top of page

February 29, 2024

Updated: Apr 24

Well, I had a whole post written out to accompany this art update all the way back in November, but everything with my art and blog was put on hiatus for a few months after the date for my double jaw surgery was confirmed.

The last three months have easily been the weirdest, and at times most challenging, of my life. There was immense stress for a few weeks leading up to the surgery, not even so much because of the physical harm and risk of complications inherent in the procedure (which was every bit as brutal as advertised) but more about managing the doctor appointments, paperwork, insurance, and finances involved just to get the whole thing set up.

The surgery happened on December 20, 2023, and it's taken me nearly two months to get back to a regular exercise routine, art routine, and generally just feeling like a normal human being again. There are a million things I feel I could say about that experience, including the fact that my face has changed and people in the world interact with me differently than before, but it's probably best to leave most of that to the art itself and let things come out naturally through future blog posts...

Suffice to say, it's all good fodder for surrealist drawing.

Speaking of which, let's do an art update. It's been a minute since I shared images for this one, which I've titled Epistemic Machinations. Here's the final color palette with all the "flats" worked out. (You can check out the ink work for it here.)

surrealist art of giant cyborg emerging from forest and mountain landscape

Surprisingly, I didn't tinker with color palettes for this one nearly as much as the other dark fantasy art I've been working on. I originally tried a night setting for it with blues and yellows, but I had just finished Traversing Illusory Sequences and felt the colors were too similar, so I switched gears and tried an overly warm daylight palette and was surprised to find I liked it. It just kind of clicked.

I think this is the fastest I've put together the color palette for a drawing since I got serious about my art again a couple years ago. (Likely related: this is also the most monochromatic piece I've created so far.) However, the actual rendering of the colors (shading, highlighting, lighting effects, etc.) got pushed back beyond other drawings that came after this one. Not sure why exactly, just how the work flow went, but I have two pieces I created after this one that are now completely finished and I'm still chipping away at the last bits of color for this one.

red and orange dark fantasy art of cybernetic monster head

As always, I'll get into details about the imagery and symbolism behind the visuals when I share the final color work, but for now it's enough to say this piece is a continuation of the themes I discussed for Traversing Illusory Sequences. Specifically, Epistemic Machinations reflects my ongoing effort to change and evolve as a person and some of the conflicts and confusion involved with shifting my own behaviors and how I show up in the world.

I'm still wrestling with some of those things, though I can now clearly see how effective the last two and a half years of personal development work have been. I can also clearly see how much better and more efficient I've become at the actual process of learning and implementing new information into my life.

red and orange ink drawing depicting fingers and trees

One thing I was really diving into before the surgery was the topic of masculinity. It seems insane and sad to me to be reading about and researching this topic now in my early 40s, but the reality is that I had never been exposed to any conversations about masculinity from family, friends, school, or work until just a couple years ago when it was ironically put before me by a female therapist.

I think there's a very simple reason for why this topic comes up so rarely among men and why most of us never address it or confront it directly: there is nothing more valuable to a guy than his own sense of masculinity, and it would be deeply embarrassing – even shameful – for most of us to make it into adulthood and then admit there's anything we don't already know about being a man. Most guys become belligerent and combative at the suggestion they are not already perfect representations of a masculine ideal.

Of course, in order to improve ourselves at anything we must first acknowledge our imperfections, and so the majority of us stumble through life remaining ignorant to our own misguided behaviors. The result is a lot of weak, ineffective men imitating a poorly defined and unhealthy sense of masculinity we've absorbed from family and Western culture while being surprisingly fragile beneath the veneer.

I've seen this in numerous guys I've known personally, and sadly, it was me for much of my life as well. I talked pretty extensively about the start of my own journey with this in my write-up for Rotting Paradigms, but my thinking around this has really blown open recently. I've been absorbing a lot of great info (including some fascinating stuff from the realm of evolutionary psychology) and exploring my own personal conception of what healthy masculinity looks like. This topic definitely ties into the art for Epistemic Machinations, so I'll dig into more detail on it when I share the finished art for it.

That's pretty much all for now. I ended up scrapping the much longer post I had written out here before, as it no longer reflects where I'm at in life and I felt it was necessary to hit the reset button on the blog a little bit here.

I'm just happy to feel human again and be comfortable working on art and blog stuff once more. See you all soon.

sunset over mountains in comic book art style


bottom of page