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About Icon #040

Let’s do a deep dive. I already wrote two articles on icons - and I am sure I will write some more - but let’s talk about one piece: Icon #040. I made 39 icons prior to this one: all tangible paintings and drawings.

Since I got introduced into the NFT space I immediately wanted to make a digital icon painting. Mind you, just because these works are digital, doesn’t mean I approach them differently let alone value them less!

For this work I used Adobe Illustrator. I started with a yellow background - I often think in spheres and this color came to mind - then I went on playing with some shapes and patterns. I was thinking about Daniël Richter, Thomas Scheibitz and Francis Bacon. These gentlemen have the ability to make long brushstrokes that interact with shape - drawing meets painting - I love that! However, while trying out some shapes, I noticed that the pattern was leading me towards something else.

The pattern

When I found my pattern, I used it to decorate the coat and collar. Then I started working on the head. I drew a halo outline and played with various brushes and colors to determine the shape of the head. The head sunk down to the body covering up most the collar and a hat appeared.

During the process I started to love the yellow atmosphere, it is so fresh!, but I didn’t want it to be too sparkling. Carefully I painted with grays to bring balance to the work. They also covered up some older details which is fine: it is part of my process and it brings depth to the work. By that I mean the work is not too clean, too perfect. For myself I don’t want a work to be perfected in that way, the shape needs to be found during the process of creation.

By now I recognize a human or saint-like shape. But he or she isn’t doing anything. There needs to be a reason for this painting to exist: why is this painting worth making? What do we witness as viewers? These are questions I ask myself, but by no means I am interested in the answer. The answer would kill the painting.

So I gave the figure a stick to hold; apparently this saint needs a tool. Suddenly the figure seems to be moving. Slowly walking towards something…

For the hand I used different shapes, brushes and gradients. Yet again I needed to balance the distinguished colors with the overall painting. I revisited that area quite some bit to get it right.

Hand made out of different shapes, brushes and gradients

I was almost there I felt, but the surroundings where still a bit boring. It needed wind or depth or some kind of chaos to make it more exciting. Not too much, but something pleasant. That is when I added these darker blocks that are sucked towards the infinite. I adjusted the transparency level of each of these blocks to let them blend into the painting.

By now the painting seems to be finished. As of than I become insecure. Is it any good? does it excite me? can it stand on its own? are the questions that come to mind. I need to go through that process. If I can’t find the answers myself I will ask some critical minds to help me reflect on it. This process takes some time and it makes me restless. I start to fall in love with the work and it won’t let me go, or there is something that irritates me that needs to be fixed. Every now and then during the day I need to sit with the work a bit longer. Than finally my enthusiasm wins and I NEED to share it with the world.

Now you know how Icon #040 was made. I hope you enjoy the work just as I do.

Icon #040

Available at HIC ET NUNC:

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