Sunday, 13 December 2015

Gerhard's Memento Mori

(from Gerz Blog, 27 November 2015)
I had a commission idea; in short, a skull and a candle next to each other in the dark. The reason this interests me is not as some dark or gothic thing, but rather as the old artistic idea of a ‘memento mori’ or ‘vanitas’, a constant reminder that life can be short and we need to live it while we're here. I'm curious to see what your take on these ancient themes would be, and I think it would be a showcase of your inking skills to convey the light, dark and shadows. Just to make it a challenge, perhaps add a mirror?
~ Erik K.
I always wonder why people need to make commissions 'challenging'. Nobody ever says, 'Just to make it fun and easy... The concept I wanted to convey was that everything reflected in the mirror has 'passed'; the candle extinguished; the flowers wilted; the sand in the hourglass has trickled down; and the skull would represent the reflection of the viewer.
Once I was reasonably sure of the concept I become more concerned with the composition and the mechanics of reflection. I assembled of few props from around the apartment. Including taping two egg cups together to represent the hour glass. I wanted to get the lighting right. I moved everything to the end of of the hallway, blocked out the daylight and lit the candle...

I had added some foreground elements like the coins and jewelry to reinforce the concept of  'fleeting things in life'. I used this photo for reference. I changed the candle holder to something more visually interesting; changed the egg cups into an hourglass; changed the vase to cut glass; the flowers to narcissuses; and added the skull. 

And here's the final inked piece. Ta Da!


Anonymous said...

This is a great piece. Great execution (no pun intended) of the mirror concept.

Looking at this, I thought, somebody must have thought of something like this before. But I couldn't find anything like it in a Google search. If the idea is original, it would be a great print. I could see this having a wide appeal.

- Reginald P.

jonbly said...

What he said.

Jeff Seiler said...

What do the book and the pitcher represent?

CerebusTV said...

You definitely rise to the challenge, whatever they come up with! Sheesh.

Max West said...

Gerhard proves his genius once more!