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New Artwork and Music

4 Aug

Spent the night and all morning preparing new pieces of paper with coffee, wormwood tincture and fresh leaves from my datura plants. Now the paper is drying, then has to be pressed and then can be drawn on with ink. I am planning on a small series of inked sigils and perhaps one or two realistic datura plant drawings. Besides this, I yet have to prepare the paper for my next mandrake series and I also have a few new tinctures in the making. Meanwhile, here are my most recent ink drawings from past weeks (all sold and shipped):

While working with the datura I was blessed with new music by a lady, who creates audio-visual compositions inspired by the same plants that I grow and revere in my art. The project goes by the name CHTHONIA. I was given six tracks, to which I did not listen consciously, but rather had them running in the background. Yet there were moments, where I’d listen up and think, “well, this strangely harmonizes with how I perceive the plant’s character”. A very interesting experiment and endeavor, of which I hope we will soon hear more.

Ostrale 2017, Opening

3 Aug

Impressions from the opening of Dresden’s Ostrale 2017, third largest exhibition for contemporary art in Germany. This year’s motto “re_form” reflects on cultural and political changes, with 1118 works by 164 artists from 25 nations. Noteworthy, the NSK (Neue Slovenische Kunst) state in time has its own “protectorate” in the exhibition halls.

Soundlab inside artistgroup SARDH and Said Dokins and Leonardo Luna (MEX) opened the exhibition with a sound/light installation. Alexander Nym (Kultur-Aktiv e.V. Dresden) gave a thought provoking opening speech (video uploaded with permission).

Meditation

22 Apr

I submitted three artworks to “Not for Print, Issue 02 – Resist” on ello.co, sponsored by WeTransfer

The first piece is an old sketchbook drawing, called “Meditation”. It is quite simply about withdrawal from the world and seeking refuge in nature, a “silent resistance” if you will.

Harvest Seal (or making sure, you reap what you sow)

26 Feb
Reaping Seal

Original “Harvest Seal”, 2011

I am writing this due to recent events. I thought this was yesterday’s news, but apparently it isn’t. So once again:

The above design is my work.

It has been spreading on the internet, which is great.

What is not so great is, that it continues to be mistaken for being in the “public domain” (it isn’t). E.g. it has happened repeatedly that people used it for promoting their events, printed it on t-shirts and other types of merchandise, without knowing that the original design was by me and without awareness of the original context and purpose for which I designed it.

To shed some light (and hopefully to prevent future abuse and misuse), I explain here the concept behind the image and why it would be not particularly smart to employ it out of context.

I created the sigil in 2011 with ink and initially titled it “reaping seal”. I designed it for myself, as I was looking for a suitable sigil to burn on my altar table. It is pyrographed in the center, along with other esoteric glyphs and illustrative elements (the usual “satanic” suspects, serpents, pentagram etc.). Here are some photos of the table with different powerful herbs placed on it (some harvested by myself, others sent to me by fellow practitioners):

My other sigil designs are inspired by my study of and practical work with traditional “witch herbs”. But before that I had been illustrating occult books, where my job was mainly to execute other’s ideas and visions. I literally “inked” hundreds of sigils from another author and this way became familiar with current specific symbolism and its peculiarities. I understood that in order to develop artistically I would have to come up with my own designs, also in my personal ritual work, rather than replicate another’s. This posed a challenge since the illustration job had inevitably left a trace on me and I was stuck in its forms.

The then so-called “reaping seal” serves as an example for a transition period, both in my art as well as ritual work.

The design plays with harvest symbolism, with sickles and quarters (connected to the four seasons, the four elements and returning cycles). It carries obvious references to the aforementioned occult forms employed within said books. (I do not name the book titles here, not because I do not want to give credit, but because the magi of said current do not like to see official links made between real names and their esoteric teachings, which is a rule I generally respect, but which was also the reason why I had to start creating my own designs if I wanted to get more jobs as an artist).

It should be clear now why (due to the aforementioned influence) it would not be smart to use the seal out of context. I uploaded the digital image to my Pinterest account years ago (I do not remember when exactly I pinned it there and Pinterest does not provide such information). I also uploaded (and later deleted) the image to my occult art page on Facebook, as well as a photo of the pyrographed altar table. I changed the title to “harvest seal”, which does not sound as grim.

I always note in the comments that I am the creator of the work and do not wish for my work to be used without permission. Most of the time people respect this wish. But apparently sharing a work on online platforms such as Pinterest means that some people consider it free to use as they please: from changing or deleting the original artist comment, to downloading and re-uploading, this way erasing all traces of the original source. Low resolutions seem to be no obstacle either these days, because there is software capable of vectorizing the smallest images. Due to this (and because the sigil seems to be really popular with esoteric online folks) it has sadly become one of my most stolen artworks. From witches printing it on their products to bands using it on their merchandise or for advertising events – it has happened and continues to happen. Once some band even claimed old illustration work of mine as their “graphic designer’s own creation”. But even individuals that bother doing a check-up and search the original artist behind artwork they find online and would like to use, end up being fooled. The question is not so much, who is to blame, but what to do about it.

No longer uploading my work online cannot be the way. Marking all works with bold ugly watermarks cannot be the way either (especially if the work is already a mark of sorts on its own). Putting a lawyer in charge – sorry, but I don’t make that much money. Contacting google – I have been told this would be the most efficient way, alas I may need help there by someone, who has already been through the process and could guide my step by step.

I am hence thankful that my followers are keeping an eye out and bring art theft to my attention. I am also thankful for everyone that reacts positive and respects my copyright. As it happens to be, once the connection is made, I sometimes end up with new illustration jobs. An example is the altered “harvest seal” I created specifically for the “Samhain Celebration” in Gotha:

"Samhain Celebration" merch bundle, Nov. 2016

“Samhain Celebration” merch bundle, Nov. 2016

With my consent and being compensated, the organizer was welcome to use the design on all merchandise sold on that evening and it was also painted on the backdrop used only on that night:

"Samhain Celebration" Gotha, 2016

“Samhain Celebration” Gotha, 2016

Earlier, I made my own set up with the seal, employing it in the blessing of my seed boxes before they were shipped to customers:

Harvest Blessing, 2016

Harvest Blessing, 2016

In this ritual I constructed the seal with dried plant parts strewn on soil – a meditative and joyful work. I used vervain (Eisenkraut) for the sickle blades and fennel stalks for the sickle handles. The center circle is strewn with aromatic fennel seed.  The symbols for the four elements are made out of corresponding herbs: fire – wormwood (Wermut), water – belladonna (Tollkirsche), earth – mugwort (Beifuß) and air – bittersweet nightshade (Bittersüßer Nachtschatten). The forked stang in the center is a dried thorn-apple stem. The triangle at the base (representing the “fifth” element – spirit) is made from dried thorn-apple leaves and seeds. The wooden boxes placed inside the four sickle blades are my “seed boxes”, which are pyrographed by hand and filled with seeds from different witch herbs – many of which are gathered by myself and then filled into little bags to be contained in these boxes, which are then shipped to fellow practitioners for sowing in their own witch garden.

To quote much admired fellow artist, Harold Roth, I am “working my butt off” on these boxes. And in the same way I am putting a lot of thought and work into all other art I do, and of course I wish to share this work with the whole wide world.

So all I can hope for is, that awareness will grow and that more people know about me and my work, respect it and not trying to take advantage.

Pillars Perichoresis

19 Feb

Pillars Perichoresis, Anathema Publishing

"The Bleeding Tree", photograph in Pillars Perichoresis

"Regina Amandrakina", essay and illustration in Pillars Perichoresis

"Heqet-Hekate", illustration in Pillars Perichoresis

Several of my artworks and one essay are featured in the now sold-out “Pillars – Perichoresis” anthology by Anathema Publishing, 2016. The book is a compilation of the first three “Pillars” journals and contains additional material that was not part of previous releases. I have contributed to all three journals and look forward to continue working with Anathema Publishing in the future.

Photography Exhibition Gotha

2 Nov
“Tree Lights/Way Home”
“Forest Land/Lachten”
Date: November 4th
Location: The Londoner – English Pub, Gotha
Opening: 6 pm
The exhibition opening coincides with the “Samhain Celebration – a night of extreme avant-garde music”.
presented and supported by:
DEAF FOREVER | The Londoner, Gotha | House of Inkantation | Eisenwald| Waldhalla – Das grüne Metal Mag | Photos of Kaos
Line-up:
MOSAIC  – Gotha | Germany 
Grift – Kinnekulle | Sweden
Farsot – Gotha | Germany
Vivus Humare  – Gotha | Germany 
SPECIAL GUEST #1: Teufelskunst
+ photo exhibition by Wiebke Rost Photography
Entrance: 6 pm
Begin: 8 pm
Tickets:
VVK: 15€, AK: 18€

Solstice Serpent Seal

13 Jun

Solstice Serpent Seal by X.A.121

Only one week left until midsummer! This seal is dedicated to the rituals surrounding the summer solstice, when the sun reaches it’s annual zenith. The seal is inspired by the viper’s bugloss (Echium vulgare) herb and adorns the vessels containing the solstice incense, which you can order from my etsy shop and which will also go up at the mail-order site in a few hours. Below is a preview of how the blend looks:

Summer Solstice Incense

Summer Solstice Incense

The ingredients are the herbs and flowers traditionally associated with the summer solstice. The incense blend evokes in particular a vision of a summer meadow at dusk: bushes of blue flowering viper’s bugloss cover the ground and transform into nests of serpents. Plantain, thistle and St. John’s wort grow at its side. Nearby, the fragrant yellow flowers of the evening primrose glow in the evening light and emit their sweet scent into the sweltry air, attracting the most wondrous kind of fairy folks…

Use this incense blend for cleansing, purification and letting go of the old, for protection, renewal, celebrating the night, inspired dreaming and creativity. The blend can also aid in decision making: cast out the serpent as a symbol of “evil” or embrace it as a symbol of wisdom and become a serpent yourself.