Return to the Arts; The Anchorite (Digital Collage)

My triumphant return to the arts. I have created a digital collage in the style of Inq28, which is the general genre of my miniatures painting journey.

But there is a uniformity between that and my thematic interests in general: The medieval, the disturbing, and especially the religious.

This is but the first of many such experiments to come, in many mediums. I have been invested with great spirit these past weeks, as if something holy have poured into me. I itch to create all matters of art, to try all matters of new techniques, and to hopefully develop a voice and settle into a medium of choice.

We shall see.

The Anchorite
Digital Collage, the Anchorite.

The Thinker (Lovecraftian Reinterpretation)

A Lovecraftian Reinterpretation of Auguste Rodin’s The Thinker. I took a bit of inspiration from Lovecraft’s ShubNiggurath, you know, the Black Goat of the Woods and a Thousand Young. I was originally going to give it a Tentacle Head and call it the Strangler.

Technique: Much like the previous entry in this series of mine, The Red Eminence, I painted directly over the original image (of the sculpture of the Thinker), drawing from the same colour palette. Painting in the backlight was a stroke of inspiration— it looks so much more incredible and macabre. Mysterious and terrifying!

My Lovecraftian Reinterpretation of Auguste Rodin's The Thinker. 
My Lovecraftian Reinterpretation of Auguste Rodin’s The Thinker.
The Thinker, by Auguste Rodin, at the California Palace of the Legion of Honor
The Thinker, by Auguste Rodin, at the California Palace of the Legion of Honor

The Red Eminence (A Lovecraftian Reinterpretation)

Introduction 

So, astute readers (do I even have any readers in these early days?) may recall my post some days ago about the validity of painting over public domain images (specifically classical art) in order to do something new, as part of a larger discussion on the validity of collage art, found art, matte paintings, etc.

Naturally, works of this nature are strongest when they act as a commentary on the original work; a lot of erasure literature and poetry creates satirical commentaries on the work in which they transforming.

A good friend of mine told me that this form of art is “Artist Reinterpretation”, and true enough, google yields a not inconsiderable amount of artists who have done similar things, albeit they don’t usually go the horror route.

I was a tremendous fan of H.P. Lovecraft and of cosmic horror in general, so this series of projects (I already have another one done) was cosmic horror themed. Your favourite classical works of art transformed into unknowable horrors.

The Process 

Rationale: His eminenceCardinal Richelieu (“The Red Eminence”) was a figure of significant bloodshed with his participation in the European Wars of Religion (the 17th century); where he notably came down on the Protestant side of the war, to curb the power of the Spanish Habsburgs. In all fairness however, the Cardinal was a product of his time, and I actually admired him as a Statesman—however with a monicker like “The Red Eminence”, and due to his noble bearing, sheer charisma, and political acumen; one cannot help but imagine in this Prince of the Church a supernatural creature, like Count Dracula. This reinterpretation was about revealing a supernatural version of the Cardinal, as a supernatural being.

Jesus, a Digital Painting Study

Digital Painting of Jesus.

JesusPortraitCOMPLETEV2
Digital Painting Study of Jesus. Portrait.

A study I painted awhile back when I was just literally starting out with digital painting (I had very little idea what I was doing at the time).

It was also, uh, miraculously drawn without reference (I wouldn’t recommend drawing anything without references, not unless you’re already very familiar with human anatomy as a whole— and I am not even that good— but this gamble seemed to have paid off, after some rough starts).

Of course, my visual library had a lifetime of seeing depictions of Jesus in various medias, so this wasn’t a radically different interpretation of Jesus. It’s your classical European Jesus. Why blue? Because it’s more ethereal and gets away from the race debate. And you know, some religions likes their holy figures in blue (like Krishna), so I was like, “why the heck not?”

What the tarnations is a visual library, you ask?— well, my hero, Sinix, of Sinix Design, can tell you all about it in this handy video he made.

And I also did fun stuff with this piece, for example, as an illustration of a bookcover project.

BibleBookCoverMockup_GOOD.png

On the validity of collage art, found art, matte paintings, etc

So, I asked this interesting question on Reddit, mostly to assuage my own doubts and feelings of fraudulence with regards to art projects that didn’t strictly involve me painting literally every pixel (yes, I realized that many creatives have experienced the Imposter Syndrome, but this intellectual understanding didn’t necessarily help me with dealing with it in an emotional, subjective way).

Before we begin in earnest however, first, let’s get some elaboration on the arts referenced in the title.

Collage Art: Bashing different elements (that are often not made by you) together to create a composition.

Found Art: For example, a toilet turned into a fountain. Or just tipped over.

Matte Paintings: An old technique where painting is applied to film strips in order to add elements that weren’t filmed by the camera (ie, painting a Sphinx on a desert). These days, mean any kind of digital environment creation, where some artists would photo-bash a layer that they paint over, or construct a 3D model to paint over, etc. Or just slap 3D models AS the background. Whatever saves time, since this kind of painting is mostly used in applied arts where production must be timely.


My Question on Reddit:

Alright, so recently, I’ve been exploring digital paintings, and that’s been a lot of fun. I’ve been learning a lot of the foundational principles to digital paintings and am making tremendous progress.

However, I also want to explore side projects that involves transforming public domain photos and artworks into new forms. However, these kinds of project feels instinctively strange to me for many reasons, mostly because it doesn’t feel entirely like real art. I know that collage, found art, etc are considered valid art forms, and that concept artists often use matte painting techniques or incorporate 3D models and existing photos into their work…but even so, I would like the public’s opinions.

The kind of projects I want to explore: I want to take existing public domain photos and paint over them to create sci-fi/fantasy environments. I also want to take classical paintings and paint over it/modify it to create something new. And of course collage art could be very interesting.

What are your opinions about such works of art?

And the (somewhat few) folks on that particular SubReddit have this to say—

thePopefromTV:

Not all art is good, but all art is art. Even satirically creating found art is art in its own way. When I see art that really makes me question its validity as art, I quickly realize that the piece is making me think and I usually come to the conclusion that it’s certainly art simply based on that alone.

GlitterGear:

There’s someone who paints over Pokémon cards, and they’re amazing!

I’m not a visual artist, but I view it as analogous to fan fiction. With fan fiction, you’re taking someone else’s content, transforming it and making it your own. I feel like it’s similar to the art you want to explore

charlzandre:

It’s still art. Tracing another image is questionable when you’re just making a painting, but if it’s a collage I feel like the rules are out the window.


These comments actually do help assuage my doubts, and I had expected comments along these lines; mostly because these comments are what would have said if I had to respond to my own question.

On a related note, a lot of folks often claimed that digital art or digital painting don’t constitute “real” art, when in fact digital paintings are exactly like perfectly ordinary physical paintings in terms of the actual painting process (differing for medium).

This article talked about this bias, but it also pointed out something quite interesting: We digital painters also like to accuse artists who practices photo-bashing and collage art of doing “fake art”. Hmmmm. I admit, I do often see it as a “lesser” art form, even though the difficulty of doing collage art well is beyond me, generally. And of course, found art/erasure art gets accused of this as well, along with things like blackout poetry/found poetry.


Now, below is an example of something I did, to experiment with my idea to transform classical paintings into a different form:

Cardinal de Richelieu (1642) by Philippe de Champaignecardinal_de_richelieu_mg_0053

And my experimental transformation of it. Painted over by me.

experiment_bloodcardinal-2

The rationale here was that Cardinal Richelieu (“The Red Eminence”) was a figure that had caused significant bloodshed with his participation and role in the European Wars of Religion (the 17th century). In all fairness he was a product of his time, and I actually admire him as a Statesman, however with a monicker like “The Red Eminence”, and due to his noble bearing, sheer charisma, and political acumen; I have always though of him as a kind of supernatural creature (like Count Dracula). Therefore, this transformative work was about revealing a supernatural version of the Cardinal. 


This is nowhere close to the level of detail I wished to create, but would you consider something like the above to be valid art?

Comment below!

PS: Yes, I missed a day of the Daily Logo Challenge. Don’t you worry, I’ll make up for it.