Saturday, November 6, 2010

Neil Gaiman's Price coming to film

The Price, by Neil Gaiman is one of my favorite short stories that the author has penned is actually being made into an independent film by Christopher Salmon. This apparently is a one man show, Salmon is doing all the production of this CGI short.

"The Price" Kickstarter project pitch from Christopher Salmon on Vimeo.

Mr. Salmon has the full support of Neil Gaiman on this project and is asking for fan support since this is a private project and does not have the backing of any studios. The material, the short story The Price (which I have mentioned in a blog before) is one of my favorite short stories and if you get the chance I recommend it as well as the graphic novel, Creatures of the Night, done by Gaiman and one of my personal favorite artists, Michael Zulli.

The Price is a story of the devotion of an animal, a black cat (which I have extreme fondness for the inky alien four legged slinky things)and how guardians can come in the most unexpected forms. I highly recommend it.

You can follow Mr. Salmon's progress here on his production blog.

Neil Gaiman has also given his blessing to this project and talks a little more in depth about it here on his blog.


Creatures of the Night by Neil Gaiman and Michael Zulli

Smoke and Mirrors by Neil Gaiman

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

The Mortician

I am still learning my way about digital painting and digital coloring. Digital coloring is when I take a pencil or pen drawing and color it in Adobe, digital painting is when I do a painting usually from scratch or a rough sketch as I did with The Mortician.

I decided to do this piece in black and white, working with only grays as I would a pencil drawing. I wanted to create a type of vignette almost like one of the old daguerreotype photographs. The border I created by combining symbols that come with Adobe and decided to go with the oval because it lent to that antique feel I was looking for.

I suppose there is a story in this picture, as soon as it tells it to me I am sure that I will include it and the picture in The October Book which has become my year long project.

Prints are of course for sale on Deviantart here.

Monday, November 1, 2010

The Elegant Skull

La Calavera Catrina (the elegant skull) was popularized in 1913 with an etching done by artist José Guadalupe Posada. Since then, Catrina has been the rendition for the Mexican Day of the Dead, symbolizing the goddess Lady of the Dead, that dates back to the ancient Aztecs. Catrinas are very popular during the Mexican Day of the Dead which in fact is two days, not one. One day to honor and remember infants and the following to honor and remember adults. During these days the spirits of dead loved ones are lured by items such as flowers of the dead, usually marigolds, sugar skulls, tequila for adults, toys for children and religious icons such as crosses and Madonnas.

Much of the ceremonies include enticing the spirits of the departed back for a day so the souls can hear the prayers and stories their relatives offer them in remembrance and often these tales take a humorous tone as stories about the departed are shared. Often shrines are built in homes in memorandum with pictures of the deceased and these shrines often appear at local schools and government buildings. It is obvious that Mexican culture has a deep respect for mortality as mirrored in their parades on the Day of the Dead and their iconography.

When one considers that Fall, which brings about the deep sleep and death of nature with the coming of winter as well as harvest that it would follow that it be linked to human mortality and the spirit realm as echoed in our own holiday Halloween and religious days such as All Saint's Day, All Soul's Day and the Day of the Dead.

I find much of the artwork and iconography of this heritage very fascinating and often mirrored in work by artists such as Daniel Martin Diaz and Madame Talbot. Diaz incorporates much of his Latin American heritage with Catholic imagery that forms a sort of esoteric vision while Madame Talbot's death dolls and her posters with the various renditions of death conjure an otherworldliness with a macabre sense of humor. Both are artists I respect, not only because they are traditionalists in their medium but also their creative imagination. Both artists seem to dance in between worlds and their works seem to bring about a sense of the surreal and that everyday occurrences maybe rooted in some deeper meaning or purpose whether it be with a morbid tongue in cheek or Jungarian images that drift below the subconscious. I would hesitate to lump these two artists together because their approaches are miles apart, one with almost prophetic vision and the other in a humorous danse macabre. But to be sure, both are inspiring and both deal with mortality.