Work it!

Currently I am embarking on a personal project called ‘100 walks for health,’ which is based on the idea that I walk 100 times for health. It’s pretty straightforward. And then afterwards I start again. The rules are – the walk has to be over 10 minutes to count (and multiple walks a day count as separate walks), and other things like playing kick to kick or swimming don’t count. Anyway, today I walked in a thunderstorm and it was awesome. (Even if I did get rained on despite my umbrella, and got paranoid about being hit by lightning because it was all around me.)

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In the meantime, I finally finished the inking of Steampunk Elephants or Clearcutting at Dawn. This is how I felt about it yesterday:

photo of the day  - a commen sentiment - by Ravenari

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And this is how it looks today:

Clearcutting at Dawn by Ravenari

What I love so much about this series for the Natcon 50 Future Imperfect art show, is that I get to do something with animals that I’m not normally doing.

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I’ve been taking animals and looking at their natural environment, and then looking at how I’d personally exploit them (not that I want to exploit any animal really) in an imperfect retrofuture, where we only allow animals to survive if they can directly benefit us through work, beauty or medicine/health.

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In this, I liked the idea of genetically modified elephants used in the process of clearcutting to save on fuel and materials needed to build the tractors and bulldozers and so forth needed. Because huge elephants could be engineered, larger trees could be engineered and managed, and the wood yield would increase in a world where there wouldn’t be that much wood remaining.

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Elephants are actually built to take down trees. While some of them will tear at branches, many will actually uproot acacia trees in order to get at the whole top of the plant. Unlike giraffes which evolved to reach the top of the trees, the elephant evolved to just take them down. To then take that natural instinct and accelerate it into a vegetative drive where the elephants even enjoy, or run towards trees that need knocking down, is something that I’ve been contemplating for a science fiction world I’m tempted to set a novel in. Photovoltaic ravens, deforestation-savvy elephants, giant squid that put the ‘giant’ in the name shepherding steamers from place to place in a world where supercell storms are the norm.

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Is it just me, or does anyone else really love that kind of stuff?

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But don’t fret, I’ve been working on a metric fuckton of totem illustrations too, including this recent one of Kookaburra, where the colours are all clashy and glarey, even for me:

Kookaburra as Totem redo by Ravenari

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This one is for sale at Etsy, just follow this link.

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And if you’re interested in what Kookaburra represents as a totem, you can read the full essay here, or just contemplated the keywords:

Laughter. Family. Wooing your partner. Sibling rivalry. Healing others and the self. Conquering fear. Ending old patterns. Turning hurt into happiness. Hunting down your own truths. Signals. God energy. Teaching and sharing your truths with others.

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If you could choose any animal for me to genetically adapt in my dystopian Future Imperfect, what would you choose? 🙂

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And so we come to the end of 2010?

December has been my most productive month of the year, which is kind of saying something considering I’ve done pretty much all the artwork (what looks like over 20 complete pieces, though some were very little) in the last two weeks of the year. That was strange.

It’s seen a return to ye olde ‘as totems’ style, because sometimes the animal totems just want to ping me, and say ‘oy! DRAW US!’ This time it’s been birds from Bosnia / Herzegovina (the blackcap, red-crested pochard, little grebe, and european penduline tit), Mustelids (the european pine marten, siberian weasel, marbled polecat and lesser grison), and members of the Pheasant family (mikado pheasant, palawan peacock pheasant, reeve’s pheasant and the weird-looking blue-eared pheasant).

And then today I was pinged by eagles and raptors in general! Sheesh guys, give it a rest!

The totem that demanded the strangest colour scheme (to me), was the marbled polecat (sneak peek! This one hasn’t been listed anywhere else yet!), pictured below.

marbled polecat as totem by Ravenari

That’s just badass.

Does anyone else make New Years Resolutions? Does anyone else here actually celebrate New Years? I’m not, actually. I plan on going to bed early, and perhaps trying to see if I can sleep through very loud, thuddy parties. I’ll probably have the help of my trusty discman (I’m so oldschool, I’ve gone full circle to retro instead of just ‘too poor for an iPod’, so says Britta, the people’s champion!) and the help of trusty Sigur Ros, which can help me fall asleep, or meditate, to just about anything.

I also have a cat that’s very willing to bite my face. This seems essential to my ability to draw, well… anything!

Whale as Totem (early)

I’m pretty obsessed with drawing animals. And animal totems. And animals as totems. And so on. I know this, because I’ve submitted something like over 300 different deviations into the ‘traditional – animals’ category at my DeviantArt account. And that’s not including animals that count in the ‘fantasy’ category, either.

I love animals. I love that I am an animal. I’m not such a big fan of the dichotomy set up between humans and nature, as though, because we’re capable of creating plastics we are somehow not a part of nature anymore. Sorry to disappoint, but even the destructive things are a part of nature. I am not one of those people who puts humans on a pedestal, or does something equally naive (in my opinion), and castigate them over all other animals.

Whale as Totem - unpublished Australian Animal Oracle Deck

This is ‘Whale as Totem’, from the unpublished Australian Animal Oracle Deck, back when I was still at the beginning of developing my ‘totem artwork’ style. The shapes used are personal symbols, because I found the idea of poaching from Indigenous cultures to be highly distasteful. I also thought that it wouldn’t be too hard to develop a personal symbology; being already very spiritual, and loving seeing meanings in symbols anyway. And it wasn’t that hard.

This is before I was using watercolour pencils (I was scared of them), so all the colouring is via coloured pencils.

I draw what I’m compelled to draw. And animals are part of that. I might not be vegetarian, I might think that plastics are as much a ‘part of nature’ as a bumblebee, even if they’re not biodegradable, but celebrating nature through artwork is part of what I do.