Monday, April 27, 2009


ink on paper, about 14 x 14

I can't hold this one in any longer.. I just HAVE TO SHARE IT!!

I present to you my favorite design that I've ever done for a band, ever. Meet Vile Intent's new uber-apocalyptical-ink-on-paper-shirt-design!

There is SO much to say about this, I barely know where to start! In a way I almost feel like letting people guess.. maybe that will be my new approach? Ah, but that is just me being lazy! I really don't feel the need to be mysterious or obscure when my message and intentions are neither mysterious nor obscure.
So here goes (I'll make it semi-point-form to make it a bit easier):
Border: the border is made up of a snake biting its own tail (in the top half) and of vine leaves in the lower half. Both the coiled snake and the vines are meant to represent the natural world, with obvious Biblical connotations (i.e. the ideal natural world associated with Eden). Yet, here I chose to depict the snake biting its own tail, which is a fairly common image and represents self-destruction. In other words, thinking one is gaining something (in this case food) when one is in fact participating in one's own slow death. The snake, in contrast with the growing vines, is meant to represent careless self-destruction and a perversion of the natural order.  Even though traditionally the figure of a snake/dragon eating its own tail (i.e. Ouroboros) is meant to represent cyclicality, I felt it could also signify the opposite of cyclicality: termination. 
Two figures: the two figures shown above were inspired by a 19th century wood-cut that depicted a Sun figure (male) and a Moon figure (female). The juxtaposition of a male and female figure with a snake would automatically evoke Biblical imagery, but I found that incorporating Sun and Moon characteristics spoke to more universal/pagan imagery. Namely, the figures are meant to represent humanity as a whole. I found their postures interesting because they evoke a sense of pride, even though what the female is pointing at is the bloody carcass of a horse. This ironic contrast is meant to emphasize the discrepancy between traditional imagery of nature where humans are found within a natural setting and depicted as living in harmony with nature (e.g. here the figures are naked, which indicates a sense of unity with nature) and with the reality of humanity's relationship with the natural world. Namely, here, the humans are standing proudly yet are surrounded by death and desolation... death and desolation caused by their own carelessness (re:snake).
Horse carcass: the dead horse was meant to represent the eventual death of all living creatures as a result of civilization. I felt the horse stood for a number of important symbols: strength, elegance, stature, etc. Furthermore, in the West, the horse is often associated with patriotic imagery (e.g. the all-american cowboy, the stern mountie, etc.). Therefore, a dying horse (killed by the sharp hand of the clock-which I will discuss later), lying between the two proud human figures, really embodied the essence of the notion of blind destruction.
Clock hands/mechanisms: an important aspect of this drawing was the idea of time. I've deliberated on the topic in previous posts and so I won't go through all the same details again, but I will describe how symbols of time are particular to this drawing. First of all, the mechanisms of the clock become part of the background, almost replacing the sun that should be sinking into the horizon. The fact that the wheels of the clock are at the center of the image represent the centrality of regulated time to Western society. In other words, it evokes the sense that the mechanization of life into time slots is of primary importance. This is represented in the image by depicting the mechanisms of the clock as appearing to control the movements of the sky as a whole. As the hands of the clock turn, the rest of the world can do the same. The fact that the big hand of the clock has killed the horse is meant to represent the eventual death of life on earth, one that will be determined by human activities and symbolized by an unnatural obsession with time and making the most out of it. The saying that 'time is money' is fairly cliché but embodies the overall link I'm trying to make here between human perception of time and the destruction of life on earth (i.e. self-destruction). * The large hand is also meant to point to where the number 6 would be, which in roman numerals is spelled VI, which itself represents the initials of Vile Intent (V and I).
Background/landscape: Ok, so I've already explained the main idea behind this image and so, by fear of repeating myself any more than I already have, I will try to keep it short and sweet. The two figures are standing in front of a large desolate wasteland that is meant to evoke the sense of deserted, dried out, land. This is made evident by the crackling ground and the lack of greenery. Shattered by earthquakes and destroyed by drought, the land is harsh and its lack of life (or potential for life) resonates echoes of death and doom for miles on end. This land is followed by cliffs that stretch accross the horizon and appear utterly lifeless. Above these cliffs and beyond the mechanisms of the clock, is a burning sun, of which the fiery heat seems to be bursting and bubbling outward. The closeness and intensity of the sun, juxtaposed with the deserted land, is meant to evoke an apocalyptical sense of global warming: the final minutes before the earth is burnt to a crisp. Even the sky beyond the sun (which is meant to mimic medieval depictions of ''outer space'') is drawn such that the sun's rays seem to extend even into the darkness of the galaxy, with each star being engulfed within a sharp blade. I decided to give the ''rings'' extending from the sun an allure of chainsaw blades in order to emphasize further the sense of doom. There is also a smaller, black-hole type of sun within the larger sun. This second sun simply further evokes the sense of impending destruction. Almost as the ''gates of hell'', it's meant to appear as a destructive element (placed as a third eye in relation to the heads of the two figures). Ultimately, the smaller black sun is meant to evoke imagery of an apocalyptical sky.
OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOK, well, I think that's enough doom, death, and desolation, for now! There's more to say (clearly, since there always is), but I think this gives you a pretty good idea of what I was going for.
So, on a completely different note, there is lots in the works right now! I Refuse LP artwork, illustrations for a book being published by Les Éditions de l'Homme, as well as a few other random commissions. Oh, and I also have to post the last pamphlet I did for CHUO.
Allllllright, well, until next time!
P.S. Vile Intent are printing the shirts as we speak so get in touch if you want one!.. I can't wait to see how they turn out! (and will post pictures)

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