So Done Picture

What I have created, is a systematic body of work that integrates conventions and regenerates ideas with painting practice. The concept I plan to explore is appearances versus reality, using the subject of Mythology. I plan to specifically focus and depict this theme through an investigation of the Sirens of Classical Greek mythology.


Predominantly, the painting style I am utilizing, will be one of contrasting murky atmospheric backgrounds (as influenced by New Zealand artist Bill Hammond) with a sharp, flat, graphic graffiti style of painting (as influenced by graffiti artists Aya Tarek and Faith47). The graffiti artists’ flat colour, black, thick line work, and graphic imagery easily juxtaposes and stands out against the murky backgrounds and techniques inspired by Bill Hammond’s painterly, darker style. Aya Tarek’s bright colour palette will contrast starkly with Bill Hammond and Faith47’s use of limited colour palettes. Thus the use of both traditional and graffiti styles will allow juxtaposition in my art, symbolising the contrasts between the appearance of Sirens with their true nature. I enjoy the idea of the two styles contrasting, and the symbolism I could create in my work, through the two styles.


“First you will come to the Sirens who enchant all who come near them. If any one unwarily draws in too close and hears the singing of the Sirens, his wife and children will never welcome him home again, for they sit in a green field and warble him to death with the sweetness of their song. There is a great heap of dead men's bones lying all around, with the flesh still rotting off them. Therefore, pass these Sirens by, and stop your men's ears with wax that none of them may hear...” -Odyssey: Book XII: Homer, one of the earliest recordings of Siren mythology, also one of my favourite stories involving them.

I illustrate appearance and reality by contrasting happy, positive images, with images of death, danger and ruin. The cute Sirens are shown fooling sailors with their appearance, and then there are images of how the sailors have suffered from trusting them. For example, Odysseus screaming because of what the Sirens are telling him, and his desire to join them. Also, sailor’s boats being wrecked, sailors dying, skulls. The Sirens are given a stereotypical beautiful appearance, a way to lure their prey, an appearance juxtaposing their nature/reality.


I found the Sirens, and Greek mythology were important to me for many reasons and a great source of inspiration for my board. I have had an interest in Greek mythology for many years, enjoying not only the original myths from a young age, but also other stories based on the myths, like Harry Potter, and Percy Jackson. One of my favourite places is the beach. I spend all of my time there, and as a child loved playing in the ocean waters and pretending I was a mermaid. I live near Gisborne, a beach town, and yearly visit the coastal town, Waihau Bay. The photographs of the ocean are all my own photographs of Waihau Bay. Thus, I also have a personal interest, not just in the mythological creatures, but their habitat.  

Siren inspiration…

Greek Mythology

I researched many different Greek mythological creatures and tales before finally choosing Sirens.

I also got inspiration form literature…

Nautical tattoos are also a source of inspiration…

Bill Hammond
Faith47
Aya Tarek
Other artists I have had particular inspiration from…
Frances Bacon
Sharkie19

As my board develops, and the reality of the true nature of the Sirens, is made more and more apparent, there is an increase of influence from Frances Bacon, as his art style is excellent for horror (this is especially seen in my dripping backgrounds, and the orange Siren on my painting on my second panel, featuring three Sirens). As influence from Frances Bacon increases, influence from Sharkie19 decreases. Sharkie19 has a cute, cartoonish, stylised technique, more equipped for the first panel, where the Siren’s true nature is most strongly hidden, and their kind appearance predominantly shown. As the board, develops more to illustrate the reality and appearance of the Sirens, it becomes darker and more serious, and Sharpie19’s influence is seen less.


Panel 1


In Panel One, I focus on the introduction of the Sirens and their myth. For example, depicting the Sirens both with and without wings, as this alludes to a part of their mythology, of how they used to have wings, but they were ripped off in a singing contest. Subtly I allude to horrible stories (specifically stories alluding to their singing or violent/deceiving nature), whilst still using bright colours, and happy imagery; illustrating appearance and reality. I begin to introduce Bill Hammond primarily on this panel, by incorporating his murky backgrounds, use of stripes, and other details he puts in his backgrounds, also his particular style of painting wings (e.g. his bird paintings, and my painting of Siren’s with wings). I begin to introduce the theme of appearance and reality. I do this, for example, by contrasting a seemingly calm sea and ship with anchor - with beautiful music playing through - with the wreckage of the damage the Siren’s song has done, and the tempest waiting to unleash itself on the anchor, ship, and sea.


Contrasting is a technique I commonly use to illustrate appearance and reality/the deceiving nature of he Sirens, like the happy, bright sea creatures, and the image of the monochromatic monstrous sea creatures underneath. I also depict appearance and reality through the image of the Siren cut into boxes. She initially appears human, from the waist up, but waist down, the reality of her tail and mythical nature is revealed. The theme of appearance and reality is only in the early stages in Panel 1 though, Panel 2 is where is is more abundant, Panel 1 primarily focusses on the introduction of the Siren’s. On this first panel, I am experimenting with different art styles, thus my artist models are not as strongly shown here. However, lines dripping down – a feature of Bill Hammond – features in the three Siren’s painting, and the painting with the angler fish, shark, octopus etc.

Panel 2


Panel One has fully introduced the topic, and now Panel 2 fully focusses on the theme, appearance and reality. Panel Two focusses on the transition between the Siren’s beautiful appearance, and their harsh reality. With images featuring the wreckage they create (e.g. singing mermaid with ghostly pirate ship), how they deceive their victims (e.g. sailor being dragged into the ocean by beautiful Siren), and images just generalizing, and illustrating the different faces and façades of the Siren’s reality and appearance (e.g. the long portrait paintings). Sweet images of Sirens, are contrasted with brutal actions, and truly terrifying realities. Also the power of their song is further explored from the first series, of the Siren song passing through the ships and anchors. The idea of their beautiful song having a deadly reality and affect, is further shown. It’s shown, with the yellow Siren singing to wreck the ship, and the pink mermaid singing to lure the sailor. The dripping splattered backgrounds of Bill Hammond are apparent, especially in the second half of the panel. Strong, prominent line work, and stylised figures, illustrates influence from my graffiti artist models, Aya Tarek and Faith47.  

Panel 3


Panel 3 is illustrating the true horror of not just the Siren’s actions, but how they are truly rotten to the core. Whereas the first Panel focused on introducing the Sirens, and had them appearing reasonably sweet and innocent, and panel two properly began the transition between appearance and reality, in panel 3 the nice appearance is completely stripped away. This board focusses on the reality of the death and destruction the Siren’s cause. There is even an image of the beautiful Siren, confronting the reality of her actions, staring at the skull of a victim, mouth open as if she cares so little about the life lost, she is already ready to sing more sailors to death. The board ends, illustrating how not only are their actions terrible, but the Sirens are dead and rotten inside as well. Beauty is only skin deep. They don’t just murder others, but are also dead inside themselves. If this board was to continue for another panel, it might explore the terrible consequences of the Siren’s actions, and just how monstrous they are inside and out. It illustrates, how there have been consequences for their actions, the Sirens are nothing. Again, thick line work, stylised figures, and murky dripping backgrounds, have been utilised to illustrate my main artist models. The severely cartoony figures have been replaced with mildly cartoonish, stylised figures, illustrating how Sharkie19’s influence is completely gone, and my other artist models are more strongly used here.  

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