My element for Elements art show.
When I start a new piece, I usually do a bit of brainstorming, note taking, reference image searching and research on the subject. One of the favorite parts of that portion of my creative process is that I usually learn something new. I did just that while doing the research for this one.
This piece is for an art event called Elements. For this show, 50+ artists had to create works inspired by a chosen periodic table element. I chose Sulfur. Not because I have a particular affinity for the element, but because I like the number 16. Using my lucky number choosing strategy, I…well, lucked out.
This little number has a slightly darker vibe than my work usually gives off, but with good reason. It’s because I chose one hell of an element, literally. See, while researching Sulfur, I learned some fairly interesting facts, like:
- It burns with a blue flame.
- Penicillin, which I am allergic to, is sulfur based.
- It makes rubber malleable.
- It was used for fumigation in ancient times.
- It’s also called Brimstone, which I didn’t know and for some reason felt like I should. Which means it’s in the Bible a ton and associated with apocalyptic scenes, wrath and hellfire…which I thought was pretty badass.
That last little nugget of info was my inspiration. Before nailing down imagery, I knew I wanted to use a limited color palette, so I went with grays (darkness) and yellow (the color of sulfur, which comes in crystal form). I read all the passages that contained mention of Brimstone and I couldn’t have asked for more vivid stories to get my brain moving. The bulk of the passages came from the Book of Revelation. The birds in the top corners reference descriptions of birds eating flesh. In the book, there is mention of 3 plagues (fire, smoke and brimstone) which I incorporated into the piece. The main image was my interpretation of what the Horsemen of the Apocalypse would have been riding on. Angry yet beautiful, with fire in their eyes. Now, I had a pre-chosen color scheme to follow, so this horse wasn’t going to be white, red, black or pale. MY vision was grey, which is close to black (a), and (b) anything can happen in art.
See, the darkness was necessary.