June 30th, 2014


Art Project: In the Hall of Titans King

It is an old practice for artists to take their inspirational cues from legends, fables, scripture for that matter, and even from other artists work particularly if work comes out of any of the above.

Creating art which comes from a science fiction source (as it were) often requires what people think of as 'special effects' work -- think either the energy beam of Star Trek phasers or Star Wars light sabres, or the transporter effect from Star Trek and yes I reveal some of my fandoms here. Composite work where the artist combines and blends two or more images into a final which exists primarily in their imagination is one of these special effects. Long before 'blue screen' (more properly labeled chroma-key and often using green rather than blue) either stage backdrops or glass screens were painted for the 'alien' landscape and then worked into the scene takes from the storyline. A variation on this is known as 'split screen', another variation is 'back projection'.

One of the pieces I've been working up for, oh, nigh on a couple two-three years calendar time from the creation of one of the components progressed under the 'working title' In the Hall of the Mountain King. This is of course the title of a musical piece written by Edvard Grieg for Henrik Ibsens play Peer Gynt. The play storyline is from a Norwegian fairy tale. So per the opening statement here, the subject of the piece hearkens back to a fairy tale, yet as I worked I knew it held no more linkage to that specific fairy tale than the working title.

Composite pieces are intended to create, as mentioned, a place, a vision, which exists primarily in the artists minds eye. I am frequently asked 'Where is that' related to one or another of my composites. Sometimes my curmudgeonly nature comes through and I obstinately answer, In My Head. This despite recognising that people are asking so that they might be able, some day, to go to a 'place' and see it for themselves. Hobbiton, The Shire is an example of that; Tolkien first established that place in his minds eye writing both The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. Peter Jackson and associates then created it somewhere in New Zealand to film those sequences for that version of the trilogy. As I understand it, this is now something of a tourist attraction.

Jerry Uelsmann is my first inspiration for this type of work, and I've no idea truly how he might answer the same question. However, in my less curmudgeonly moments I may be a bit more forthcoming about sources, perhaps, or might answer fairly simply yet politely:

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Again, then, from a primarily technical point of reference:
- Approximately 72 hours of work
- Two different image manipulation software packages, starting in Photoshop 7 and completing in Gimp
- Seven different images provide the component pieces in total or in part
- Yes, I do pun my titles

The working title, or project title, came along as I started putting things together. That also lets you know some of my musical inclinations, even if I'm not telling you the different 'covers' of the piece I've heard. It isn't a re-telling of the fable, or the play that grew from the fable, or even the specifics of the musical piece as background for a scene in the fable. It is my own short story, 1000 words more or less, which still leaves questions unanswered. The working title did lead to the final title, once I added the celestial image to the overall.

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