Artwork: The Vault of the Rising Sun

My wife and I travelled to Iceland in October 2019 for a week-long getaway. A chance for us to re-connect sans kids. Best described as aimless exploration, we drove our rental 4×4 across the west, south and east of the island. Stopping to look at ‘cool stuff’ whenever the mood struck, it was picture-taking the whole way. 

And I never worried too much about capturing the ‘perfect photo’, its not my style anyway. Much of my art comes together in montage so capturing essences was my focus… also documenting our bucket-list adventure together.

I can’t say enough about Iceland. As a photographer’s destination its one of the most dramatic landscapes around; minimalist, open, powerful. As there are hardly any trees, most vistas are vast and wide, which I think is the catalyst to its allure, if not alien and exotic. And so we drove, finding sweeping grassy fields framed by long mountain chains, ragged and mossy rock plains, abandoned farmhouses, black beaches, glaciers, waterfalls, basalt pillars, it goes on and on. A playground for any shutter bug, epic to say the least. 

In my opinion, self-guided is the way to go. The reason is the country is so beautiful everywhere, 360 degrees around you, at all times. Best to get lost while exploring, then point and click, and do it a thousand more times. Yes, its infectious. And just when you think you’re in middle of nowhere, there is an inconspicuous roadside stop with the best coffee you’ve ever had. 

I have gotten so much mileage from my thousands of Iceland photos. 

And this is another one, albeit on the fantasy side of things. Although, the ruined church was not Iceland. It was a local church back home that was being demo’ed, and luckily I caught it before it was entirely gone. Sa after a quick sweeping Pan-shot with my iPhone, I added this capture to my collection of photographic treasures, with hopes of reimagining at a later time. Then a year later, thus.  

The Vault of the Rising Sun

I have been enjoying dark imagery lately. And playing with silhouettes has opened my creative-flood-gates. More than just nature photography, each scene now has its own micro-narrative because of the ‘models’ that I’ve employed. Not really models, but Frankenstein images as I have named them, a blended concoction from online sources. All visual poetry in the end.

The cast


And to talk more broadly about art; I’ve had the topic of subtlety on my mind. Being that I am a digital artist, I have ultimate control over every aspect of the image. I can really ramp-up complexity and create something visually stunning and complicated. But should I?
I’ve seen many other digital artists creating ‘over-the-top’ designs that are ‘cool’ in one sense, but they seem more like billboard’s promoting their skill level rather than ‘good art’. Whatever that is.

Regardless, it got me thinking; just because I was able to concoct a cool graphic of a she-devil, does this mean it should be blatantly emphasized within the art? Am I getting tempted to ‘show off’ the graphic at the cost of the poetry? This is what I want to avoid. The observer doesn’t care about my technical proficiency, what they want is an experience, an aesthetic feeling from the overall poetry, and showing off doesn’t give this to them. 

So, back to subtlety: the She-Devil is integrated in the shadows, most of its form is hidden and blurred while it looks to be exiting the scene. The drama here is created from her glance backwards, directing our awareness towards the ruin, where a male figure stands, framed by the vault and the  bright background. 

Here is the poetry; the glance and the mystery. Not in the detail of the wings, or how cool her hair or horns look. The art is in the interplay between the characters, the scene, and the mood. All must balanced for it to work. This is the difference between being showy and being responsible to the experience of the art. That’s it.

The elements: