It goes on and on and on. Switching the skin inwards then backout. The thing twists what’s meant to stay hidden and shows anyone curious enough to peel away their own flesh for free. Free. Everything’s free. That’s what the thing says but it stands to reason that prices aren’t always monetary. Doesn’t cost a cent but once it’s inside it’s already too late. Millions of eyes will watch your every move. But you’ll never feel their claws peeling back the skin. Hordes of keys clack away and detail every link you click, ad you like, and pornstar you eye-fuck.
Transparency. They watch, learn, then manipulate your
thoughts. The thing feeds you drivel through a scrollable pipeline. It’s all
free, too, by the way. Post your skin so they can use you too. Nothing could be
wrong if all your friends’ hang their skin out to dry right alongside yours,
right? Not when they all dress up their skin to the point of lunacy; a lie.
Blatant, black, and to your face; they’ll lie. Make it out to be perfect. The
only thing that knows who we are is the thing manipulating us into factory
grade pigs. Ready to be churned and turned out for ad revenue. Little capitalist
fingers pick and pluck all the right strings.
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.
Another piece of my long standing zodiac project. This one means a lot to me. One of my best friends fell thirty feet in a climbing accident and hit his head on a rock. It took the doctors three days to determine he was brain dead. They took him off support last Saturday. He was a Gemini and my friend Kendra and I created a unique version of the image for his birthday, which was a week before the accident. He never got to see it finished, but I think he would’ve liked it. He was always supportive of my art. He was probably my only fan when I first started. He was just a good friend, always there for me, even when I wasn’t there for me, and even when I wasn’t there for him.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Here is a close-up of the hands alongside a few of the more complex transitions:
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.
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!
A composite wallpaper I made using adobe photo-shop and personal/free assets. Thanks to NASA for providing the awesome in-space photo I used in the top left transition.
– special thanks to KO for modeling and taking upwards of forty awkward shots of her legs for this piece, you’re the real hero –
The base of the piece was a photograph one of my best friends took of her legs, then I masked over it and repainted/replaced the skin to get more of a painted/graphic look which makes it easier to blend into a conceptual piece that already has a mixture of drawn objects next to photographs. The smoke, city, and blended transitions were all painted in to connect the extremely disparate elements of the piece. I wanted it to look like worlds or realities were about to crash together while there’s this tear or rift in reality just a few feet away from the model. The problem is she has to jump to reach the red door before everything comes crashing down.
The biggest challenge here was trying to highlight a focus, because everything is pretty hyper-detailed and distracting. That chaos is good and needed to represent worlds literally colliding, but it make it tricky to form a true compositional balance when the background is –for lack of a better word– is a cluster-duck.
Anyway, I think it turned out pretty cool for what it is and I learned a lot making it which is always the goal here.
In other news I submitted my portfolio to ‘Design by Humans’ which is a company that partners with artists from all over the world to print designs on clothing, mugs, phone cases and more. I didn’t really expect to get accepted, so it was a nice surprise when I got the email today and was able to set up my shop.
This particular design is the only thing I’ve set up so far, but there will be more to come after I make it through finals (probably in one piece…hopefully).
Anyway, all the links to that kind of stuff will be at the bottom of the art posts from now on to keep things organized.
Having recently completed the general and rough manuscript for Butterfly Gate and passing it off to a trusted editor, I suddenly have time to work on my other stories and art projects. Re-reading and editing the same 460 page story three times within a week is hard work, but also really engaging and fun for me.
So this week (Spring Break!) has been all about planning new art for my other work-in-progress Saving Hadley and tackling a new arc. I also had time on the side to start writing my third project, Wall-Spider in a more serious capacity. As soon as I finished the rough short story (now chapter one of Wall-Spider) I knew I wanted to take it farther, but I already had a few engulfing projects. It was great to really delve into developing a new book, and infinitely less stressful than the first two times.
It’s a little mind-blowing and encouraging how visible the improvement has been. I started by re-working the short story. It wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t up to my current standards or style, so I improved the flow and counter-play between the first and third person narration. Then, having a good six months of ideas and notes about where I wanted to take it, barfed out a cool sixty pages, which was a new record for me.
But there’s other clerical work I do when I approach a novel. Part of that was taking the art I’ve already done for Wall-Spider and reworking it.
The main challenge was retroactively fixing the perspective issues with the first sketch. Then I drew as realistic of a padded cell backing as I could in Photoshop. The rest was simple lighting.
Obviously there are still some lighting and perspective issues, but I felt good about it for a simple three-hour session. One of the main takeaways from this for me is to really spend more time planning perspective. Messing up the two-point as badly as I did on a drawing that was otherwise very solid and emotionally personal/important to who I am was a little silly. I could have avoided the issue by spending two minutes with a compass to measure the two-point, but I free-handed the lines and rolled with it.