Painting Galaxies

This was an experimental video I created to break out of my digital comfort zone. Over the previous few months I was aware that all my content, although usually stemming from a pen and paper sketch, went straight to the computer, where I would mould and shape the idea into something. There’s nothing wrong with that, I am after all a digital motion designer so the computer is always going to be part of the process somewhere along the line.

But recently I’ve had a yearning to create in a different medium. I haven’t picked up a paintbrush in a very long time, and I’ve lost count of the amount of times I’ve looked at a canvas or easel in an art shop and wondered what I’d paint if I had them. So one day just after Christmas I decided to take the plunge. Inspired by a various artist such as Caravaggio and Conor Harrington, I pick out a few tubes of paint that I wanted in my palette. Armed with some paint, I was ready to start. This is where the mist descended and it all went blank.

I wanted to paint, but I didn’t know what to paint. So much was happening in the world and I felt detached and isolated. Anything I put down on a canvas would have to be abstract to reflect where I was. But as my head swirled around contemplating the ideas like miniature nebulas forming, I realised that outside influences would always keep us in flux. The paint had to be fluid and in constant motion.

The only way of achieving this was by capturing the paint on film. So I bought a macro lens for my GoPro and went about setting up the scene. Trouble with a GoPro or my one at lease is you can’t see what you’re filming until you’ve downloaded it. The macro lens needed to be the exact height otherwise the whole process would be a waste of time and paint. Light sources needed to be positioned so as not to reflect from the surface and the camera needed to be steady. Trouble was the canvas was moving. To get round this I got some scrap wood and made a kind of rig for the camera to clip to. Trial and error, but patience prevailed and I got something working, and in focus.

Adding my ingredients into the mix, I started to film. Grabbing the ceramic cooking bowl and the rig, I swirled and sloshed till the camera was full. With oil and gold dust, acrylic and other random stuff swirling around in a cauldron of confusion it’s a wonder I didn’t royally mess up the kitchen.

The title of the piece was Painting Galaxies. It was a realisation that we are an insignificant speck in an infinite universe. But however insignificant we felt, we were still here. All of us being dragged and pushed by forces that were beyond our control. In a mental state of constant flux, existing but not the masters of our destiny. The theme, although somewhat dark was also meant to be a reassurance that “We are not alone”

Connecting the dots was a way of showing how we are influenced and interconnected. The people we love and those we don’t all have a part to play in our journey whether it by politic, spiritual or coincidental.

Music by Felix Leband


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