This weeks Kick About over on Red’s Kingdom is a spooky one! The words read as follows “listen to them them, children of the night. What music they make” adopted from Dracula by Bram Stoker (1897) – it is no wonder the offerings from artists of all mediums took a more sinister turn. With my own submission I decided to paint over photography from a mystifying land in rural Ireland – the same forest that I recollected upon with this earlier post from last year. Inspired by the stagnant stillness of nature in the night when the ghouls and ghosts come out to play… and also boisterous teenagers. Where there are no street lights and only the little tufts of smoke from chimney spouts signify life. The thick fog and heavy mist hiding and shielding much of what you should see, like a visceral view of brain fog. But still, in that forest, our imaginations would always be lit ablaze. Some would say we were the children of the night.
When reading about Sheila Legge’s inspiration behind her walking real life surrealist exhibition for this weeks Kick About and how she was so inspired by the paintings of Dalí, I decided to create some Dalí-esque dream-like landscapes while paying homage to Legge’s face full of flowers. The female models were downloaded and imported into Maya where on their heads I glued an abundance of multicoloured flowers- tiger Lilly’s, Dahlia’s, Delphinium’s, African Lilly’s and Daisy’s. Combined with a quick and dirty rig and skin of the figures as well as some mountains in the background to complete the scene and move the figures to my every whim. The rig on the figure on the left of the above image messed up and I loved how fluid and melty the resulting movements turned out – I tried to replicate this mistake with the other rigs but my efforts did not gratify, It was one of those moments where a mistake tuned out to be a blessing but could not be recreated.
This prompt also reminded me of one of my favourite films – Annihilation (2018). In particular when the team walk across a baron land called “The Shimmer” where their bodies start to turn into plant matter. It is a strange and beautiful film that left a lasting impression on me, much in the same respect that surrealist paintings do.
This weeks Kick About prompt is The Song of Love by Giorgio de Chirico (1914) and with it the offerings from artists around the globe ranging from a multitude of mediums to marvel at!
in regards to my own response I have been having wildly vivid dreams as of late, the kind of dreams where you wake up in the middle of the night and need to write them down, the kind you remember so clearly when you get out of bed in the morning, the kind where you try to decipher their meaning to see if its some sort of cosmic message within your unconscious psyche that needs to be brought to fruition.
These dreams feel as though they relate to the collective phenomena, where people at the start of lockdown had extremely vivid dreams, probably in relation to their unconscious being so fired up because their everyday lives felt like Groundhog Day, something I still feel like I can relate too.
Surrealism, as an art form, is cemented in the unconscious, with surrealist painters adopting many techniques to unlock the power within their unconscious, so that it translates through to their art, including many being influenced by allusive dreams. With this in mind, and with this week’s The Song of love prompt, I have created a landscape of some of the symbols I have recently seen in one dream that has had a lasting effect..
Another kick about is over at Reds Kingdom with a smorgasbord of offerings from artists across the globe. I put forward this prompt over at Reds Kingdom as Calvino’s Invisible Cities is something that has always inspired me, it was my first digital painting project of my first year at Computer Animation Arts and with I started to quickly fall in love with digital painting and because of that it’s one of my favourite creative practices.
With digital painting I do find that their is a “shite zone” where things look like shite for a time before some golden nugget clicks, Whenever I am very deep In the shite zone I remember back to the invisible cities project and just how curious I was about the vast possibilities that photoshop has when it comes to digital painting. I found myself trying every tool within photoshop to see what it did and because of that I wasn’t worrying about the final outcome but enjoying the process and visualising the possibilities as they started to materialise. I always try to mimic that feeling with everything I do nowadays so that an accident or just mucking about with something can leave something interesting.
With this prompt Calvino describes a city made out of strings – “In Ersilia, to establish the relationships that sustain the city’s life, the inhabitants stretch strings from the corners of the houses, white or black or grey or black-and-white according to whether they mark a relationship of blood, of trade, authority, agency. When the strings become so numerous that you can no longer pass among them, the inhabitants leave: the houses dismantled; only the strings and their supports remain”
I originally was thinking about doing a piece of concept art or traditional art but I was itching to do something a bit more abstract and a bit uncanny. The Uncanny is always something I’ve wanted to take a proper bash at, inspired a good few kick about’s ago where I went into detail about the eerie nature plumbing from my Dad’s basement and in that basement Dolls inhabited the darkness along with the spiders and the pungent dust and how it all horrified me – in the best way; remembering that I decided this kick about was the one for such imagery.
The film is currently still ongoing, I am thoroughly enjoying doing something aesthetically completely different to anything I have ever done before and also learning the technical elements to achieve the look of the film, which aren’t that technical and a bonus! The whole film is rendered with Maya software which is glorious because it is rendering quickly and means that it doesn’t take long to see the results, I choose this option for that reason and also because Maya software renders with the moody lighting I was after. Until the film is ready to be released I have attached some of the renders from the film below.
I’ve missed the realm of blogging and all the inspiration and community driven involvement that it encompasses so I’ve decided to jump back in! While WordPress feels like a bit of eye sore at the moment (I’m sure I will understand all it’s bells and whistles eventually…) I want share the content that I’ve been up to in these bizarre times.
I thought I would kick off my new blog with a Kick About post. The kick about is a fortnightly event over at Reds-Kingdom created by friend Phil Gomm where artists from all around the world create something fuelled by a prompt. This week was the prompt of the Trappest -1e, a planet that is believed to be capable of harbouring life! Another fun prompt as always and anyone wanting to be involved in the shenanigans can do so, we would love to have you on board as a fellow Kick Abouter! You can have a gawk at the full offerings of creations by visiting this link
With this piece for this weeks Kick About I was really inspired inspired by Olafur Eliasson, in particular his exhibition – The Weather Project. I imagine a planet vibrating with orange hues against cool tones, with piercing shadows, and the ground of this planet cracking and buckling.
I initially used Maya by cracking open a simple plane and moving the segments about, then did some renders using a directional light to get some shadows and I simply painted over the render in Photoshop to get some nice contrast and paint that blazing orange against dark chiaroscuro and warming yellow sphere.