I've been making a lot of images depicting gods and heroes from ancient Greek mythology lately. I've published close to none of them so far as I want this series completed and I don't feel it's time to let the cat out of the bag just yet. They are mostly an attempt at a Mycenaean or Minoan interpretation, style-wise, as most of these stories were said to take place in the late bronze age. This image of Athena, one of my favorite Goddesses of all time, is an exception. She's fully a familiar figure from classical Greece. I needed a new business card and web banner so I put her on it. Obviously this isn't the finished card.
Wednesday, January 15, 2014
Monday, September 30, 2013
I really love this song from Siouxsie's Peepshow album from 1988. It's hard to find music with such a visual narrative evoked in it's lyrics. I was actually torn between this song and "Cities in Dust" from Tinderbox of 1985. This is why there's references to antiquity, like Anubis and the Sumerian Lamassu. But in the end, the idea of the allure gold, which looks terrible on my complexion btw, or precious metals (she mentions silver a lot in the song) was what seduced me visually. I switched to a 5-fingered, more proportionate style than my usual 4-fingered cartoon figures for this one. The preview is reduced to 20% of the original, which is vinyl album-frame sized.
Ornaments of Gold
26 September 2013
Ornaments of Gold (Minimal Version)
Monday, June 3, 2013
I've been reading T.E. Lawrence's translation of Homer's Odyssey and it's got me on a Greek mythology kick again. I'm not sure this meeting between Odysseus (Ulysses) and Poseidon (Neptune) is in the book, since I'm not finished with it. I was influenced really by the movie with Isabella Rossellini and Armand Assante that came out a few years ago. Although they never really showed Poseidon in that adaption. I started making the sea god with white hair, but I don't like Zeus or Poseidon as grandfathers. Proteus and Cronus seem more like gods that would be depicted as aged. Half way thru I considered making the god's skin scaly. But the ancient Greeks saw their gods as being a lot like people. I also wanted him titanic in size to reinforce this man-vs-nature contrast.
In Cuban Santeria, Oyá Yansa is an Orisha who guards the cemetery gates, presides over the winds, and is "Mother of the Spirits". She is commonly interpreted all over the net as a "dark gothic entity of death and gloom." When making my interpretation of Oya, I decided instead to go with descriptions from little old grandfatherly men who were initiated in secret ceremonies as priests of Oya DECADES ago. Oya, as "Yansa" or "Yansan", meaning "mother of nine" (nine being the number representing the dead in Santeria), is a dizzying, disorienting whirl of multi-color.
Her main color is a burgundy red-violet. On her waist is belt of nine banners, each a different color. While she is a warrior woman who is known to fight alongside the male gods (they say she might be seen with hairy legs or even facial hair and no make-up), she is not a massive juggernaut war-machine, but more of a shapely, athletic, acrobatic figure of ideal proportions. How else would the wind-Goddess tumble so nimbly through the air? As for any dreariness: apart from an alarming war cry on occasion, she is described by many as having a "cool"and friendly demeanor. But best of all, Oya is not the Orisha of death (or, Icu). That function is reserved for another surprisingly menacing entity.
I based her look on traditional attire used in ceremony by her priests in Cuban Santeria, save for her elevated crown, which is typically smaller. Brazilian Candomblé traditions have her dressed radically different, sometimes with loose hair and a skirt of many colored horizontal (vs. vertical) stripes. I also started with a smile but I felt the angry face adds to the commotion of the figures and shapes. I'm not trying to say my version is the definitive one. That's impossible. If you look at Nigerian figures identified as Oya, she's topless. People see the Gods and figures of myths and religions totally differently in their minds.
Friday, May 10, 2013
A New Hope
Acrylic on canvas
May 2nd 2013
For this year's May the Fourth festivities I made a 2 by 4 foot tall painting of one of my favorite movies of all time. An homage to posters, book and comic book covers, A New Hope is one of those "kitchen sink" pieces where you cram in as much as possible to tell a story.
I've decided to upload bigger previews of my Star Trek inspired art. Reduced to 25% of the print. My first image in a series that pays homage to the Star Trek universe but in my cartoon style. "The Sensor" is an interpretation of one of the more memorable scenes from 1979's Star Trek The Motion Picture in which Mr. Spock encounters a gigantic copy of the Deltan Ilia that overwhelms him as he attempts a mind meld with it. While most Star Trek fans count Wrath of Khan as their favorite from the original movies, I have a nostalgic place in my heart for this first movie. The effects are fantastic and there's enough camp and overacting in some scenes to keep you awake even through the long V'ger sequences.
Thursday, April 4, 2013
Thor, god of lightning and storms, rescues a child from a Jötunn (giant). The giants in Norse myth are beings that at times are at odds with the gods, even though both races sometimes marry and even have children together. Not all are monstrous in appearance and Thor himself is half giant. There is a fairly typical pattern in many cultures in which the thunder god is an ally of mortals. Anyhow, I didn't want Thor to strike the giant directly in this rendition but rather scare him off. While some of my very favorite movies are very violent and I'm not exactly the nicest person on Midgard, there's already enough over-exposure of violent images on TV and in contemporary art. Not to mention I do have pieces that actually deal with violence, so a bit of balance is needed.
As usual, the zoomed preview is reduced to 25% of the original print.
Nine long nights I hung from the windy tree
Pierced by my spear
A sacrifice to my own self
On that tree whose roots run
To places of which no man can tell
Starved I was of food or drink
Staring down I saw them and took them
I fell back
-Adapted from the Hávamál
To a painter or illustrator, nudity, referring to the true form we all have under our clothes, is normal, healthy and natural. This statement is not the at all the point of this piece. However I've decided to post this "censored" version for now due to certain social attitudes in the "free" society in which I live.
Anyhow, I would like to give many thanks to Freya Aswynn, who has been an enormous source of inspiration and motivation in the crafting of these cartoon gods and worlds.
Odin Spies the Runes
Sunday, March 31, 2013
While taking a break from science fiction themed images for the moment, I'm continuing with my cartoon-styled gods and goddesses from both ancient myths and present day world religions. "The Mother of Fishes", as some sources say is the translation for the name of the West African ocean goddess, Yemaya is my newest creation in this series. This particular deity has become increasingly popular around the world over but has her greatest following in Latin America and the Caribbean, mainly among the practitioners of Brazilian Candomblé and Umbanda and Cuban Lucumí (Santería). Yemaya is the embodiment of maternity, protector of children and is believed to dwell in the vast oceans that wrap around our planet and thus is also called "Mother of the World" by followers.
Mother of Fishes