Don't think that I don't see you. The beautiful disaster. The bruised interior, screaming in pain, repeating patterns in circular motions, waiting for the cycle to end. But you put on a smile, you say what you want them to hear, you behave the way you want to be perceived. You use your charms to enchant and you do it well. But I still see you. The real you. And I’m here for you. I don’t mind the damaged side you hide. In fact, when I say I love you, I mean that part as well. So, when you’re ready to open up, I’m here. Just don’t run because I’m not going after you. This door is open for a limited time.
In any case, that frame never fooled me. It looks nice, but what it hides is much nicer.
Standing on a busy street during rush hour can feel quite chaotic. People rubbing shoulders, running, talking, laughing, anxious and impatient. The loud noises, the overpowering smells, the feeling of eternal rush. The experience can feel extremely overwhelming. The picture of pure chaos. But ascend this chaos into any tall building, view the circus from above and another picture emerges. The look of organized individuals, walking in groups. Walls, which once seemed to be barriers, suddenly arrange the picture into a whole. Like little ants, seemlessly communicating how, where and when to move, the view starts gaining the feeling of strategy. A world where chaos on a minuscule level acquires the sense of order when viewed from afar. As if the city is a chessboard, the buildings are the pieces and the people...the people are the chaos we don't see.
"House or Home"
This one I can't fully decide the meaning of. It depends on my mood; is the glass half full or half empty? The same principal applies here. Is this a house in ruins with a vision of what it once was? This glorius, beautiful mansion that time and people forgot and abandoned? A metaphor for what we could be but instead what we really are? Or is this an admission of the times we are in and what can be achieved? Maybe things are ruined now…maybe the whole thing is in disarray, but we can see what is possible. Between those two visions there are minimal differences, at least on the surface. But the truth is, they are a world apart. Because of one thing. Hope. The first theory (or the first interpretation) is hopeless. It lives in the past, admiring what once was. The second explanation sees what isn't but can be. It holds on to hope. Which explanation would you rather take? They are both true.
I have a thing for steampunk and mechanisms. There is something magical about seeing the inner workings of a watch or any other mechanic apparatus. It feels almost alive, with a heartbeat and a soul. There is also something mesmerizing and reassuring about it all. It almost works without us even though it's made by us. In a strange way it connects us to our surroundings.
So, this is your predicament: all you’ve ever dreamt of, your desires, wishes, successes and accomplishments lie in the distance. You see the prize, clouded by a thick fog, barely visible but it feels so much in reach. The bridge is wobbly, the cracks are obvious, the path is dangerous, unpredictable and unclear. How long can the bridge last? What hides in the shadows? Does this path really lead to the promised land? The elements are against you, everything points to your imminent downfall. If the odds are to be trusted, you don’t stand a chance. But you can see your paradise…it’s right there. Do you go against the odds? Or would you rather go back?
The Clearest Vision.
The most crystal image emerges when the two overlap. Then the vision of the most precise reality springs up, a vision supported by reason and emotion. The thing about it is, you have to sacrifice on both sides.
If you want the "true" image, you need to sacrifice the careless spontaneity and irresponsibility of the heart as well as the strict organization and the impeccable preciseness of the brain.
In between lies what you want, or perhaps better put, what you really need. The question is only are you willing to sacrifice a part of yourself? It sounds easy but it isn't. A true exercise in balance.
Do You See What I See?
Sometimes form stands in our way. Well, in this case, let me make it personal…it stands in my way. I tend to obsess over realistic forms and structures which are used in a symbollic fashion, to convey a story in a single frame.
I let that obsession go, in this particular creation. It is heavily inspired by the cover of Radiohead’s album “A Moon Shaped Pool”, which I adore. This “letting go” process allowed me to create without the restriction of over-thinking. The shape you see in front of you happened spontaneously, with little to no delibiration. It breathed itself to life and through it gave me a sense of creativity I’ve never had before.
As far as it’s meaning, I leave that to you, the viewer. I have my own interpretation, but with this type of illustration any meaning I would add to it would take away from the emotional reaction you might get from it.
We have a tendency to see only the bad side of things. It's partially evolutionary, partially our own fault but regardless of its origins, our ability to see the negative helps us survive. We see potential threats, possible negative outcomes, we calculate what is best for us. Until the negative is the only side we see. When suddenly every situation seems to have more negatives than positives, when the fear of possible negative outcomes starts to effect the way we behave then we start losing the ability to truly discern what risks are good to take...and maybe even what actions are good for us. We get stuck in that defeatist view so much so that when we look at the picture from the bright side, we have trouble discerning what it even represents. It feels unfinished, unpolished, it feels more open and less invasive. It doesn't seem to be real. All this light...surely there must be something wrong? Sometimes...there isn't. Sometimes things are actually fine. But we get so jaded in our negative view we no longer see the whole picture. We only see pain, because it already hurts. So... are you going up or down?
Which desire do you value above all else? Which path would you most like to take? Which desire/passion/direction would you sacrifice for a greater good? Do you know where you are headed? Do you like where you're going? Do you realize that some of those pointers on the compass are leading you on the wrong path? Do you even know which pointer to trust?
Apple a Day
You are what you eat. But with everything going on, you can't really trust anything. What used to be fine to eat, healthy and neccessary, is now so heavily modified and altered that it turns into its' very opposite. So now what you eat, eats you.
Perhaps the authority is to be questioned. To be skeptical of, to be examined. To be open-minded. But, be careful…there is such a thing where your mind is so open, it falls out.
Be careful what the doctor says. But don’t trust that one blog you read either.
It's cold. Really cold. My arms are trembling, my feet hurt from being so cold but stopping is not an option. Well... that's not true. It is an option, many have simply stopped walking and let themselves be consumed by the winter. But I'm not ready to give up... not yet. Walking alone is not option though, not for me. That's when I would give up. The prospect of going the distance by myself is not only daunting and lonely, but pointless. This road was not meant to be walked alone. This path is wide enough for the both of us. There is no guarantee what happens at the end of the road. The fog keeps it hidden. I can't tell you what awaits us, what stands in our way, if we'll even make it together. Regardless, let's walk. Fuck it. And if it kills us...I guess we tried
Ever kept a secret for so long you forgot what it was? You kept it for so long, the secret becomes the secret itself. The key to the bottle is in it. But it's so transparent and brittle, it's lost its purpose.
The secret is the secret itself.
March of the Elephants
The march is inevitable. Nature always wins. - And as it progresses, mercilessly, it will take down anyone and anything. The truest form of equality, where everyone will be treated fairly, not based on any of the categories we hold near and dear to our heart. True fairness… will, in this case, destroy us.
Too bad we couldn’t come to that understanding before the march began.
We all live in our bubbles. The sanctuaries we built, shaped and crafted to our own preferences. Inside, it's holy. Whatever lays on the outer walls is the enemy. What's funny is that those walls are made out of thin glass, ready to break at the tiniest pressure. It's almost there…it's about to pop. -
A 47-hour project with (approximately, don't quote me on this) 35 thousand dots. It has taken me a solid week to finish this one, but it's been on my mind for some time and it is something I might revisit one day on a much larger scale. The idea behind it was a stippling study to explore, in-depth, shadow and perspective, how to recreate transparency with dots. The meaning behind this one is a bit more personal, so I’ll keep that one to myself, so it leaves you the room to create your own.
You've seen things. Life has a great way of providing excuses for jadedness and isolation. You build walls, barricades and obstacles, try every method that can prevent any further damage. Eventually, it works. But in the chamber you built, light rarely shines... and you start missing the warmth it provides. You start thinking the light isn’t meant for you, you don’t deserve it. Why would you, you’ve done everything possible for it to stop coming through. Until…someone comes, and suddenly the gentlest breeze pushes, breaks and destroys the fortress you spent decades to build. Besides this explanation, this piece was also inspired by and dedicated to women. The mothers, grandmothers, sisters, cousins, friends, wives, partners, lovers, etc. The world has a shine and warmth which is greatly underappreciated and overlooked. I thought about making and posting it for International Women’s Day, but this shouldn’t need a day. This needs no excuse to celebrate.
Death of Culture
The "anti-reason" movement is growing wings. We are starting to live in an age where opinion is as valid as fact but no fact can change an opinion. Instead of striving for understanding, we are beginning to see a pattern of wanting to destroy those whom we oppose. It's a very dangerous pattern. Skepticism is neccesary and very welcome, an ability to question is vital to us as a society. But skepticism should be driven by reason, not be hearsay, paranoia or a lack of understanding. Before you burn the books of your "enemies", read them. Before you condemn those with whom you don't see eye to eye, try and understand them. And before you believe anything you hear, make sure for yourself. Because knowledge isn't your enemy. It's what makes you human.
Creativity is much more a state of mind, rather than a skill. Most surely, it combines both but to develop it, it requires an ability to observe and analyse as well as experience. It might seem that the road from building paperboats to constructing cathedrals is an incredibly long and arduous one (which it is), but one thing which never changes on that road is the excitement which creation brings. That sensation of making, of bringing something to life which only existed in your mind, is one which breathes life into us and has the capacity to enrich all our lives to staggering degrees.
The Scale of Ma'at
Death. Commence the final weighing. Your soul has entered the afterlife, the only thing now is to judge you upon your actions in life. Goddess Ma'at is ready to do so, on her tremendous scale. Your heart has been taken from your mummified body and is being scaled against a feather. If it's the same weight, or even lighter, your soul shall enter the Field of Reeds. If not...well... But money snakes its way into many corners and finds solutions for ''unsolvable'' problems. Gold has paid for your sins, bathed away your crimes and injustices. You’re fine now. Congratulations. I wish there was a punishment for this but you’re in front of the gods and they accepted your payment. What else is there? I have hoped for your conscience to kick in, at least for a sense of guilt or remorse… but if that isn’t there, nothing helps now. I wish there was a more positive spin to this. I wish I could twist it with a sense of justice or righteousness. But I can’t. If this is the last thing I ever post you must understand… it’s the most important one. I can’t stress that enough.
What Once Was
Sands will swallow all in its path. There is nothing sacred. Not to them. But it is to us. So it's our duty to battle the sands. Preserve what matters.
May Wisdom Surround You
And in the darkest times, may the wisdom of old surround you like a warm cloak, give you shelter and protection, and guide you on your path.
It will come at you eventually, it will catch up. You're starring at it, admiring its beautiful majesty, all the while it's coming for you. It comes for everyone. Somehow, that makes it all the more beautiful and majestic.
The hands in the illustration are the hands of my parents. They've been married for 28 years now and still going strong. Whilst researching for this project I knew their hands would be the perfect symbol to represent it. When it comes to trust and trusting, they might have a thing or two to say. They're pretty much experts. ''With everything that's happened, with all that life has thrown, asking me to trust you is an act of gigantic proportions. That means I have to throw by the side the armor of cynicism, distance and caution that's been built around me for the whole of my life, that has protected me for decades. It means I now believe the facts I give you become secrets in you. How long will that last? Can I have any reassurances that I won't come to regret it some time into the future? But what am I saying…I can't even prove that to you. I can't confidently say things won't go wrong and it might be me who spills the beans. So I guess Hemingway is right. The only way you can know if someone is trustworthy is by trusting them in the first place.''
Funny how we derive a certain kind of pleasure from destruction. Whenever you build a sandcastle, a house of cards or put together a chain of dominoes, you might feel at first a sense of pride, instantly followed by an urge to bring it down, to see it collapse, to see the work destroyed. - As much as we enjoy the process of creating, we feel an almost animalistic need to also see it destroyed. We are the architects, of the good and the bad, however we perceive the two. - An interesting trivia to this piece is that the city you see in the illustration is roughly based on the city of Florence, the cradle of the renaissance, the first movement which took the beauty and knowledge of the past and gave it a proper “rebirth”. - We can’t deny we like to destroy, what we can do is learn to accept it. As we conduct and compose our future, let us not forget the lessons of the past. History has lessons for us which we should listen to, especially now.
An image from a dream. I'm led to a field by Mr. Whack, who shows me two sets of flowers on the floor, both on separate ends: “Life is filled with choices. You make them momentarily, after persuasion or after a long stretch of contemplation. Sometimes the choice is yours, mostly it isn't…and every choice made has consequences. Sacrifices. You see these two examples. The rose lives alone. It gets the nutrients from the floor all for itself, the light is unobstructed, every ray just for her. It helps her grow to her full potential. But she is destined for a life of solitude. The violets live together. The food divided, the sunshine rationed. They never become bigger or greater than their brothers and sisters. But they have each other, for protection, for company. They’re smaller, but plentiful. They will never shine, but they’ll never be alone. So, which means more to you? In this life, that is your choice.” Which would you choose?
Stage1 - Mechanics
Stage2 - Organic
Kisses vary. Some will shatter you. They will feel irresponsible, filled with regret, perhaps even invisible. Like they never had a spark in them, as if the energy was forced, fueled by the spur of the moment, a momentary lapse of reason, naivety and opportunity. Kisses we wish we never had. Kisses which only resemble intimacy, but are only a hollow shell of them.
Some kisses will be settled in flesh. The passion of connection will penetrate deeply and immediately lead into savory thoughts. The feeling of heat in your stomach, the rush of blood throughout your body and the sensation of electricity engulfing you. The kiss of pure lust. It will make everyone around you feel the heat, the discmofort of eroticism, as if the act is already raw intimacy.
But some will shape your world, completely changing the landscape. The moment of connection will transform reality, bend the strings which connect it. Two worlds will merge and something as simple as a kiss will fire you into a sphere you never knew existed. But be careful...the earthquake may collapse things you wanted to remain, the passion may burn and destroy bridges previously formed. An act of love could be violent. Are you willing to take that risk?
Leave a Mark
Whatever you create, you leave behind. Your footprint, as insignificant as it may seem, is forever stamped on this planet, in the hearts and minds of the people close to you. So make it a good one. Cook up a storm... but a nice storm.