Monday, February 9, 2009

At Play, Witchcraft, and Symbolism, amongst other things.

At Play
Ink on stained Canson 140 lb Coldpress

This past week has been a busy one, amongst other rotten things. Feeling unwell didn't help much either and slowed things down immensely. I will be moving again soon, and truly don't want to, but I must. I'm starting to believe that being displaced every so often is going to be my lot in life so I just have to learn to deal with it. The frustration is mainly in the massive pause it creates in my art process. The packing and unpacking doesn't bother me too much since I pretty much leave everything in boxes nowadays. It's the cost, chaos, stress, and creative pause that wears me down. (I won't get into details as to why I need to move since it won't do anyone any good, poo.)

It's also been bothering me that I have not been posting here as often as I would like. My goal is to try to have posts on here at least every other day, but with the way I am, I'm lucky if I get in one a week. For good reason, this blog is what seemingly keeps my art and my vision of what I want to do with it on track. I notice that if I go too long without posting, my creative process tends to slow down to a crawl. Maybe it's just life taking over, I dunno. I do work at a day job after all, and there are days that I come home mentally exhausted and can't seem to do anything except glue my eyes to Hulu.

Last night I watched Witchcraft (c.1964), a film about a witch, who, having had her grave disturbed, goes after the perpetrators. Though it wasn't a work day, it still was a mentally and emotionally exhausting day and I needed to turn my brain to mush. Haven't watched some B suspense movies in a long time and this one was surprisingly good. It's hard to find any good suspense and horror films nowadays that don't have violence and gore, so I just prefer to watch the black and white films every so often to help fill that void. Besides, the cinematography was much better then, than it is now, well, regarding that genre anyway. I mean, look at the lighting in that first still, and check out the shadow on that wall in the second!

On my last post, Warship, Brad posted a good question regarding the piece, that I thought I should reply to.
Is it a consideration of the 'figurehead' or a meditation on that idea or is it just something that grew within itself as you worked?

When I posted the image, I began typing up an explanation of how it came about. But after starting about three times, to try to put what I wanted to say into words, I gave up. I think a little explanation into my working process may help me clarify.

Before I begin sketching an idea for a piece, I'll throw on some music. I can't have spoken word, television, or radio since it tends to break my continuity of thought and process, so whatever I'm listening to has to be in the same genre (I love all music, but need to switch it up often). I'll then just doodle and doodle, until I begin to get rid of all the mental garbage in my head, and become more focused. I've come to find that it's very meditative. At some point the doodling stops and an idea or image begins to form. This is the point where I allow thought to work alongside the meditation.
Warship began in this manner. Most of the time a female form begins to take shape, most likely because I identify with it, and also because it symbolizes so many things; nature, nurturing, you name it, and she can become anyone or anything.

All of my art, be it symbolic, visual, or illustrative (though I am not an illustrator, well, I illustrate my feelings, so I guess I am), relates to what's going on in my head or my life.
Warship is fraught with symbolism. A subdued form rises from a watery depth. The sea is disturbed, and in the larger version of the piece, clouds hang above. A possible storm (symbolism, I fill it all with symbolism) represents troubled thought. So she moves silently, cautiously. Yet, there is danger in the spears protruding from her hair. Protection? A sign of what's to come? I could go on, but I would like for others to be able to look at these at let their imaginations tell their own stories.


  1. Holy shit J, "At Play" is amazing. I truly mean that. Your skill and talent will take you far if you let it.

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