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.

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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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

Sketches from my first sketchbook: Six years of progress #1

I took my first art/design course when I was a sophomore in high school (six years ago). I was interested in making art for video games and I was already learning C# and experimenting with tools like Autodesk maya and engines like UDK to make my own stuff.

That whole dream never really panned out (ended up in hard sciences) but I really went at the art. I was doing fifty hours a week, staying up all night to practice contour and learn to draw new things. It was one of my first real obsessive periods. I periodically get really into things which later eb and flow but most have stuck around (writing and drawing more than anything).

For the class we had to do daily sketches from life or our head based on a prompt. These are some of them. Bare in mind that while I was working hard, I was very much a beginner. It’s awesome to look back and compare this stuff to my current works and compositions. The style is actually pretty similar, still, in a lot of ways. It’s just more refined and cohesive now.

I’ll go in order of the pages and this was taped to the front page.

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I started out with bic pens and markers which s what this was in. Pretty sketchy shading but I was really proud of the contour. It took my a while and few tries at the time to nail down the general shape of a face let alone the gesture of a body.

This was probably the first time I tried to depict tattoos on skin, which is something I do on a regular basis now. I’ve gone so far as to design elaborate tattoos just so I could put them in a drawing later on:

copyr

In this semi-photo-realistic digital portrait I spent the most time on the tattoos and hair. I’ve found that abstract designs (time here) work much better for accenting skin in the context of a drawing.

This style evolved further into turning the skin into it’s own canvas within a canvas:

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Here the skin is less skin and more of a symbolic mosaic kind of story. I don’t like to explain intent explicitly and won’t, but there is a specific reason things are where they are here.

To me it’s really cool to be able to trace stylistic elements I employ in my hyper-realism and composite art back to one of the first decent anime sketches I did a few months after I started drawing.

Across the Way

Red lights abound,

A flickering side-show hiding our frowns,

Dressed up all pretty;

just want to be found.

Empty glasses accenting nothing,

but young blood craving something;

more.

Things seems good,

potentially normal.

He wants to chat,

thinks I’m immoral.

I tell him to fuck off.

Mood seems dampened,

But I bite back the tears.

Because after all;

it was just a compliment, nothing weird.

At least that’s what my best friend seemed to think.

Hours later the bars all closed.

My spirits had lifted; I suppose.

Said my farewells and let her drive,

away.

because she was always more poised than I…

…thought I could be.

Can’t question that, because it’s easier just to trust she’s got your back. And if she has my back I’m sure she has her own…you can’t defend another if you’re all exposed. Can you?

And if I can’t honestly say I have my own, then who’s got her back? Because I clearly don’t…since I’m the bitch who let her drive away; all fucked up on oxy cut with glaze.

Too late now,

I say to myself;

Walking down the street,

On my way to the house.

Few minutes later,

phone makes a ding,

weights all seem lifted,

when she says she’s home safe.

And that makes one. I thought to myself, eyeing that same shadow across the way. It belongs to the creep that I’d kept at bay. But now it’s all dark, and I’m not feeling sure…that I could do it again. Alone. Here.

He probably lives on campus, probably not a bad guy. Just a little pushy when hyped up on rye. The rhyming is lazy when I’m all worked up. Thing’s don’t quite flow and we all know what they serve at bars. I could try and rhyme alcohol for you but I don’t think it would matter, in communicating this learned fucking reflex that causes me to cower…when I see a man. When I don’t know what he’s doing over there.

Across the way.

I’m sure it’s nothing, and that little flash every thirty seconds is probably his phone.

Still; my hand is on that whistle…the best gag gift I ever got.

And I’m sending this message because I just want you to know, that I don’t feel quite right being alone…right now. And maybe the drugs just cloud up my mind, maybe his shadow is nothing but kind, but maybe I don’t feel like he’s reassured me of that the way he touched me without asking.

So, I’ll send you a text in a minute or two,

When I walk through that door we’ll know I was a fool,

for shivering and quivering in these fucking high heels,

hoping to God he isn’t the kind of tool,

who likes my false advertisement; my eyes still belong to you.

So don’t fucking worry,

I’ll be home in a few.

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Digital concept painting:

Soapyabstract4

Copr Blu-art 2018

The artwork and poetry portrayed here is the exclusive property of Blu-art and cannot be reproduced in any fashion without explicit and authentic written permission from me that is reproducible and recorded by me. 

Singularity – Artwork

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.

2400×4200 pix

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– 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.

 

Cheers!

-Blu

 

-Free stock credits (via unsplash)

https://unsplash.com/@istocode

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My portfolio (I do take commissions): https://arctic-ink.myportfolio.com/

My clothing designs: https://www.designbyhumans.com/shop/ArcticInk/

Exams make me Nervous

You know that buzz silence has? You know how that chorus of nothing seems to multiply when you’ve come up woefully inadequate, again?

It wasn’t so bad when it was just the Professor scratching the chalk-board, now it’s the whole class, out of their seats…handing in their papers before waddling up right next to her to paw at that fucking blackboard. Scratching out, “Are you done yet? We are, why aren’t you?!” All the while I’m sitting here, just trying to recall these mechanisms so I don’t fail.

 

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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