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About Icon #042

Updated: Sep 17, 2021



This work is a spectacle. Walls are moving, the floor bends, the image itself glitches and while all this happens the main figure continues His way stoically. What is going on?


When I started this work I thought of atmospheres. Two spheres actually. The first was one of swimming pools and infinities from 3D software - fresh and clear, luminous (?) - and of stately wooden panels that are dull, dark and musty. It is history versus future, but also conservatism (appreciating antiques) versus progressivism (loving NFTs).

I like contradictions. Because of contradictions we find new possibilities and ideas. It opens the mind. This effect is greatest when you discover something new that has always been around you, because that makes it personal. We all feel something when thinking of chic and austere wood-panelled rooms, as well as futuristic metaverses. Both are known, but bringing them together turns them into something new.


One of the things I love about working with the computer is that you can distort selections and objects. I like strange and extreme perspectives that don't add up. That might be an element of medieval art that appeals to me so much. With a real icon the perspective might not be right either and that was done intentionally. For example, on a medieval image a figure can be placed in a setting that is both inside and outside; a building is also a throne. By doing so the painter is able to tell a story in one image just like a page of a comic book. Figures will be depicted smaller than in icons that only depict the bust of Christ e.g. and will be placed in an environment; sometimes you see the same figures several times.


Playing with perspective


This Saint is also depicted smaller than my previous digital icons, yet He draws all the attention to Himself. Even when the composition tries to draw the viewers eye away from Him by using large gestures: movement, use of color and strange objects. They rather contribute to a new atmosphere in which our Saint can take its space, because the chaos they cause contrast with what the figure radiates. That is the greatest contradiction in the image and is an intelligent way to use composition to serve the narrative.


It would have been easier to depict the Saint in a different way, for example by using a fragment of a real painted icon. I often choose a difficult path, because then I have to work harder to achieve something. Those extra struggles force you to find new solutions and enable you to discover more. As you can see my work is suggestive. The figure is partly falling apart. He does not have a face with eyes, nose and mouth, instead, you see a Gothic shape. He does have a beard. The cloak is made from my NFT Dauernd Dürer, or actually two Dauernd Dürer's (right and left). I cut away strips and took bites out of it. Look at how I suggested the back of the cloak so that it looks like it continues behind the body.



To make the legs and shoes, I went for a comic-like style: short legs, wide-legged and stubborn 3D shapes that together form the shoes. I let the figure float slightly or the grid is detached from the floor to make it a bit more exciting. I did so by applying two small shadow spots. You could also say that a Saint himself shines light and therefore has no shadow. In this work I turned it around: the walls have no shadow but the Saint does. Yet, it seems as if the floor shines light like a dance floor and the shadow underneath the Saint is created because He reflects the light back, light against light.



Finally, why do these balls from behind float towards us? I don’t know and I don’t wanna know. Neither do I care about the meaning of these brown lines that look like rays of light. They make the situation more dramatic, of course! and provide a strong composition, but above all they encourage the viewer to use their imagination to experience something for themselves. As a maker, I told enough, nothing is worse in art than to overanalyze it.


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