Sequenti Die Aurora Apparente, Altis Vocibus Baphometh Invocaverunt

It's been too long, and I've admittedly not been working as hard or as quickly as a should be. But I'm about to really buckle down to try to finish a big (literally large) project so that I can have a good chunk of October to myself for Halloween things (turnip and pumpkin carving, costume and mask making, visiting creepy attractions).

So the thing I'm working on right now is actually a movie poster for someone's AFI student thesis film. It's a short film called Narcocorrido and the director came to me interested in using Santa Muerte imagery for the poster and since that's something I'm interested in I said yes. The process of designing and drawing this has been longer than my usual personal process since it involves a lot of back and forth and I'm still working on the final drawing which is large and involved but here's a little chunk of it:
I'm hoping to have this inked and to start painting it by this weekend since there's a lot of detail and the piece is so big. I'll probably have more insight on this later but it's always strange for me to work with Catholic imagery, having been raised Catholic and probably having the most ingrained understanding of this particular kind of symbolism and yet having no actual personal connection to it (as well as a great deal of disdain for the Catholic church). I kind of want to work with it more since I don't think it's any less strange or interesting than any other belief system (and in many cases the symbolism and practice is adapted from earlier pagan tradition) and leaving it out only serves to support the idea that Western Christianity is somehow a religious standard against which everything else is deemed "exotic", strange or superstitious. I also admittedly love Medieval art which is pretty much ALL religious because it's grim and gory in a disarmingly ornate and colorful way.

I also finished the thing I was working on for my trade with david cook. Probably the things I get the most feedback from are the series of upside down crosses I did last summer (I don't flatter myself, I know it's the shape) and he was interested in them so I broke out the unused crosses I still had around and made another. While the other ones were more a play on inverted icons and malevolent spirits this one was just me inventing a summoned demon because I was reading the Grimorium Verum at the time.
I reused some things that worked well in the previous pieces (the horns and clouds) since it's such a difficult shape to work with. Like I mentioned before I like weird and colorful demons in medieval art so I stuck with that, and added the little flame of enlightenment from the Sabbatic Goat.

I finished that book Raising Hell: a Concise History of the Black Arts- and Those Who Dared To Practice Them which referenced the Grimorium Verum a lot. I remembered I had a copy I hadn't read yet and plowed through it. Necromancy and the summoning of demons is strange because the whole thing is so utterly Christian and relies on a belief in god to control "dark forces" despite how "satanic" it's generally believed to be probably because it was outlawed by the church. Most of the motivations are pretty hilariously earthly. A lot of them deal with finding money, controlling women (f.u. wizard), telling the future, traveling swiftly etc. Related to the Grimorium Verum, I bought this book Grimoires: A History of Magic Books a while ago and haven't read very far into it yet but the actual history of these books is pretty fascinating and full of intrigue, hoaxes and weirdness.

Back to trading, if you haven't seen David's work you should. It's intricate colorful, weird (mildly pornographic), and entirely hand done:
I also recently went to NY to meet up with Tamara and we did a trade and I got to walk away with this:
which I've had my eye on for a while now. Tamara is a super talented (printer, painter and tattoo artist) and extremely motivated lady and it was awesome getting to sit around drinking coffee and talking about art and hard work with her! Check out her stuff!

Anyway, if you live in Philly and you see me wandering the streets in the next few weeks yukking it up and chugging coffee smack me in the head and remind me to get back to work already. 32 Days 'til Halloween!


Who Is In Dust Awakens

I've been pretty absent from posting because I'm at a really weird point now. In the planning stages of a commission bouncing sketches back and forth with not much to show anyone else yet. I'm admittedly pretty impatient and not much of a planner, and my process is usually "got an idea, draw it out, paint it" but when you're working in a medium as impossible to change or edit as gouache and casein paint are, it's pretty integral to get everything straight before you get started on something for someone else.

Because not having anything to work on makes me anxious and finishing projects, even small ones is something I find weirdly reassuring I started the drawing for a trade I'm doing. It'll be another one of those wooden crosses, inspired by a lot of the demonology stuff I've been reading. More on that later.
I should have a final drawing for the commission I'm working on, info about what it is and a bunch of rambling about demonology and all the new books I bought about oracles and Greek mystery cults coming up. Blah blah blah.

This post is boring, maybe read this instead?


You Sealed Your Doom, Your Time Has Come

Spent a little longer than I thought I'd have to (always the case) on this t-shirt design due to "Hurricane" complications. Some shitty (very old) wiring fried when water got in our basement and we thought we were about to have an electrical fire so our power was out for a while. It's worth noting that the two things I opted to save in the event of a potential emergency were my cat and a portfolio of paintings, including this one:
I get pretty stuck for tshirt design ideas, because they're more design oriented and less narrative and a lot of the ideas I have stored away work better for full paintings. This shirt started with some gates I saw and photographed at Edgecomb Cemetery in Maine:
I added some touches to the original urn:
Draped urns are pretty common in Victorian Cemetery iconography, with the urn representing the body and the veil representing the "veil" separating the world of the living from the world of the dead. Oddly enough, Cremation was very rare in Victorian times, but the cremation urn was a popular symbol of the corporeal world anyway.

The Omega is the last letter in the Greek alphabet and is often used to represent simply "the end" or the end of time or of life. You'll also see it along with the alpha (the beginning) in christian churches fairly often. A Theta would also have been appropriate and I thought about working both of them in but thought it was overkill.

It should be pretty clear by this point that I really like doing mist and smoke and ghost hands, because I've worked them into most things I've done for the past year. It's just really fun to paint and I think it adds some dimension.
If you're interested in exploring cemeteries and making sense of the symbolism there (and there's tons of it) this book is really great:
It's organized by symbol type (animals, plants, religious, figural, secret societies) , full of images from all over the world, and conveniently small so you could feasibly bring it out to a cemetery with you. AND you can order it from the Laurel Hill gift shop and in doing so support one of my favorite Philadelphia historical landmarks.

About to buckle down and work on a movie poster design and in the early stages of planning a curated show with some friends. More on that later....