class and convincing everyone I did it alone while I was in the other room. Thank you for thinking I was worth keeping around, and for believing in fate and love when I couldn’t seem to comprehend either. Thank you for taking the time to help me learn. I love you V.

And I’ll be there when they pull the plug and cut out your valves.

Cancer – Painting

Phew. Been working on this one for a few months. A put out a smaller version a while back, then realized it had more potential. So I added, a lot. And made it huge. I’m proud of it. There’s a lot of little details that are easy to miss, especially when it’s shrunk down like this. (If you can find the negative space crab, I’ll be impressed.

I still need to clean up a few things (especially the lips and the transition to the waterfall). But I think it’s on track to be one of my most complex pieces.

 

94×73 inch digital painting

Cancer

copr Blu-art and Arktic-ink 2018, all rights reserved.

Wallpaper cut:

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More Cover Art!

A collaboration project with an old art buddy of mine. Been working on it over the past month or so and I think it’s coming along nicely. It’s primarily a digital painting but there are composite elements in the largest flower and the famous building I’ve forgotten the name of (both were free photos from unsplash.com that we reworked into the composition). The subject was also based on a photo which I masked over and painted/re-textured. That’s essentially the equivalent of tracing something, but it is still painted and I think she turned out well.

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copr Blu-art and Kochre. 

I moved away here from my normal hyper-textured/realistic style primarily because there isn’t enough skin to make it work. Most of the composition was just black…so we worked in little Easter eggs from the story.

I’m especially proud of the eye re-texturing I did specifically for this piece.

Capture.PNG

 

Here’s a closeup of the most recent addition. There’s some smoothing out to do still, but I’m rather fond of how it turned out.

Capture

 

Here is a close-up of the hands alongside a few of the more complex transitions:

Capture.PNG

I know it seems needlessly bloody, but the character depicted loses a finger during the act this heads, which is what it references. Furthermore, I did a questionable job on repainting the contour of the hand and messed up the skin color a little. The blood helps cover up the mediocrity.

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The artwork displayed here is copyrighted and not available for any type of reproduction without explicit written permission from me. I’m pretty open to letting people use stuff as long as they pass along credit, so don’t be afraid to ask!

My Portfolio: https://arctic-ink.myportfolio.com/

My Deviant Art: https://arctic-ink.deviantart.com/

My Design by Humans shop: https://www.designbyhumans.com/shop/ArcticInk/

2

Work

For me, if I don’t have an overarching goal, ambition, or thing that seems impossible to work towards; I go a little crazy. My mind is active and it’s like it creates internal problems that I have to solve but probably can’t because they’re ill-defined and not as pressing or relevant as they seem. Most would call this sort of experience anxiety, and I tend to agree. These go away when I have something huge to work on. My books, an ambitious art project, pouring my everything into my classes. I need to outrun myself.

I think the need to be improving, the need to not waste time is important. But it’s hurt every relationship I’ve tried to have or cultivate. Friends are easy to fit in but close friends and my ex’s all end up realizing I can’t relax. I can’t do leisure. I can’t make time for them when I’ve already scheduled out my day with thirty hours worth of hard work. And if I did there’s no guarantee they’ll like what they see. Anxious.

I’m overbooked, all the time…but I like that. It’s the only way I sleep. I need it, otherwise my mind goes back to torturing me and convincing me all these little problems and all the stuff from my past still matters when it doesn’t. It’s all or nothing with people, and it’s not right to make anyone my project, so they stay at arms length and I hope they don’t mind that I need to plow ahead with my passions. Regret never helped a soul and I’ve already learned from those mistakes. I don’t have a time machine, so I need to keep my eye on ‘what’s next’. Perpetually.

Okay, breaks over. Back to studying!

 

Peace,

Blu

Is Digital Art Cheating? – an actual blog post since I guess I have a blog that I don’t blog on and should fix that

I was at a party where many art majors were present last night.

I tend to sit in a corner and hangout with the person who invited me at these sorts of gatherings since I don’t drink. There was a lively debate running at a table I was near, and it caught my attention. There was a man arguing that digital art took literally no skill and that while it may take some time to learn the tools, was essentially the technician version of being a radiologist (technician is a good job, so he was already off base with the analogy).

So me and my friend both took issue with this and told him so. He kinda laughed because I guess I don’t look all that cool. Now I mean my main qualm was his assertion that someone couldn’t be both a digital artist and someone who could use a pencil. Now I use pens, which have a reputation for being significantly less wieldy than pencils (look ma, no eraser). So I told him that I do digital art and think I can also illustrate semi-competently.

Do I consider myself a professional or expert? No, absolutely not, and I hope I never think I’m an expert because that’s when you have hit your cap. I don’t ever wanna stop learning or improving because that progress is what drives me to make art in the first place. But do I think I can draw most things I’d want to? Yeah, I could attempt it and do an alright job probably. But it’s all practice.

So he told me to prove it, and I’m like “okay”.

I showed him this, which is multimedia, granted, but the digital and traditional portions are distinct. It was a traditional drawing that I later redid the background in illustrator.

Hunger Demon7

His response: “Pfft, that’s low art.”

My friend flipped on him there, asked him to share his high art. I was already uncomfortable with his insult, because I worked hard on this and never intended to sell it because it was art for something personal, which I think is what art should be for. It was the fourth drawing I did when I started drawing again early last year during a very difficult time in my life. This piece meant something to me, and art should mean something to you when you make it. This piece depicts bulimia nervosa and OCD which are both worth depicting, because they are brutal disorders.

If you really think you can honestly look at any drawing or piece of art and determine in five seconds whether or not it is low (has no meaning or minimal low-brow value/appeal) or high (has meaning and value), then you don’t know how art works.

So, he showed us a picture from a gallery of a large painting with an abstract horse thing as the subject. And it was good, in my opinion. I’m a sucker for abstract and impressionism. I told him I liked it and he seemed kinda self satisfied and my friend looked at me like what’s wrong with you. But I wasn’t gonna lie and say I didn’t like it to be bitter, I mean then I’d be like him; toxic.

Anyway. I left with her pretty quick after that, didn’t want to be around the negativity I’d associated with the room and party. I felt kind of bad until I thought about it more and realized that his attitude will ultimately prevent him from learning and getting better and that’s what’s sad…That he needs to shit on other peoples hard work and throw around “low art” when he doesn’t even understand the context of something.

 

I thought about the question more and here’s my answer:

I don’t think either is better, I think they are different and similar, but one is not better or a “lower” form of art. Traditional is hard because you don’t have a perfect eraser or perfect paper that never breaks. It’s easier to add than take away. This limitation is ninety-nine% mitigated in digital art, but now you have to either drop two-thousand on a flagship cintiq or struggle to draw lines with a mouse or low quality tablet. TABLET DRAWING IS SO HARD THAT I DRAW WITH A MOUSE.

Yes, I draw with a mouse and attempt to draw lines with a mouse. This is part of what makes digital art challenging, the images are not auto generated, you still have to make these things. And when you’re using composites it’s a whole different beast to blend disparate images together, it’s heavier and hard shading to do that than to draw a face in my experience.

But I love both because they look different and are unique. I can’t draw something that looks traditional in Photoshop and I can’t draw hyper-realism on traditional mediums. (I can composite backgrounds in after scanning via multimedia techniques though).

I feel like art is up against enough when we artists aren’t trying to eat up each others confidence, you know?

 

 

Cheers,

Blu

Space Man – Artwork + Steps

I took steps this time!

I FINALLY REMEMBERED. I always forget, because there’s around eight pieces I don’t finish for everyone I do so the early steps often are done in a single file because it feels low risk still. The farther along I get the more backups I make so yeah.

This was about four hours in, a lot of plain splatter blocks from the under painting are still visible.

Astro-Soldier1stt.png

 

Another thirty minutes or so, finished up the right arm and attached the NASA insignia. (This is modeled off of a NASA photograph). Also did a lot of work on the reflection base. Moved the blacks out a little to start placing the mid-tones of the background. I do this so I know where to fit the composites in while maintaining a compositional balance. It also gave me space to draw in the blurred bits of the ship and suit being torn off which I think ended up pretty cool.

Astro-Soldier1st

 

About three hours of filling in the blanks, decided on the darker background for both sides. The right side is meant to have a ship, but I realized I probably couldn’t draw it right or composite anything in with that much light. Also it wasn’t all that compositionally balanced. Astro-Soldier

 

About five hours, added composite 1 (links to free image are at bottom) Astro-Soldier3

 

Like thirty minutes, just did some reflection work and added more blood splatter detail. Darkened scaffolding. Got rid of the mouthpiece because it wasn’t cooperating with the glass composite (links at bottom). Astro-Soldier6

 

Couldn’t decide between red and purple so I duplicated the layer and used both lol. Astro-Soldier10

 

Another few hours of little details. I think the blood might be too bright with the anti gravity. Spent a lot of time on it but it’s meh. Astro-Soldiercopr

copr Blu-Art 2018, copr Arctic-Ink 2018

 

A space-man who met an unfortunate end doing what he loved. Rest in peace Space-man.

Overall this was really fun. Working with the texture brushes to get the space suit done was really challenging and engaging. I left the hands out because I wanted some of the under painting to survive and because I can’t draw gloves (I’ve been working on clothes really hard but like hands did, gloves seem to allude me). I did try a few times but I was like, this looks cooler without the gloves anyway. I also wanted the most in focus part to be the helmet, so everything else was left pretty stylistic while I hyper rendered the helmet with composite work.

 

Free stock:

Photo by Wenniel Lun on Unsplash    (coloration of helmet glass)
Photo by Alexander Andrews on Unsplash    (Blurred out background and stars)
Photo by Mink Mingle on Unsplash    (Used for emissive light bokeh)

 

PS: This design is available through Design by Humans here: https://www.designbyhumans.com/shop/t-shirt/men/space-man/900404/

 

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My Portfolio: https://arctic-ink.myportfolio.com/

My Deviant Art: https://arctic-ink.deviantart.com/

My Design by Humans shop: https://www.designbyhumans.com/shop/ArcticInk/

2

Artwork: Leo

The first piece of a conceptual project I was commissioned for. This represents the zodiac sign Leo. I wanted to get across the whole sense of individuality and feelings of not quite belonging where-ever you go.

Overall it went pretty well, a lot of pen and line errors, especially in the skeletal portion. Had a lot of fun and learned some new techniques with watercolor.

11×8 inches on blick watercolor paper. Done in watercolor and ballpoint pens. The word are an overlay comprised of typed text and a page from my dictionary.

Orphan2

The One thing I got Right (Poem)

The One thing I got Right
_____
You lay there and seem,
A goddess to me.
Vibrant deadly stream,
the painting from my dreams,
fire-born Seraphim.

You are the one mistake,
I won’t break,
because kissing you,
Brings me closer to heaven.

And the way your breath,
Ignites winter’s air,
Could save me from death.
This time that we share,
the truths we lay bare,
All let me know,

You are the one thing,
I did right,
the only mistake,
I’ll never take,
For granted.

Yeah,
we’re measured in heart-beats,
as we start flying away.
My love,
piece me together,
and tell me to stay.
I don’t know what’s holy,
but baby we are.
Forget the darkness,
that pain of yesterday,
let me sew you together,
as love lights the way.

Stay here with me, and there’s nothing we can’t create.
Tell me you need me, because that’s all that I say,
Your love is like heaven, so show me the way.
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