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The Story of SPLIT

Hello traveller, it's about time I started using this blog properly. So let's explore one of my works! Today I'll be sharing with you the background behind my "SPLIT" oil painting. It all started in high school, when I was around 15 years old. Art and Design was the only subject I really excelled in during my school years. We had been given a project, unfortunately the brief for this particular project escapes my mind. But I remember that I had in my head an image of what I wanted to paint. The image was half a mans face in pain and the other half a tribal mask, I can't explain the reasoning for this image but it's just what I wanted to paint.

"Untitled" 2001 Acrylic, oil pastel on wood board

After this paintings creation, I put it aside in my bedroom and didn't think about it again. I spent years at art college pursuing illustration, I got it into my head that drawing was what I was supposed to do. And this initial painting was still sat in the back of a cupboard, forgotten about. In 2012 I felt like being creative, so I picked up some canvas, and got to work. I created the first version of "SPLIT" using marker pens on canvas. The result was a crudely drawn out image similar, yet more monstrous than the piece I created in school. Little did I know that this piece was just a sketch for a painting I had not thought of painting yet.

"SPLIT" 2012 Marker Pen on box canvas

The image immediately reminded me of that old forgotten piece, but when I went to look for it I couldn't find it. Lost somewhere along the road in my carefree youthful days. I still had a photo though, kept safe on a flash-drive. Later that year, in 2012, I painted a similar painting to "SPLIT" predictably titled "SPLIT 2" this time it was more alien and the monstrous faces more merged. This one had breasts too, suggesting that it might be the female counterpart to the first painting. This one was created using acrylic and marker pen, and was the first painting I painted since 2001.

"SPLIT 2" 2012 Acrylic and marker on canvas

Again, the years went by, but this time I had started painting more prolifically, keeping track of the pieces I painted. SPLIT 2 found a home with a good friend, but SPLIT still felt very unfinished to me. Then on the 15th June 2020 as I was sorting through some old paintings, I saw this guy looking at me and I decided to paint on top of the marker drawn piece with oil paints. Happy with the result I put it into storage with the rest of my completed works.

"SPLIT" (remastered) 2020 Oil paint on box canvas

So that's the brief history behind this piece, a series of forgotten ideas and paintings, appearing before me again at different stages of my life. But there was one more stage, I felt this piece holds historic significance to my works, so I decided to create an animated NFT version so store on the blockchain via SuperRare. As I do with all my animated paintings I try to keep the animation the same as the painting but enhancing the color and adding details. For the motion, I imagined the faces to each be whole, and the head shaking whilst the faces morph into each other, each side fighting to gain full dominance. I had to mirror each side of the face digitally and then merge them together to create two separate faces. I then animated the two faces separate and put them together with the background and shirt, merging them into each other using a transition.

This is when I really sat down and thought about this piece, I have a habit of painting and not thinking, I paint what I feel or whatever comes out of me. Sitting down and really thinking about what I painted and why I painted is something that I should do a lot more. So I first thought about why the split face? I've never been diagnosed with any disorders yet I'm sure I suffer from some sort of bipolar, I have days where everything is great, I'm winning all the time no matter what, then other days of complete despair. These feelings or highs and lows have settled down the older I've got, or maybe I've just calmed down. But I believe this is the reasoning for the split faces. Other items in this work; the shadow demon in the background that was an easy one, I get sleep paralysis and see shadowy figures standing in doorways or at the top of my stairs. These shadow creatures often slip out of my subconscious. The hot glowing sun, the stars and black sky, give a feeling that we're not on this earth but we're somewhere in the cosmos. The bird on the red star has me stumped. There must be a reason for it to come from my subconscious onto canvas but it's yet to hit me. The red chequered shirt, my favourite shirt when I was younger, another reason for me to assume this is in a way a self portrait. I hope you've enjoyed learning more about this piece in particular, and maybe a bit more about me and why I do the things I do. The NFT version of SPLIT can be viewed on SuperRare here: https://superrare.com/artwork-v2/split-24864 Thanks for reading, I'm new to this whole blog thing so when I work it all out I'll create a button to let you subscribe so you can keep up to date, for now just keep them peepers peeled on my twitter!

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