This is the digital artwork that I created to accompany the Icon Alchemy astrology blog post for February 12th, 2017. It's based on a photo of my bedroom in one of the many places I've lived in over the years. No, the skeleton seen through the portal isn't me - it's an Indonesian wood carving.
Since I'm currently living in my parents' home while acting as guardian to my terminally ill and incapacitated stepmother, death has been on my mind lately. My father died ten years ago, and both his parents died when I was in high school, as did my stepmother's mother. My father's adoptive father died when I was four - the first death I remember. My maternal grandmother died recently, following her husband who died around the time my father went. My stepmother repeatedly and vocally wished for death following the death of my father, but in a cruel twist of fate she is now captive in her own body and has been for a few years, waiting to die and yet somehow still remaining, with no prognosis for how long her captivity will last.
Combine all of that with the facts that cancer has galloped through my family over the years and that my own health problems have re-asserted themselves in new and ugly ways since I returned to the Pacific Northwest, and I have become increasingly conscious of mortality. As a triple Capricorn, I've long felt a sense of urgency to create something lasting in the time remaining to me, but given the radical transitions that my life has undergone in recent years, my sense of my own capability to do that has been turned on its head. I still have hopes and dreams and plans, but I've had to recognize their fragility and that has had me questioning my purpose on the planet, which of course can lead down some very morbid paths. Part of why I create art is to combat my worst thought patterns, pulling myself out of my head through action, or at the very least making imagery that puts my head in a different place.
While I've been creating lots of colourful digital images with fairly pop overtones lately, sometimes my more gothic sensibilities come to the surface. As an isolated kid with an early familiarity with death, cemetery art and memento mori imagery came into my consciousness sooner than for most, and now and again re-assert themselves in my artwork. With Pluto (planet of transformation and death) slowly approaching my natal Venus, Sun, and Mercury over the past few years, with the conjunctions to each beginning in 2019, I suspect that Pluto-related themes will be showing up more and more in my work, especially given my current living situation and responsibilities toward what remains of my family.
Particularly in the gothic subculture, a lot of death-oriented art seems to be of the monochromatic sort. In art as in life, I occupy a liminal space between the night and darkness that is my home and the colour of tattoos and comic books that have increasingly informed my style over the years. This piece is an attempt to express some of what I see in that space.