The trial of producing a huge art project

For past six months, I’ve been working myself to the bone in producing what is perhaps my biggest art project yet. Simply put it, its a series of books (which I call “visual art albums”) that deal with aspects of Christianity through a more surreal prism of thought. I originally conceived it as a project about world beliefs in general, but I encountered several problems during the research phase of the project, and thus I changed the overall theme of the project.

A lot of my time has been devoted to finishing the project that I started, and so I’d like tonight’s post to talk about what goes on behind the scenes, and offer some insight into the project’s concept, creation, and production.

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Book III (The Houses of God), shown being produced during today’s sessions.

The project was originally titled “Visions”, then I changed the name of the project to “In the Valley of the Shadow of Faith”, and that name ran until last week, when I decided to change its named to “The Shadow Bible” (I name I chose for when it becomes a published book). I have made nine A2 folders, each of which are meant to contain 11 artworks, along with text and additional embellishments across 48 pages per book (as a whole book, this would be 432 pages long). I made it this way because I thought there would be nine units in the second year of my art course. This was eventually proven wrong. There were eight units, and only one could accommodate my project, so I’ve been working on the whole project alongside the other assignments. As you could imagine, it’s been a living hell managing all this.

Much of the project was conceived a few months before production actually started. In May 2015, I began to plan out my ideas, and August, I began making the book folders. Meanwhile, the planning phase of the project, wherein I would organize my various ideas and concepts for the project (at least by name), continued until November. I produced the artwork starting as early as September, but did this sporadically until November 17th, when I began producing artworks almost every day until February 4th, when I had finished all the artworks relevant to the project. The week before was when I finished the first book (or rather the eighth in chronological order), and from then on I began focusing on the books.

Today, I’m on what could be considered the final stages of the project. I had finished all 99 artworks, and so all that’s left is to finish the books, writing for each one along the way. I made the actual artworks as drawings and paintings, experimenting with various mediums. The books are each made using 24 sheets of tropical paper (except for one book which uses metallic paper), with each side displaying either an artwork, the text to go with the artwork, or anything else that I use to fill the remaining pages. The artwork is stuck down to the pages using double-sided tape, and since one roll runs out after around two and a half books, I had to buy it in bulk. Each book can take up to a total 12 hours to produce (which is why I split off production into separate sessions, each lasting up to four hours). The text is written using pencils, and exhibits a style of writing that doesn’t adhere any current precepts of creative writing (mainly because I don’t know any).

For the books, I want to convey narrative with a lyrical style of writing. This is in part due to the fact that I derived the concept of the project from music albums and the booklets that come with them (particularly vinyl records, and especially Christian Death LP’s). In fact, the writing in the project was influenced by the music I listen to on a daily basis. Sadly, this is not a collaborative effort, so I’ve had to do all the production and writing by myself, and I have until May to complete it. I’m on track, but it’s been a long and exhausting road to get to where I am now. It’s also been quite an expensive project. The amount of A2 card I need to finish the project has so far costed me a total of £120, with other costs being incurred in buying new pencils and replacing any paints that have run out. I’d say the project has so far cost me upwards of £300 to produce. Considering that I have no income, I’m lucky that I’m able to afford everything.

Producing “The Shadow Bible” has been quite a trying part of my life, but I feel that the experience has been a test of character. In my opinion, some of my best artworks have emerged from the sessions, and it’s on this project that I’ve actually started visualizing what I might want to produce in my later years. There’s also the prospect of releasing this whole project as a published book (which, according to one of my lecturers, it is entirely possible to do). That sounds like the most exciting prospect in years. I don’t know when it’ll happen, but if it works, who knows what could happen.

Until I start university, I’m certain that this is the hardest project I’ve ever done, but when it’s done, it’ll be one of the most satisfying things I’ve done yet, mainly because of the sheer ambition and scope of the project. Throughout the project, I felt like I was making something nobody else had done before (then again, I’m sure most people have more sense), and I think that’s been keeping me going all this time, that and the fact that I was making something I truly wanted to for the first time in many years. For all its ups and downs, I have high hopes for the project, and if given the chance, I’d do it again (though, hopefully, it’d be a lot shorter).

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We have laws because we’re still dumb

It’s generally believed that laws exist to ensure society can work properly, while some believe that laws don’t exist for any real reason, and that we don’t need them at all. The truth is that we do need laws, but only because mankind is currently too stupid to regulate itself. This, of course, leaves us open to exploitation at the hands of those who seek only to control us, so they can make money off of us.

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These sheep should illustrate the point.

I think the concept of law only came up during the advent of civilization, when man began separating himself from nature and built settlements all over the land. When civilization came, so did our perspectives of “right” and “wrong”, later romanticized as “good” and “evil”. People tend to believe that without laws, there is no morality, which is about as stupid as saying that without God there is no morality.

Some even question if the law really exists. This kind of question makes sense, since, as far as we’re concerned, we’re the first and only sentient creatures. Law is a concept created by people. It has no power unless we decide as a species that it does. Governments, therefore, exist to demonstrate the idea that laws are more than just the paper they’re written on. Unfortunately, that power can be used for anything, and it’s very easy for government officials to break those rules, simply because they don’t believe that certain laws apply to them.

We’ve often glamorized the law, but we’ve simultaneously vilified it as well, if mainly because people want to hear an entertaining story. You could say that having laws is the price of security, but what kind of price is that? You could also say that the innocent have nothing to fear, but to what extent is this true? In lieu of thousands of years of regulation by those with an ulterior motive, it has always been mankind’s dream to regulate himself. If we’re capable of doing anything in this world, what’s stopping us from being able to regulate ourselves?

I think the one thing that has kept us from the path of self-regulation is merely the fact that we’ve been conditioned to believe that the law has a purpose, and that it is all-powerful. Since we have been taught that the law is this objective concept that must be followed, our brains (which are still technically stuck in the Stone Age) compute obeying the law as a means of survival. To put it in another way, we believe in laws because we haven’t known any other way.

Due to being passed down through generations as though it were a tradition, the idea of law has become one of the oldest paradigms still present in our society. This immense power over the collective psyche is what prevents mankind from taking the next step in the progress of our species: self-rule.

However, this completely ignores the possibility of rebellion. Rebellion exists because we’re still human, and it’s because we’re human that we eventually grow tired of certain laws, especially when certain laws that are conceived go too far, or are just plain stupid to begin with. I think that the concept of law hasn’t been completely ingrained, since it is also a human instinct to try and find a way around the law. This is why black markets and smuggling rings exist, and they succeed because the people behind them are clever enough to stay under the radar.

In conclusion, the law survives because we are taught to accept it as a fact. However, once the concept of self-rule has been developed in a manner that it can be passed down through generations to come, we may be able to reverse this paradigm, hopefully achieving true freedom for the first time in human history, where we know for ourselves what’s wrong or right.