Wednesday, 20 November 2013

As Above, So Below



Oh, hello! Time to tell you a bit about Constellation and Moonmoth
Let's get conceptual up in here! Okay, that was lame, I am not going to write this post like a Brooklyn-based rapper from the 90's, because thats no fun for anyone. except me. Because then I could shamelessly use terms like 'what the hizzle', Wonder, no! This blog is no place for such nonsense. Let us proceed in a dignified manner.


Symbolism of opposition, or themes of binary opposites, are methods used by humankind to attempt to define abstract concepts such as life and death, positive and negative, love and hatred etc. These abstract concepts are compared and contrasted against each other so that they can be better understood, and have been the inspiration for many myths, as well as serving as the inspiration for my illustrations. As seen with myths and folktales, visual metaphor in the form of symbolism is also incorporated into the imagery above, thereby constructing a 'visual myth'. 

Giving these dichotomies of our existence material form is a conceptual strategy I persue in many of my illustrations. Both Moonmoth and it's sister illustration, Constellation, explore the ineffable concepts of death and the afterlife by contrasting dualities of life and death, night and day, and Animus and Anima, as myths are said to do.  Animal symbolism is used in both images to portray a psychopomp (hee!), which in Greek mythology refers to a guide for souls on their journey to the place for the dead. According to many traditions, animal psychopomps frequently occur as a winged creature such as a bird or butterfly, hence the incorporation of moths in these pictures. As you may know by now, I am a great lover of critters, but generally tend to steer clear of insects. I am, however, quite fascinated by moths. I love that they are nocturnal creatures, only coming out at night, yet so drawn to light. And their  inherently self-destructive nature. They seem so contradictory, mysterious and lovely, and I'm quite sure that they will continue cropping up in my work. 

The originals are hand drawn on Fabriano, and I've embossed the sun and moon in Constellation, as well as the figure on the right in Moonmoth. I've used a technique known as chine colle for the moths, and there was also a little watercolour used in Moonmoth to represent the dark moth-shaped shadow at the bottom of the image. Both illustrations translate beautifully into giclee prints and are available for purchase.

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