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Surreal digital painting


Digital art 2021

This is my favorite piece of artwork I've ever done! Planning on doing a whole series in this style and theme.

With this one, I did something quite a bit different than I normally do for my digital works. Normally for the faces I'll start with a single photo of a person, and digitally paint hundreds of layers on top of the image with my Wacom Intuos Pro tablet. I do this to make it look as in proportion, and as realistic as I can. This time though, I cut pieces out of a ton of different photos, overlapped and combined the photo pieces, and then began the painting process of layering on a bunch of digital paint layers over the Frankenstein-like face collage. For example, the woman's nose is actually a combination of three different people's noses before I started painting layers overtop. Three different people's eyes, Two different chins, etc. It was so much fun to do! I love the overall look, and how it doesn't appear as photorealistic as my other portraits.

Two digital artists who have been inspiring me a lot lately are Ingrid Baars, and Ray Caesar. They create really powerful works that are pretty large in size. In my mind, this is something I've always wanted my own artworks to be. Large and powerful. That's why for this one (and for the others as well in this upcoming series) I'm planning on printing a very limited edition (probably an edition of 3 or 5) at a larger 24" x 36" size. I might also include a more affordable smaller sized edition (most likely around 20). I think I'm going to go the route of varnished or hand embellished ultrachome ink on Hahnemuhle photo rag, (mounted to dibond panels for the larger ones) instead of normal prints behind glass. Not entirely sure yet though, I'm going to have artist proofs printed on a few different types of papers--and also going to experiment with some more varnishes and mediums. Usually the hand embellishing process drives me insane because I end up ruining so many prints attempting to get the effect that I want. I have a few new ideas of different approaches to the techniques that I can try though, so fingers crossed.

I've also really been enjoying working in just black and white, with a very small splash of color at the focal point. The artist Sail (Uslessarm) does works like this, and it's always been something that I loved seeing. This was another big inspiration for my new digital painting.

So what do you think?

Anything you think would be better added or removed in future artworks?

Digital art portrait

The general theme or meaning behind this artwork that I'm calling "Dreamer" is the idea that underneath the bold and beautiful faces that we try to portray to the outside world--at the back of out minds, and in our subconscious--there exists hopes, dreams, expectations, and personal demons. Other unseen worlds built up on top of each other, seemingly living their own lives. Things that both weigh us down, and inspire us to not give up. That haunt us, but give us strength. And basically, despite the uncertainty of the darkness and the weight of the unseen, we can still make the conscious decision to push forwards into the mystery of the unknown. To be the warriors for our own realities, and to save ourselves from the things inside that no one else sees.

Black and white ancient city

Black and white monster

Here's a few shots of the work in progress photos, as well as the really shitty little first drawing I did to get the general idea for the artwork haha! A lot of my surreal works start with a very poorly drawn little sketch. I pretty much do it as fast and as sloppy as possible just to get the untampered-with idea out and on physical paper.

If you made it all they way down here, thanks so much for reading though what I have to say about the artwork, really appreciate it!


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