by Beauchamp Art
Recovering a fallen brother. Inspired by the conflict over Patroclus in Homer’s Illiad, and a statue that it inspired.
The range of key element utilised for the production of this image stem from a cross section of sources, primarily derived from found imagery composited and painted in a gradual layering process with the use of opaque gradients and translucent smoke textures in abundance to add to the sickly, smoky scenario.
Foremost was the Patroclus sculpture, which was originally drawn from observing a number of images, however, a composite of two perspective on the sculpture were then used as the subject to have their form traced, with additional alterations and elements added, based on previous concept sketches of the armour and clothes.
The two foreground piles of rubble were taken from stock imagery of recent war torn towns, drawing particularly from the conflict in Syria. The right section was traced through manually, drawing over the different light levels in a tonal monochrome matching the overall colour scheme. The left section was undertaken more systematically, selecting similar areas of tone, incrementally going from the darkest to lightest tone filling each with an appropriate tone from the gradient, then going over the section making alterations, adding details, and refining lighting and other features.
The main tower in the midground was a combination of a the loose, sketchy forms that compose the majority of the middle field of ruins, with The Address Downtown Hotel ablaze at New Years in Dubai partially traced onto on side of the construction, using images from Google. The original sketch of the tower was then moved to the foreground and rotated, before being overridden by the other traced elements.
The desolation from between the tower and the city mostly consisted of scribbled forms with no defined detail, shading or depth, primarily serving as silhouettes against the electric funeral fire of the ghostly green city.
The sci-fi city-state of the Castra, borrows its architecture from a range of contemporary clichés, with the forms of buildings borrowed from Singapore, Seoul, Abu Dhabia, New York, London, and so forth; with the overarching dome borrowed from Yevgeny Zamyatin’s We, both in terms of the descriptions within the novel and the illustration that accompanied the cover of the copy which I read. The was also a general simplification of forms found in other science fiction, such as Futurama, Blade Runner (alongside Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep), Fallout and so forth.
This combination of elements not only provides a richly informed aesthetic to the piece, but also interlaces a range of conflicts and class concerns which the piece (as part of an ongoing narrative series) may be seen to some way allegorise. With the ancient figures drawing from the past, set against the indistinct rubble of domestic ruins of a civilian population, in conjunction with the symbolic high-class high-rise inferno producing a sense of desolation across the ages and social divides, all set before a distant city; a utopic peninsular sustained by its dichotomous counter-relationship and contradiction to the ruins that surround it.
Although the image was painted mostly mono-chromatically in a gradient from dark blue-grey to a muted cyan-tinted bright green, after the post-production and layering of various colour altering effects, the sense of the dull ambient light saturating through the smog to the shapes beyond the confides of the city hopefully gives the piece a nocturnal atmosphere; again taking elements of the neon-aesthetic of the neo-noir of Blade Runner that has being so prolifically influential on the sci-fi that has followed it. Nevertheless, the use of colour and lighting is also a development of a combination of prior works, predominantly Twenty-First Centurion, in terms of the use of green (though pushing the paleness of the tonality further to related back to the ‘Khlōros’ used in the description of Death’s horse) and purple, and In Cibum Tritor for the hazy use of gradients and undefined ambiguous forms to construct an atmospheric landscape with a sense of depth that combines cartooning with allusions to realism.
Hopefully the fantasy setting does not undermine the sincerity intended, given that this is intended to address the sense of loss and apathy that befalls many in a technological apartheid, with the looming sense of imminent destruction forever looming on the horizon, under the pretence of a false utopia that is deliberately engineered to not address issues of inequality and dis-empowerment to further the elite from those which provide them with their wealth and power. Hence, in this image, rather than using the shambolic figures of the Precariai or Decimari as the subject (those already ostracised and victimised by society) the pathetic persons as the subjects of that civilisation which they serve with patriotic hearts that ceases to beat when darkness engulfs it, the same as any other lowly life. So with anguish, the remaining protagonist turns away from the promise of a neon Arcadia for the decimation that surrounds him; for he has seen the world in its horrified form and cannot return to the solemnity of safe obscurity behind his visor and the great glass heaven from which he has been cast (as if from Eden).