Saturday, May 8, 2010


Currently painting the Epona picture and working on other ideas, especially two:

- As a teen I spent several happy summers in Ibiza along with my parents. Ibiza is mostly known as a party place but the northern part of the island is very tranquil, with a lot of Mediterranean bush and half-wild areas, and it is traditionally a beacon of European hippy culture. There are a few hippy shops and markets which sell oddities too. Most of it is cheap mass-produced stuff, but sometimes I found items which could not be found anywhere else 20 years ago, such as religious postcards from India:
Avatar of the elephant god Ganesha

These icons are full of details which have a symbolic meaning or reference some Hindu religious stories. I'm thinking of a painting in a similar style, with a feline avatar holding slightly different/modified symbolic items representing virtues and facts of the XXI century world:

I had thought of a tiger but that would be too obvious, and also not good because tigers are a very negative symbol in hinduism, while this is supposed to be a firendly deity. She is going to be a snow leopard instead. Nowadays we are kinda obsessed with bringing rare and obscure things to the spotlight, and snowmeows are rare and obscure animals which have become famous only in the last fifty years or so. They look "edgy" for some reason, probably because of the cold/pale colors. Also they manage to keep some privacy in the wild in spite of all the people who want to film them, which nowadays is quite an achievement. :-)

- Another idea comes from a recent streak of good books and documentaries about food and the risk of a global food crisis in the near future, for example BBC's Jimmy's Global Harvest, Jimmy's Food Factory and Future of Food. These are videos everybody should watch, as in 10-20 years it will be extremely important to have a good start and understanding of the situation.

The idea started again as a fantasy scene. I was rather impressed by the description of cattle feedlots in the book "The Omnivore's Dilemma" by Michael Pollan and it led to a weird vision of a feedlot as a shady cathedral. The idea was to show a pregnant cattle smoking hard and looking very distressed in such a setting, oppressed by tall corn containers which formed a monumental, grim architecture, as in some paintings by Zdzislaw Beksinski:

The cow would be sitting in front of a large crate with such corn towers in the background:

I even figured out a logo which looks like a Christian cross for the fictional corporation which owns the place and has corn as its core business:

I was thinking of using a style similar to Beksinski's, morbid and apocalyptic. But such a scene would be cheesy and useless, it'd be just empty rethoric. So I'm keeping the elements I like - the pregnant cow, the feedlot looking like a cathedral - but I'm dropping the grim atmosphere. The cow won't look distressed but rather soothed by smoking and just a bit apathetic/resigned. The feedlot will look rather polished like the engineering achievement it is. There will be a crows of other cows too. I have a very specific atmosphere in mind for this painting, a bit surreal, not easy to describe in words... I'll just have to show it as I go on.

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