Art of the Week: Multidimensional Flaming Serpent

What is it?

This is an acrylic painting on a 9×12 inch sheet of canvas pad. Depicted is a dragon/serpent that appears to be existing in multiple planes of reality. I wanted to give the dragon the appearance of being made of flame

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The environment of the background is very chaotic, I wanted to make it seem like the dragon was in between dimensions and that these planes of reality were simultaneously existing and protruding into each other. I made it look like machines, lights, and liquids were coalescing in a very odd way. I imagine that this plane of existence has different laws of physics from that which we inhabit.

All in all, it’s a painting of a multidimensional flaming serpent traveling through its strange environment of multiple, overlapping realities.

Why?

After focusing heavily on some larger projects for a month straight, I wanted to make something quick. The pieces I had been working on previously were very detail oriented and required a lot of concentration. This piece allowed me to let go of attention to detail and just allow my creativity to flow.

I didn’t start the painting with the intention of making a flaming serpent. I just went for it. Eventually I had a shape that resembled the body of a snake. When that idea came up, it rooted in my mind and by then I had my specific intention set.

After spending so long focusing on the little details for some of my larger projects, it was a relief to be able to paint this picture of a serpent transcending time and space. In a way, it made me feel like I was transcending my own creative limitations and that is always a remarkable feeling.

How? 

I didn’t care about making mistakes or creating something realistic or impressive. I started by painting the body of the serpent, then the head. When painting the body I used extremely thick and copious amounts of paint. This created a very interesting texture effect, making it appear as though the “scales” of the serpent were rising out of the painting.

After making the central shape of the body I added arms and claws, finally finishing by adding in the eyes after it was all dried. Drying took over a day, that’s a lot of time to dry for acrylics.

Now that the serpent was done I got to work on the background. I chose a bunch of random, fun looking colors and attacked. I didn’t care about it, I didn’t think about it, I just went for it. I had a flat background at one point and then I just started adding in random shapes of various colors. I really didn’t think too much about placement or shape, if it seemed like a cool shape to me I used it. I made lots of layers in this painting to exaggerate the illusion of being multidimensional.

In Conclusion

I had fun with this piece. I just let go and went for it. It’s of a similar style to my painting “Archaic Revival” and I think I will return to this style again soon.

Click here to see purchasing options for this piece. Note:  The top of the painting is slightly frayed, a slight imperfection that I think adds to the chaotic look of the painting. I accommodate by reducing the price of the original painting. This will not affect how the painting appears in a frame. 

Cityscapes: the Hardware of Cultural Supercomputers

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Throughout adolescence I have seen cityscapes as both interesting and beautiful. I am fascinated by the towering structures reaching for the sky and the lights illuminating them at night. When I see the reflection of city lights on water I am intrigued.

Travel, Fascination, and Wonder

I’ve spent a lot of my life moving around and living in different regions of the United States. I’ve seen quite a few cities and the ones that stick with me the most are those that stimulate feelings of wonder and visual excitement. Pictures of cityscapes and urban scenes give me a similar feeling. Buildings like the Sydney Opera House, Oklahoma’s BOK center, and other modern looking and uniquely designed buildings are visually exciting to me. That’s  because they invoke a sense of futuristic appeal which I reflect in my artwork again and again.

BOK Center in Tulsa, Oklahoma

I’m not sure exactly where this fascination came from, but as a younger child I remember enjoying a vivid imagination. That imagination is still mostly intact today, and I use it in my artwork. This imagination has also allowed me to see cities, in a sense, as centers of conglomerating, connected, and communicating information.

The Way I See Cityscapes, Roads, and Commuters

I see cityscapes sort of like motherboards within a computer. Each is a nexus of vast amounts of information that people are delivering back and forth as they commute. I see this as a sort of exchange of information, like electronic particles within a computer transferring information. This exchange and synthesis of information appears to happen in cities as well as computers.

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In this way, I also see the roads and sidewalks people use as electronic wires. I suppose that would make airplanes the metaphorical equivalent of WiFi.

Centers of Interraction

Some cities never sleep. Day and night people are commuting to their jobs, home, school and more to take part in this nexus of information in some way.

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Maybe they are going to have a conference where business information is exchanged, maybe they will exchange emotional information by meeting a friend downtown, or maybe they’re exchanging intellectually innovative information with a coworker.

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While in the city, commuters regularly receive and process information as people would in any culture, however; commuters can take the information with them and spread it from city to city, from city to suburban, and vice versa and so on. Each major city is like the motherboard of a computer and the suburbs and surrouding areas are like smaller parts of the computer.

Similarly, networks of computers and the information they process never sleep. All day and night the internet is being used by people going to and fro.

Cultural Hardware

It appears the perpetual and highly connected nature of society follows a model of communication and innovation similar to a machine Integrated within a network of intelligence. What this implies for humanity and its relationship with technology, I would guess, is a continuing trend for humans to make themselves more like machines and for humans to make machines more like themselves.
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WHY ART? Creating culture on the edge of a paradigm.

So…what’s so great about art? Why art?

My drawing of Socrates. He liked to ask why.

“Why art?” is a question I ask myself nearly everyday,  sometimes even  knowing I don’t have a definitive and practical answer.  My motives for creating art are so ambiguous that to try to sum it up into a few paragraphs or even a few pages is difficult for me.

The Evolution of Art

Art is a word that defines many things. The definition of art is being stretched day after day with the expansion of new technology  allowing for more time to create and  more things to create with.

 

What started as simple, humanoid  figures and abstract representations of animals on prehistoric cave walls turned into a complex spectrum of mediums, styles, and techniques. The human mind has allowed us to move beyond the realm of physical representation, allowing us to create the illusion of space on both traditional surfaces and television screens.  Countless television series, movies, video games and more are born. All of it is art.

Millions of people everyday interact with different forms of artwork from literature, to electronic media, to fine art and more. Hundreds of years ago this was not possible, not without the internet. Today, the internet connects artists to people, organizations, and other artists. This has allowed for tremendous progress, and not just for artists but for everybody.

Now we are getting to it. The question, “why“?

My drawing of Terence Mckenna.

Because art creates culture.  To paraphrase a brilliant mind, Terence Mckenna (see above), on the subject: culture is to the human mind what an operating system is to a computer. The culture is a collective of ideas, an effort to literally realize our collective dreams.

If you have an outdated operating system on your computer, you cannot do certain things that you could do on the newer models, unless you upgrade your operating system.The obsolete operating system cannot comprehend the processes of the newest models.  Likewise, the same goes for cultures.

Ideas Update your Culture/ Operating System

Remember how long it took for people to accept the now commonly accepted fact that the earth is a sphere that rotates around the sun and that we are not at the center of the universe? People were put to death for thinking this way in a culture which was not ready to accept the information because the dominant culture was outdated, obsolete, and could only accept information that supports itself.

This pattern  of revolutionary ideas followed by accusations of heresy  is repeated many times throughout history and has slowed scientific progress considerably for hundreds of years.

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However, once enough people started catching on to  and spreading the idea, it became accepted fact among the majority.  This is because the idea was pushed out into the culture like a virus into a computer. Only this virus is a good one because it allowed for an obsolete culture to be overtaken by a more efficient one.

I want my art to be like the good virus. I want to create visual ideas that could be used to help create the new  and improved culture, I would like to create art that may help open peoples’ minds to new possibilities and perspectives they may not have considered. I would also like to create and share art that shows the obsolete nature of the popular, dominant culture if possible.

I believe that art has the power to do this and much more, especially now that artists and millions of others have access to the internet. Ideas, memes, art, music, literature and more are all ways that culture can evolve and the internet is the nexus of all these great ideas.

An Example of When Art was Accelerating Cultural Understanding

Van Gogh’s “Starry Night” visually and simply depicts the concept of turbulent flow.

Van Gogh’s “Starry Night” was not just a magnificent painting but also a visual depiction of the concept of turbulent flow in fluid dynamics.

Gogh’s painting makes it easy for people to understand the concept simply by looking at the swirling patterns, yet it took mathematicians and physicians nearly 60 years to come to a decent explanation of the concept. It’s not because mathematicians and physicians are inferior, of course. It’s because art simply allows us to get a perspective of this particular concept in a more intelligible way than those fields.

Most everyday people would not understand the mathematical expressions for this concept if they saw them, but just about anyone can look at Gogh’s painting and see the concept plainly.

Why Else? To Inspire Contemplation, Creation, Communication, and Expression

It’s part of my mission to inspire as many people as I can to want to be an inspiration to even more. I want to create a chain reaction of creation and inspiration and I believe we all can play a part of this, even people who do not consider themselves creative.

I want to get people talking about important things. Things like the status of the dominant culture and things like our effect on the environment and surrounding cultures. I want like minded people to be able to connect through conversation about these things, I want people who may have differing perspectives on life to communicate and share their ideas .

Art Articulates the Ineffable and Connects People

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“Holistic Consciousness” Acrylic on canvas pad.

Art turns thoughts and feelings into an object or a book or a performance. Art materializes the Immaterial. Art is a way of showing people that our ideas, feelings, concepts and more can be articulated and shared with each other. Art is a way of unifying people and encouraging progress if the context of the artwork suggests it.

Conclusion

I look forward to forging a new paradigm with the rest of humanity as we move towards the future. With art, the internet, and the innovation of science and technology I believe humans can achieve many things once thought impossible by an obsolete culture in a fading paradigm.

The Process of Creating “Iridescent Canyons of Epistemological Boundary Dissolvers”

Contrasted by a fairly simple background, this piece delivers detail in the foreground as well as the middleground. The end result is only a shadow of all the work that was put into creating this piece, and I am going to guide you through how I did so in this article.

Making the Outline

First, the outline is created using a simple graphite pencil and eraser. This is arguably the most crucial step. Fortunately, it is also the most forgiving part of the process.

I started by first creating the horizon, which gave me a sense of direction in creating my composition. I then created the outline of the giant mushrooms and added the outline of a few big mountains (which you see as the dark blue outlines in the mountains of the finished product). I then created a simple outline of the clouds.

I take a while to review the outline, making sure it’s clear to the viewer what’s going on. The outline is the foundation of the rest of the drawing. If my outline is crappy and I don’t fix it a myriad of problems can arise later in the process.
Pushing the Creative Boundary 

If the idea of mushrooms the size of Mt. Everest towering over the surrounding mountains isn’t creative enough for you, wait, because there’s more!

I decide to give the mushrooms the appearance of emanating energy, choosing the form of a blue electricity. I also decide I’m going to make the mountains look very colorful and try to create the illusion of iridescence as well as add a lot more detail. Lastly I decide to make the sky look like its attached to the clouds as if the sky and clouds were some kind of technological mechanism.  I erase some of the graphite surrounding my mushroom outline, this allows space for the electric looking effect. I add in the blue electricity, color in the sky, and do a little of the shading on the mushroom caps to keep color from the mountains I’m going to shade later from overlapping onto the caps. What I have at this point looks like this:

Coloring the Opal Mountains 

I decide the on my color scheme for the mountains and get to work. This part took the longest. All the outline had to be erased and replaced with a colored pencil outline. This new outline was also multicolored and I blended the colors red, yellow, green, and blue together to create it. I decide to fill the mountains with the blue color.

I work thoroughly, adding touches of red and yellow in the blue shading for an added effect.

Eventually, I finish coloring the mountains.

Now for the final bit, shading the mushrooms. I just darken spots up a bit, even adding a bit of graphite to the stem of the shrooms. Yum.

Here are some detail shots of the final product:

Thanks for reading!

Mechanistic Mandala: A Mixed Media Watercolor Painting

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Click for Store:http://goo.gl/tI39zB

This is my first major watercolor painting. I got the idea from traditional mandalas, where patterns are repeated around a circle. I took the idea and thought “why not make a three dimensional mandala?” I did just that, adding my style of futuristic, geometric, and colorful imagery to the 3-D mandala.
The Process
I made this piece using watercolors on a rather large sheet of watercolor paper. I started with a graphite sketch, traced it with ink, and then painted in between the lines. I used mostly hard edges mixed with a few curves. I tried to be as accurate as possible with the ink and watercolor because they are not very forgiving mediums.
For the painting, I had to use many layers of watered down watercolor. This was because I used a lot of gradation in this piece. I picked out opposite colors (blue & orange, yellow & violet). This made for a good deal of contrast, making the details really pop out. In person, this large piece cannot go unnoticed. It seems to have a neon or glowing effect to it, probably from the intensity of the pigments and color choices as well as placement.
Because this was based off a mandala, I tried to make it symmetrical. When I made an adjustment on one part of the painting I had to make sure to repeat it as accurately as possible around the rest of the painting. This is what makes it a mandala, a repetition of patterns that starts from the center of the painting and extends to the edges of the paper.
Why Did I Make This?
I made this piece primarily because it seemed like an interesting experiment as I created it. I thought it would be a good piece for exploring use of space, highly contrasting colors, symmetrical appearance, and geometric shapes.
I didn’t know what the final product would look like when I began working on it. It wasn’t until I had completed the sketch that I had an idea of how it would appear. The more I worked on this piece the more interesting it became.
Conclusion
I had a great time making this piece and I am quite pleased with the final product. The best part about making it was watching it come alive as I applied colors to the ink outline. I would love to make another painting like this again using the same or a similar process. The final product really captures your eye with glowing colors and symmetric aesthetics.

Art that predicts the future, Mushrooms that eat PLASTIC, and sunflower/hemp plants that absorb radiation

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“Holistic Consciousness” Acrylics on canvas paper

Something’s wrong with the world and nature wants to help.

It is clear that there is something very wrong with the way that humans run (or attempt to run) the world. Landfills, wars, pollution of all forms, toxic ingredients in our food, and deposits of plastic materials littering the planet are only barely scratching the surface of the extent to which humans have abused nature and themselves consequentially and directly.

But there are always ways to fix things and nature is an extremely adaptable entity. Our species, being a product of nature is a great example of this. Regardless of our collective ignorance and hesitance to fix these issues, it seems that nature can play a part in reversing the damage we have done to this planet.

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Fungus that can safely break down plastic

Fungus that literally eats plastic was found in Ecuador. Researchers have also been able to isolate the enzymes that safely break down the plastic. Theoretically, people will be able to use either (or possibly both) the fungus itself or the enzymes the fungus produces to eliminate the threats of landfill and plastic pollution.

The fungus is very resilient and even survives without the presence of oxygen on plastic alone. It’s spores, like the spores of psilocybin and countless other fungi strain, could survive in deep space and even colonize the galaxy if let loose thanks to their resistance to radiation and ability to breakdown compounds that most other organisms would never be able to make use of.

See and article about this here and the report to the scientific study here.

Relevant artwork

IMG_1931.JPG My artwork seem to knew this was happening before even I did! Coincidence or artistic vision, it’s up to you how you look at it. I made this prior to coming across the above article. that strikes me as predictive having made it before ever hearing about this. It’s an older piece that I call “Ironic”. I used watercolors on paper.

More plants and mushrooms that could help save the world 

It appears that both hemp and sunflowers could be used to absorb radiation. That’s why it’s nice to hear that sunflowers are growing near Fukishima, the nuclear reactor plant in Japan that has been spewing horribly toxic, radioactive waste into the ocean at increasingly rapid rates for years. It also nice to hear that people are considering growing hemp near the plant to absorb the radiation as well as hemp has similar properties in absorbing radiation. Hemp appears particularly effective a this.

You can read more about plants that absorb radiation, toxins and heavy metals here.

Radiation from Fukushima is a serious threat not just to the ocean and Japan, but the entire world. The leaked toxins are on their way to the west coast of America now. This will affect fish in the very large space of ocean between Japan and California, causing contamination. When the radiation hits the west coast it will be absorbed in the agriculture which will then be shipped around the world along with the fish. Radiation will travel up the food chain and we will end up absorbing it if we don’t do something about it.

Read more about the travel of toxins from Japan here

Conclusion

It seems that nature is continually presenting us with plants that have the best intentions of the life on earth and it’s environment in mind. That includes fungus that absorbs plastic and flowers that absorb radiation.

I found it fascinating and interesting that my piece “Ironic” unintentionally predicted something similar to this fungus that eats plastic.

What do you think? Can nature help humans save the world? Is the world a creation of art or is art a creation of the world? Share your opinion by commenting!

The Development of Creativity: Beginning Artwork

This post is about artwork I made when I was even more of a total noob. I think it’s interesting to see how creativity and skill develop overtime and with practice, especially with artistic things like art, music, writing, and more. img-505171025-0007

 

This piece is called “Transcendental Vision” It was one of my first pieces where I felt almost euphoric about the creativity I was releasing. The eye represents a peek into another world of imagination. I imagined a world of robotic, living things. This is what happened.

This piece was a milestone for me. Looking back at it now I can see so many imperfections with it, but I recognize it as a necessary point of progression. I used a similar style to create this piece almost a year later.

Max-Art-2

See how the geometry, line work, and even some of the colors carried over? It amazes me that I made such a leap- I would never have imagined making something like this a year down the road when I was painting the first image in this post.

Here’s another older piece. One of my first watercolor paintings. Read an article about this mixed media piece here.

Mixed media: watercolor on wax-dipped rice paper,
Mixed media: watercolor on wax-dipped rice paper,

I had to do a bunch of stuff to make this mixed media piece. It wasn’t easy! Look how I drew my flowers a year later though!

Oil Pastels on paper
Oil Pastels on paper
Oil Pastels on paper
Oil Pastels on paper

When I was younger I used to draw lots of futuristic cities, design futuristic weapons and vehicles, and draw different kind of aliens and robots. In other words, I was a total nerd, but I can see how that carried on to some of my later work.

Here’s some of my work from early childhood. Unfortunately I havent found any early drawings with the sci fi themes I mentioned. I dont know exactly how old i was but on the back of these pieces it says kindergarten through 3rd grade. IMG_1906.JPG

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