Friday, February 22, 2013
My homage to Frazetta is finally finished and although it has often been said that a good painting does not need the explanation, I do feel compelled to say something about one particular aspect of this piece. My intention was not to make a copy of Frazetta’s character. My intention was to do a homage to the master by projecting his famous character onto my world and let it go through the prism of my own vision. The essence of my interpretation has been most correctly expressed by a good friend of mine and a fellow artist who, upon seeing the painting, commented: “ Ah, you are on their side as well…!” Another spot-on remark I heard from another person was: “This is perhaps the lightest Death Dealer painting I have ever seen, but still the darkest Death Dealer, for it appears to me that HE is the bad guy!”
The Death Dealer series, as it is the case with much of Frazetta’s art, reflect a typical black-and-white approach to the relationship between good and evil, and it is presented in a simplified and rather straightforward manner. Death Dealer’s foes are evil savages who are here to be slain (punished for whatever they stand for), while Death Dealer’s job is to make sure it is properly and thoroughly done. Generally speaking, I think this aspect of Frazetta’s art is not only connected to the certain archetypes and the stereotypes of his time, but it also reflects something of the preconceptions, general aspirations, prevailing ideologies, the impact of major conflicts, etc. of the 20st century.
The times have changed, as we know . We don’t live anymore in a black-and-white world (we never did, by the way, this is one of many misconceptions man has to deal with). We now live in a Grey, more complex world, a global village, where the division line between the good guys and the bad guys seem to be fairly blurred. In a way we have become more realistic (I still avoid to use the word “wise” because of the obvious reasons). It has been said that the most popular character from Peter Jackson’s movie trilogy The Lord of the Rings is not Frodo, or Sam, or Gandalf, or Aragorn but Gollum! I think this is a very interesting indication, although a tiny one, and I guess relatively insignificant, for there are much better and more relevant examples. Never the less, this testifies to the shift in the approach of the general public (popular culture) to the concept of good and bad, which apparently has become more flexible.
The underlying notion of my Death Dealer interpretation is supposed to reflect this “new” point of view. The rest of the elements, mostly technical in nature, are derived from this concept.
Posted by Petar Meseldžija at 07:36
Monday, February 18, 2013
Last Saturday I attended a convention in the nearby town of Beverwijk in North Holland. My publisher Dark Dragon Books presented there a little book titled Petar Meseldzija Dossier Preview (a 12 pages book, limited to 50 copies only). The book includes a number of recent sketches and drawings and it is in fact an announcement of a bigger book that will be published in June this year.
During this rather chilly convention (our booth was quite close to the entrance and it was a cold day), I did a number of drawings in Dossier Preview book as well as in my Tarzan book. In order to forget about the cold and to have some extra fun, I decided to do a little game. Most of the sketches, that you can see below, were created in the following way: I would take a fine liner, close my eyes and do a very quick uncontrolled scribble, or I would ask the publisher to do the scribble, or my wife. Then I would let this scribble guide me while I try to “squeeze” a shape out of it, mostly a head of a grotesque character. None of these characters are premeditated, they just happened, they popped-up from the scribble J
|A scribble and the finished drawing |
and two regular sketches (below)
Posted by Petar Meseldžija at 16:57
Friday, February 15, 2013
Here are some recent sketches from my Tarzan book. The paper from this book is not very suitable for drawing with graphite because it is too smooth and plastic-like. Because of that I have to adjust my approach to this disobedient surface (it makes it harder to achieve the usual results), but when after that I do my drawings on a proper paper, it becomes much easier to control the drawing process and to achieve the desired results. Sounds quite logical, right!? So, people, I guess the conclusion is: use bad art materials and tools to practice with for a certain period of time, in order to enhance your skills :)
Posted by Petar Meseldžija at 12:36
Friday, February 8, 2013
A frame from the movie Endrei Rublev by Andrei Tarkovsky
Some of you have probably noticed that my posts have become short and somewhat meager lately. One of the main reasons is that, for some time now, my mind has been tormented by my own present artistic infertility and a feeling that I have lost my direction, my compass. Well, this is nothing unusual because all of us experience similar kind of problems at the certain moment in our life. This often marks a turning point, approaching of the crossroads, a transition from one stage, or level, to another. Such a situation inevitably creates a certain amount of turbulence and disorder, since the fundamental and established thoughts, desires and dreams, that have powered our system and allowed it to be stable and to function optimally, for a certain reason start to move and shake.
I have reached the place in my artistic career which I was longing for to arrive at for many preceding years. This kind of longing of mine does not exists anymore, it has fulfilled its function by bringing me to the desired spot. No longing, no motivation. No motivation, no creative vitality. However uncomfortable and disturbing, this turbulence and the mental pain and disorientation that goes with it, has forced me to reconsider the very motifs for becoming an artist and for spending the biggest portion of my life on making art.
As a result of this struggle I came up with a statement that is supposed to help me find a new sense of direction and purpose, and therefore revitalize the creative spirit in me. It is expressed through the following words:
- If my work (art) keeps me from doing a backbreaking physical work, or a mind numbing monotonous kind of work, and helps me feed myself and my family, it’s good!
- If it helps me express my mental and emotional issues, it’s excellent.
- If it helps others to get closer to their own heart, it’s useful.
- If it helps me get famous and rich, it’s seductive and tricky.
- If it guides me through my inner Dark Forest, helps me slain dragons and demons, or make them my friends and allies, and shows me the way out of it to a sunny meadow, it’s wondrous, it fulfills its holy purpose and justifies itself.
One of the reasons I am revealing this rather intimate issue to you is that I know that there are many souls out there who are having, or will have in the future, the same kind of issues with themselves and their art. My confession will not solve your problem, but it might help a little by showing you that you are not alone in this struggle, that even the accomplished and “successful” among us have to deal with these things sooner or later, in one or another way. It might help you realize thatperhaps you too have to come up with some kind of statement that will calm down your psyche and help you regain the balance and peace of mind. As it has always been, the ways of the World are often seductive and misleading, and there is always a price tag attached to it.
In that respect, I was delighted to discover that a much bigger artist and a greater mind than myself has defined art and its purpose in a similar way. Below you can find out what Andrei Tarkovsky (1932 Zavrazhye, Soviet Union – 1986 Paris, France), one of the greatest Russian movie directors, said about ART. The films of Andrei Tarkovsky have been revered as ranking on a par with the masterpieces of Russia's novelists and composers. His work, from films such as Ivan's Childhood , Andrei Rublev , Solaris, Stalker, has had an enormous influence on the style of contemporary European film.
Posted by Petar Meseldžija at 09:00