If you’re at all familiar with my work, you probably know that I love cephalopods (squid, cuttlefish, octopuses, nautilus, even extinct cephalopods like ammonites) and paint them often. There are lots of reasons I choose to paint these fascinating creatures alongside the space scenes in my work: they are beautiful and strange-looking, and can even appear alien-like (note that sci-fi aliens are often portrayed as having tentacles). Cephalopods are also extremely intelligent, with some species of octopus being known to use tools and solve complex problems. And since this intelligence evolved independently from that of humans and other mammals—an octopus is more closely related to a clam than a human—it is the closest to an alien intelligence that humanity has so far witnessed. It serves as an example of another form that intelligence can take in living beings. The structure of a cephalopod’s nervous system makes this clear: rather than having just a large centralized brain, they also have high numbers of neurons in their arms, which can make some decisions independently of the brain. A hypothetical intelligent alien species may just as likely develop intelligence in a similarly decentralized way rather than having human-like brains. Cephalopods are a humbling reminder that intelligence can take many forms and they provide us a chance to study how it may come about via different systems.
Watch the video below for some fascinating information about cephalopod nervous systems and behaviors.
On Friday, June 7th at 7:00 PM my latest show opens at Sip and Wonder Coffee House in Alicante! Come join me at the opening to see my new work, chat about art and science and get something yummy to eat and drink.
Below are the paintings included in the show.
I recently finished my first ever mural painted with spray paint! It is located at the Ultrasolar Jardín Comunitario de Carolinas, a community garden in my neighborhood in Alicante, Spain.
I've wanted to learn how to work with spray paint for a while, as it will allow me to bring my ideas to life on a larger scale and into public places. I love street art and admire the way a colorful mural can transform a space, so I'm excited to be able to share my weird, surreal art with the world in this way.
Painting this mural was definitely a learning experience for me. Though I've painted with oils for years, I've never before used spray paint and worked on such a large scale, and the technique is completely different. One of the major differences I noticed was the speed at which you need to work: with oils, I paint very slowly and deliberately, but with spray I had to move quickly and smoothly to avoid the buildup of paint in one place (and drips). This can make it difficult (for the inexperienced spray painter like me, at least) to paint precise shapes or small details. For this reason, the planet was the hardest part of the mural. I sketched the circle onto the wall with a compass made of string, but keeping the planet perfectly round as I outlined and then filled it in with spray paint was very difficult. In contrast, one of the advantages of spray paint is how easy it is to blend colors and create gradients. I found it easiest and most satisfying to paint organic forms like the squid and asteroid due to the facility of blending that the spray allowed. I definitely felt I was able to improve my technique and control over the course of working on the mural.
Overall, I loved the experience and can't wait to paint more large-scale murals!
My art is on display at El Refugio, an arts venue in Alicante, from November 8th to December 26th. Here are the paintings on display:
I’m really interested in combining the visual and auditory in art (music is a big inspiration to me!), and these spooky space sounds recorded by NASA definitely inspire me to paint some haunting space scenes. Check them out on NASA’s Soundcloud! They’ll certainly get you in a cosmic + Halloween mood. There’s an awesome variety of sounds, and I especially like the one titled “Radar Echoes from Titan’s Surface”. It’d make a cool part of a soundtrack to a horror movie set in space.
Most of the tracks are downloadable and they make me want to compose some spooky space-inspired music with these sound effects mixed in!
Today I want to share some amazing surreal paintings by one of my favorite artists, Lisa Ericson (http://www.lisaericson.com/). This is a series of hers that depicts fish that morph into elaborate coral reefs, forming habitats for smaller fish. She paints with acrylics and her paintings are hyperrealistic yet very surreal.
I love all of her work, but I especially like this series because, as you probably know, I love aquatic animals! I hope you enjoy these as much as I do.
As I've mentioned before, I like science fiction a lot and get lots of inspiration and ideas from it. I wanted to share one short story in particular that I've always loved: "There Will Come Soft Rains" by Ray Bradbury.
This story gives an eerie look at an automated, post-apocalyptic world free of humans. As you may have noticed, I rarely put people in my paintings. I find that there's more mystery in showing landscapes and even buildings, boats etc without people, and my paintings could even depict a world entirely free of humans, perhaps after humanity's disappearance. Because of this, I appreciate the creepy, empty feeling this story produces by describing a robotic environment completely devoid of human life. The story also touches on the idea of nuclear war, which seems sadly and frighteningly relevant today.
(Click "read more" to see the story)
I wanted to share an article from Colossal, my favorite art & design blog (and my homepage in Google Chrome! Haha). In general, the blog has lots of articles about really cool and creative art and they share a fair amount of science-related art as well. I may share Colossal articles from time to time when I think they're especially interesting and relevant to my art and creative interests.
Give this quick article a read! Not only are the sculpture and old ship beautiful, but the whole project is such a creative way to help reestablish coral and other marine animals.
I also think it would be amazing to see the ship & octopus after they're covered with marine life. It would be so cool to see the form of a giant cephalopod in coral!
An 80-Foot Steel Kraken Will Create an Artificial Coral Reef Near the British Virgin Islands
This past April a massive 80-foot steel kraken was purposefully sunk into the Caribbean Sea on top of a decorated WW2 ship. The former Navy fuel barge and its monstrous passenger were placed underwater in order to jumpstart a new coral ecosystem, while also serving as a cutting-edge education center
I wanted to quickly share a reference photo I used for the whale in my painting "Dive" alongside the finished painting. I hope it's interesting to see how I work off of the photo to bring my vision for the painting to life. Painting from reference photos is important for ensuring that each element of the painting looks realistic.
Magical realism is a genre of literature, generally from Latin America, in which magical or fantastical elements appear in otherwise realistic stories. What I like about this genre and what differentiates it from fantasy is that these fantastical elements are often quite subtle, and are usually treated as normal or unremarkable. Magical realism has long served as inspiration for the style of surrealism in which I make my art.
Here is one of my favorite magical realism short stories. It is called “Continuity of Parks” (Continuidad de los parques), by Julio Cortázar. If you want to read it in its original Spanish, you can do that here: http://ciudadseva.com/texto/continuidad-de-los-parques/. I found the following translation on this page: https://www.utdallas.edu/~aargyros/continuity_of_the_parks.htm. I hope you enjoy it!
(Click "Read More" below to see the story)