That's right, like the supermarkets I started work on my Easter project at the start of this year and I hope to be finished if not before then soon after Valentines day.
Unlike the super markets though I have very good reasons (beyond profit) for starting early. I conceived of the idea for my BIG painting for the Easter season just before New years. And it has taken about a month from concept through design and now preparation to be at the point where I can sit down and begin the actual painting.
Why the hell has it taken so long some of you may be asking? Well first of all it is a stencil project; meaning that even after the stencils have been designed they need to be cut out. And this one has proved to be a long time cutting. That's not to dismiss the design side of it which alone took 50+ hours, most in the small hours of the morning/late evening sat at a computer pointing and clicking.
There are some stencil makers who let programs such as Photoshop select and 'draw' the stencils for them, others who do it all by hand. Frankly I don't have the skills to draw freehand some of the ideas/concepts I come up with; And when it comes to computers, well, I see them as a tool to be used. Not something to do the work for you but something too make the work easier. Not to mention the hours spent finding 'just the right' image/s to work with whilst also maintaining copyright integrity. That is not to say that I'm above using a copyrighted image but that it is a decision that has to be balanced for each image individually. For example the McDonald's logo for a politico-social parody... Fair game. Another artists work because they can draw it better than me... Not.
The Easter stencil project does feature a piece of artwork from another artist. It features a depiction of the crucifixion by the artist Francisco de Zurbarán. This has been used not as an intention to 'steal' the artists work but for the use of parody as in the case of the McDonald's logo; In the case of religious iconography most if not all have now achieved the same status as that of a corporate logo. Organized religion has in fact stripped itself of the miraculous by making everything regimented and ordered. Gone is the spontaneity, glory and wonder and, in it's place is just another 'brand' to be sold to the masses in the same capitalist ways that they are sold their food, clothes and luxury items.
As you may have guessed this project is not simply another 'I like this subject I'll do a painting of it' piece of work from me. This is something a lot closer to my heart and beliefs. It may shock some, it will definitly offend certain others; My only hope is that it is not simply lost in the myriad of anti-religious-establishment works that fill the net like a torrent bursting forth from the pits of Tartarus.
I will have more to say on this piece, there will also be further posts and hopefully a process of production video for peopl to watch, share and enjoy. For now all I will say is that each painting will be roughly A3 in size consist of 15 layers of stencils (16 if one includes the canvas background itself) consisting of 14 colours. I intend to produce 4 different colour variations (paint stocks withstanding), and now with out further ado some process photographs of the layers themselves. (Some of the cut out pieces are as small as 1mm2, which is why it took about three weeks relative time (40+ subjective) to cut it all out).
Here are a couple of shots of how the layers line up. 'Cause I know some of you out there get their kicks from this sort of thing.