A lack in artistic superfocus

It’s a goal of mine to produce more artwork. I continuously peruse the internet and see amazing pieces and get quite envious that I am not creating amazing artwork. Granted, I think my designs are great for what they are and for the conservative company I design for, but they aren’t what I see everywhere else. I’m the type of designer that gets lost clicking on links on twitter to all the “20 amazing…” “Inspiration of the day…” and whatnot. I click from link to link to link sinking further and further into my chair of inadequacy. I literally can spend hours just checking out other people’s stuff and feeling like the world’s worst designer since I am not as accomplished, and I don’t produce as much work and as much quality work as everyone else.

 

And let me tell you, I’ve been doing this for years.

 

I had a birthday a couple of weeks ago, and I do as I always do and reflected and meditated on the current state of my life. And obviously I was less than impressed with as much time as I waste in a day. I was quite disgusted in fact. So I decided that I would stop spending so much time looking at others’ work and start creating my own. Even if it’s crap to begin with…who cares? At least I am creating and trying to grow my skills instead of just wishing I was.

 

I was super stoked for the next week and all I was going to accomplish. And then that week happened, and I was decently busy at work and home and did absolutely nothing. I had so many projects planned for this weekend and nearly none of them happened. My apartment was so hot I could barely stay there let alone be productive. Not a great excuse. I know. But at the time it made perfect sense. The heat yanked all my energy from me and placed me in a dreary haze.

I was going to bring in an oil pastel and photoshop the crap out of it.

So today was going to be the day! I brought a picture of an oil pastel I had done last month thinking I could photoshop the crap out of it. And I actually started it! I was super impressed with myself. And then I had some work to do and then I saw all these amazing links on Twitter I just had to click on and articles to read and suddenly, I was back into the same old routine. And worse, I decided to blog about it instead of just opening photoshop back up and continuing to work on it. I think I am ultimately still afraid of producing the crap, even though I know I shouldn’t care. One of the articles my lack of focus brought me to was on Tiny Buddha. And I realized, that in a way, I was clinging to the want of perfection the first time I produced something. Ultimately, I lack patience and focus and just want to be good right away. It sounds elitist, really. To want to be instantly good without putting the time and dedication into it. It’s a bit humiliating to admit that, but it’s true. I’m lazy and want to be good…now. I want to produce epic pieces of work and I’m not. Mainly because I am not even trying. It does me absolutely no good to bookmark a ton of tutorials if I’m not going to do them. If I’m going to cling to the fear and the lack of focus that prevents me from trying them. It’s literally insane to expect myself to get better without even practicing or putting time into my art.

 

And while I was still bouncing around the internet, I came across this article. And I was blown away by the obvious and yet somewhat elusive idea of focus. I mean, I do think Satya speaks to more than just mental focus, although that is part of it. But an energetic focus…your entire self being focused.

Superfocus is that rare state of being, in which whatever you focus your attention on achieving gets completed with near effortlessness. In the example of writing, as in creating this post, it’s as if a divine essence is channeled through you, and the output flows easily and without resistance. ~ Satya

I’ve never been that focused before. Well, maybe I have but lacked the awareness to bring it to the forefront of my memories right now. And you know, being a  yogi teachers always talk about setting your intentions and all that. And I normally can’t even focus on one idea so end up without one. Come to think of it, that should be another goal of mine, to set intentions in my yoga classes so aid me in setting life intentions. Setting intentions/focus’s during meditation instead of just trying to quiet my mind and focus on the nature sounds I downloaded to my iPhone. At any rate, to be a channel to the divine…well that just sounds blissful. If I can become that, me and my ego don’t even matter. If I can superfocus, then I can create.

 

So now my focus is superfocus…hopefully by the end of the week something will have come from the oil pastel I want to photoshop. And hopefully I’ll start creating epic work that inspire other people.

 

Cheers!

Metal Monday Music album covers

It’s been a while since I posted some metal album covers on here. But since I just bought a new 160gb iPod and am in the process of quality checking my music, I thought I would do another album post. I am finally to the ‘B’s’ in accumulating proper album covers, so this will be a long process for me. But I am looking forward to it.

Vader XXV

 

Moonspell: Under Satanae

 

Nightwish: Once

 

My Dying Bride: For Lies I Sire

 

 

Artistic burst of emotion

Emotions. Some people have no problem dealing with them, processing them. Moving on, accepting that they are emotional beings. Me, I admit I struggle a bit. I grew up being called too sensitive and that I needed to stop being so sensitive. I was so young that I didn’t really know what to do with those comments or how to use my sensitivity in a beneficial way.  Or at least to find a cathartic release. That’s what art is turning into, though fear some times inhibits my ability to successfully paint my emotions and ground my emotions into a canvas. But I am working on it. Working on screaming my emotions visually.

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Being free with art

It’s amazing the different approaches I take with art. Digitally I rely on Ctrl+Z and know that nothing is permanent. I can always erase something, do something over, try something and if I don’t like it I can easily change it. I get crazy and try so many different techniques. Basically, I don’t hold back.

Painting has been different though. I have trepidation when painting. I don’t want to be wasteful on canvas and paint so I want the piece to be good. I am constrained and small and tentative. I hesitate because I am afraid to make a mistake that I can’t fix. There is no Ctrl+Z in painting.

I was just working on a painting and someone pointed all this out to me. The painting was small and contained. Tempered by fear, no reflecting my true emotions at all.

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He said there was no overlapping, no integration, no connection of any of the elements. And he was right. I was concerned about all the wrong things: staying in he lines, not wasting paint, trying to make a perfect line. All things that were taking away from the true nature of my self. With digital art I hardly even think about those things and am rarely constrained. So I took a deep breath and started to paint outside of the lines I had made for myself. Moved outside of my own box.

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I started overlapping elements. Tried to be free with my brush. Tried to trust my first instinct. To flow like the water element I am. And at the end, while I was considering the differences between painting and digital art, it occurred to me one of my favorite things to include in my digital art is splatters. Splatters. I kind of chuckled to myself, got some paint on my fingers and tentatively flicked. By the time I was done I understood a bit more Pollocks joy in splattering paint on a canvas.

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leviathan Graphic Art

I’ve been experimenting with digital art, trying to “paint” in photoshop and whatnot. Below is my current piece. It’s a work in progress, but I thought I would throw it out there anyway, just to see what people think of the direction. My current thoughts are that it may be a bit too surreal. But I’m not sure if that is a bad thing yet. I mean, it’s a mythical creature so I’m certainly not going for photo realism here. But maybe the colors are a bit too vibrant and need to be toned down just a bit. Oh, and I didn’t draw it. Kevin Mino did. You can find more of his work here. Any thoughts on this piece?

 

Digital Art: Leviathan

Trying Tuesday: Musical Graphic Image

I am playing around with this image currently of the guitar player in Gritt Hitter. I like the colors, the textures and the words…not sure if it is completely cohesive yet. Thoughts?

Arch of Gritt Hitter

 

So I changed up the image a bit: lightened up the background changed the color of some of the words…Here’s the new image:

Arch of Gritt Hitter

Metal Album Monday: 05/23/11

There are so many brilliant artists out there designing album artwork. It’s an arena I would love to get into and as I hone my digital artist skills I look to what I love for inspiration and encouragement.

Monstrocity: Spiritual Apocalypse
Artwork done by: Conquest Music

Since this last Saturday was supposed to be the apocalypse and the world was supposed to be consumed by zombies by now, I thought beginning with Monstrocity’s Spiritual Apocalypse would be a great start. But where do you begin with such an image? The colors? The blend of darks and lights really enhances the piece, drawing you in to the brilliance flamed at the head of the seated man, perhaps at the Sahasrara Charkra, or the sun at the center of the universe, maybe indicating simply the mind on fire, though the zen meditative posture of the man, an archetypal image representing the spiritual and the enlightened, may suggest that perhaps he is at piece and that the head is burning with the collective connection of the divine. The yellow surrounding the archetypal zen man is either is aura, or the burning off of spirituality.  The texture of the piece perhaps suggests the latter. Great texture by the way. Seems like the artist really looked at the details to make sure that the texture blended well and that the shadows were correct. Really though, it’s the solar system that really makes this piece for me. A zen man is a basic archetype, the flaming head is pretty cool, but placing those elements within the context of a perspective of the solar system is what I am really digging on.

Monstrocity: Spiritual Apocalypse
Monstrocity: Spiritual Apocalypse album artwork

 

Echoes of Eternity: As Shadows Burn
Artist: unsure

An alternative and less zen experience of the merging of fire and humanity. In the Monstrocity artwork, the fire seemed to be content and connecting, in this album cover, it is destructive. The image seems to be superimposed on a leaf texture that seems to want to balance out the flames. I’m not quite sure if I think it is successful, but I understand why it was placed there. The quietness of the leaf doesn’t seem to actually balance the sparks from the flame, but then, that says something in and of itself, so there could be some artistic intent in that realm. additionally, the seemingly stone face is flanked by two natural elements.  Something I found interesting about this piece too, is that the right side of the face seems to suggest that the eye had been crying and it was the salt from the tears that had burned off the epidermis flesh. The colors are great, typical, but seem to work.

Echoes of Eternity: As Shadows Burn
Echoes of Eternity: As Shadows Burn album cover

Moonspell: Night Eternal
Artwork by Seth Siro Anton

Another archetype: the divine Mary. Hands held as if holding a baby, sitting on a suggested throne, cloaked in the purity of white robes and dress. The deviation of the typical image of Mary begins with the obvious absence of a baby, a head dress of skulls and dead flowers. and a chest plate that has a spine and organs imprinted on it. What is she thinking? Does she look sad? Empty? Or matter of fact that she offered her son to the world and yet it is Satan’s realm? The details on the actual album art are much more in depth and intriguing, here it appears much more subtle and grey, though the overall tone is bleak. Love this artwork.

Moonspell: Night Eternal
Moonspell: Night Eternal album cover

 

Obituary: Cause of Death
Artwork done by Michael Whelan

Whelan is an amazing artist of imaginative realism and an influence in album cover art. He has done work for Selpultura, Soulfly, Cirith Ungol and this amazing piece of work for Obituary. “The cover art of this album was used in an H.P. Lovecraft collection, Bloodcurdling Tales of Horror and the Macabre, and part of it was used in The Tomb and The Doom That Came to Sarnath paperbacks.” (wikipedia). The intensity of this piece leaves me breathless. The glaring use of reds combined with the subtle white of the web and skulls provides a great dynamic. The use of the eye with the moon lit in the background is fierce and haunting. The tree based in skulls, consumed by wailing distorted faces reflects the terror of the web-encased hanging soul. Bloody Brilliant.

Obituary: Cause of Death
Obituary: Cause of Death album artwork

 

Would love you hear your  thoughts on the artwork!

Metal album artwork Monday

It’s Monday and time to share a few albums that to me have amazing artwork. And the following paragraphs are simply my own personal interpretations of the pieces, an apperceptive soliloquy if you will. They have no bearing on the band or the artist, just me as a fan and appreciator of beautiful things and good music.

 

Morbid Angel: Illud Divinum Insanus
Artwork by Gustavo Sazes

The title suggests insanity. The reds and yellows of the image suggest something primal and necessary for survival. In yogic terms, they refer to the first two chakras that represent basic survival and creativity/sexuality. One may assume that it’s the need for a self-identity, a self-awareness of a sane individual. Most of us struggle at one point in time about who we are, what defines us…and faith/belief/religion/spirituality is included in that. But perhaps this imagery is even larger than the self, and may be of a divine insane. The iconic imagery of the pentagram on the (3) hands and the waxing Pagan moon at the center suggest something more religious. The face is masked and perhaps it’s a mask of ignorance, or denial. Or even confusion. Tyler Durden of Fight Club and Achilles of Troy suggest that the gods are jealous of humans. That each moment for us is special, because it could be our last. Because we can do things they can’t…fuck, for example. Maybe this mirrors humanities confusion on the face of the divine. We don’t know what the divine actually looks like, and so it is masked. But the downward turn of the head suggests a reverence perhaps, or perhaps a wonder at human hands and the possibilities. The artist does a fantastic job bringing together all of these ideas and with precision fuses the elements together to present us with an interesting piece that can be looked out for hours.

Morbid Angel's album cover
Morbid Angel's album cover

Dissection: Maha Kali
Artwork by “unsure”

I can’t seem to find who originated this artwork and for this I apologize. If you happen to know, please comment and I will give appropriate credit. This album has only two songs and is associated with Kali, the Hindu goddess associated with eternal energy. Kali means “the black one” and is she who destroys, hence the skulls. She was the killer of demons, a fierce feminine force, bathed in blood red. This is a quality representation of her and is a reminder of the balance of energies…that females can also be strong and dominating. The artist does a great job capturing the energy and force behind Kali, and doesn’t seem afraid to exploit her demonic side. And for Dissection to embody her on this album: sic.

Dissection album cover
Dissection album cover

Enthroned: Pentagrammation
Artwork done by Nornagest & Neraath (of Enthroned)

A seemingly ghostly existence in a humble prayer pose. An anonymous individual on their knees. Blind Faith? A dying religious belief? The fading colors and feathery bleeds of the individual are tombstone in quality. I get the feeling of a quiet reserve praying to an unknown. Circles encompass the background, big and small, maybe they’re just images, maybe they denote the circuitous nature of existence. Birth. Life. Death. Birth. Life. Death. The kneeling figure is clearly highlighted and the focus of it, at the middle of the pentagram.  To the Sumerian’s, the pentagram may have meant pitfall and to the Babylonian’s may have had astrological meanings. Pythagoreans saw the pentagram as a mathematical perfect and Chinese Wu Xing saw it as representing the five elements. In the context of Enthroned, perhaps it means them all, and that they all encompass humanity. The idea and image is haunting. The artistic execution of the piece is great. The merging of the human image with the background is seamless and the color blends well. I appreciate the implied vignette as well. It compliments the circles and reinforces the focus on the praying, veiled, human.

Enthroned album cover
Enthroned album cover

Dimmu Borgir: Abrahadabra
Artwork by Joachim Luetke

“I will create as I speak” ~ Aleister Crowley. This is an intriguing merge of Crowley and H.P. Lovecraft. Bleak and post-industrial, the hollowed eyes and mouth suggest the unseeing and the unheard. Perhaps we are gods robots, set blindly on this earth to function without direction and without support. Being watched with indifference until our world explodes. The industrial nature eradicates the organic and replaces it with the mechanical, maybe we are becoming our own Frankensteins. Blue is the throat Chakra in yogic philosophy. The chakra of expression. The stillness and futile nature of the mouth makes me believe that we are unheard, silenced, perhaps from a religious or political standpoint. The artist does a great job of blending a variety of elements together, and the details of this piece make it a great success.

Dimmu Borgir album cover
Dimmu Borgir album cover

These are just a few that I love. Check back next Monday for the next Metal-album artwork Monday!

Exploring decay

I’m not really sure where I am headed with this image. I know it’s not really how you are supposed to start out a new project. I just know that I wanted to explore decay. The decay of a perception of someone, the lack of understanding of someone’s interior, so only the observation of the exterior makes sense. But since the two are not the same, decay of a relationship can occur. I don’t know if any of that makes sense, but here is the start of my digital exploration. It’s just the beginning…