2024: The Year of the Alien

Picture of Artemis Sere's "Evident Alien"

2024: YEAR OF THE ALIEN

Every year since the ten-year anniversary of Artemis Sere, I've assigned a theme to each year. If you're interested in art and content shared during the various years, perform a search in Google, Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter for more info. You can also check out the tag on my website dedicated to that theme.

THE SERE THEMES

It began in 2017 with the tenth anniversary of the Artemis Sere concept, brand and art via the #yearoftheSere tag.

It continued in 2018 with an exploration into the Sere philosophy and life practice with #yearoftheSeretic.

In 2019, I adventured into art-first existence and living the Artrovert concept via #yearoftheArtrovert.

In 2020, I charted a course to personal civility, connection, and community with the #yearofCivility. (Unfortunately, it was greatly hampered by COVID.)

2021 was my #yearofSerenity and highlighted my Serenity Gallery and "Echoprism Volume 1".

2022 was my #yearofSerein and continued to highlight my Serenity Gallery and the publication of "Echoprism Volume 2".

2023 was my #yearofEchoes, a year of challenges and themes that reflected my history and gave birth to the synchronicity of my sixth book "Obscurious X".

2024: YEAR OF THE ALIEN

2024 is my #yearoftheAlien. It is a year that will feature a stark visual divergence from the darkness of my 2023 return to "Obscurious X". It is a year of fresh starts, vibrant visions, alien states, and xenomorphous identities.

The obvious images people conjure when they hear the word "Alien" are egg-headed visitors or Gieger xenomorphs. We recall scenes of Mork from Ork or ALF. We channel Men in Black or Scully and Mulder.

My year of the Alien will explore what it's like to have prismatic visions and conjurations in a country filled with hate, xenophobia, and distrust of artists and creatives. It will address our bigotry through horror, through flash, and through shock. It will explore themes of immigration - from across a system, a planet, a border or a street. It will alienate and reflect what it feels like to be alienated.

It stems from the "creative entity" introduced in "Obscurious" and explored further in "Xenomorphine", my second poetical picturebook which explores alienation after tragedy, how drugs (approved medical and other) altered this human, and how my medical condition developed an identity disparate from society.

My year of the Alien will dig deeper into the malevolent aliens in my creations - "Oviod and the Od". It will tell their story in ways that haven't been shared before. It will attempt to redirect thinking about what it means to be an alien - illegal, extraterrestrial, or creative - and remind us of our role as human diplomats and caretakers.

ALIEN IN THE DETAILS

My #yearoftheAlien will feature some very notable points on the calendar year of 2024. Most of the calendar notes involve exciting new works and publications by Artemis Sere and Antithesis Press, including two books and two gallery shows.

I've also added the United States Presidential Election to this list, as I firmly believe that will be one of the most important and pivotal points for humanity for decades to come. All of my messaging and advocating and activism over 2024 will come to a singular point on November 5 where the United States displays tolerance, appreciation, and responsibility for those people it considers "alien" - or it will take a hardline swing in the opposite direction forcing a future war for diversity of culture, thought, and skin color.

Here are key points of my creative calendar for 2024:

1. The release of my seventh book, the 10-year anniversary edition of "Xenomorphine" entitled "Xenomorphine: Decade of Xenogamy" (March 9, 2024)

2. My first gallery show in 6 years: "ALIEN INSIDE: The Xenomorphous Art of Artemis Sere". (March 23, 2024)

3. My second gallery show of 2024: "Afterlight" (June 2024, details TBD)

4. The release of my eighth book, "Xenobleed 1: X & Why" (August 30, 2024)

5. RECKONING: The United States Presidential Election (November 5, 2024)

NEXUS POINT

How am I able to put out two books and coordinate two gallery shows in the same year? Thankfully, much of the content for these experiences currently exists and these projects are in development.

I published my second book "Xenomorphine" in 2013. The follow-up to "Obscurious", "Xenomorphine" focused on the alien identity that emerged from the pain, turbulence, and trials of dealing with my chronic health condition. It focuses on the alien states that I experienced while suffering from severe Ulcerative Colitis, the inhuman treatments I underwent in the medical system, and the strange roads I walked while trying to be part of a society that is quick to dismiss the imperfect.

"Obscurious" was the dark start to the SERE story, and "Xenomorphine" was the prismatic trip past the door.

As a companion to this release in March 2024, I am coordinating a gallery show at the Artisan Forge in Eau Claire, WI. It is an amazing nexus of welding art, visual art, and other types of amazing creativity in western Wisconsin. It will allow fans of my work the ability to see art from "Xenomorphine", "Xenomorphine: Decade of Xenogamy", and "Xenobleed" up close and in an intimate setting like no other gallery show I've had previously. It will be vibrant. It will be crazy. It will be beautiful.

It will remind each of us that we're aliens, or have alien sides to our identity and personalities. We're strangers, connected by a human thread.

Speaking of beautiful, I am coordinating a gallery show for late June 2024 which will feature some of my most haunting and striking works. For many years now, I have been painting with acrylics. Along the journey I started creating art that can be appreciated one way in the daylight, and have another face in the night.

I call this series of work "Afterlight". It is a gallery show that will give visitors the ability to see both faces of some of my pieces, with lights completely turned off in order to allow viewing of the "glow-in-the-dark" state. This gallery show is still in development. Stay tuned for more details.

My good friend and fellow creator, Greg "Hexican" Chilton, will be producing both my "ALIEN INSIDE" and "Afterlight" shows in 2024. Greg is an accomplished musician, visual artist, maker, videographer, and podcaster. I am greatly inspired by his creative talent, and we have been brothers-at-art for decades. I am honored to be able to work with him on my upcoming shows.

In late August, I will release my eighth book, "Xenobleed 1: X & Why". It is a vibrant collection of surreal, abstract and atmospheric art through the eyes of the alien within, captured and trapped in the human form. See through the eyes of an alien as it becomes human, merges with its host. While this will be present in abstract form, it will resonate the message that we must embrace our xenophobia and make space for the aliens in our orbit and at our borders.

It will be as strong an Anti-Trump message as I can get in artistic form. It will attempt to create a vibrant mirror for people to consider how our positions have to change to be more inclusive, to be more tolerant, to be more accepting, to be more human.

To be human is to be alien.

Obscurious X: Decade of Darkness

Order your copy from Blurb now!

GET INVOLVED

I am an independent artist who does not sell his product on Amazon. My margin for each book is less than hourly wage at McDonald's, so I have no illusions of getting rich off of my work.

But sales reinforce that my art matters to my audience, and the more sales that I'm able to generate off of my art, the more resources I have to make more art. It's circular for me. I don't expect to end up a millionaire, but I will exit with a creative legacy, even if it doesn't have a large, popular audience.

My art is honest, imperfect, reflective, challenging, and hopeful. Please consider following my Artrovert Blog, buying a copy of "Obscurious X", or following me on social media.

2024 will be an exciting and terrifying year for all of us.

The #yearoftheAlien is here.

Picture of Artemis Sere's
Artemis Sere SS-SG-0007 Evident Alien (v6)

Xoterica 43: The Impostor

Picture of Artemis Sere Digital Art

Xoterica 43: The Impostor

“We all need mirrors to remind ourselves who we are. I'm no different." (Leonard Shelby, "Memento")

Continuous rejection is not good for anyone's self-esteem, especially when success has been the pattern. This job hunt has been a dismal experience that has started to nullify the past in my head and cause me to wonder what I've actually accomplished. This self-doubt has allowed a stranger to creep into my subconscious. This stranger has started to become my identity.

Angel Down

I was RIF'ed (eliminated due to a reduction in force). Not because of performance or lack of experience, but as a cost-cutting measure for a company facing severe challenges finding its future. So I - along many others - was let go, disposable hero with a pink slip and kick in the ass.

The kick didn't land on my ass, however - it hit me in the gut. I was reviewed as "Exceeding Expectations", had generated millions in promo revenue for the company, and was seen as a digital experience leader. By all accounts, I should be someone to keep around. I was active in resource groups and was a champion for my colleagues.

The job wasn't a perfect fit. I was hired to fill a specific role and need in their digital experience. The job was unlike my previous titles and experience in Marketing, and I was intrigued by the opportunity to learn about and guide a different touchpoint in user experience and online transaction. I had other interesting opportunities when I chose that one in 2021, but ultimately decided to take that job because a few former coworkers.

It saddens me how my life now so closely parallels 2020, when I was re-entering the workforce after my bereavement and attempted #metalmorphosis. COVID was receding and hope of a return to normalcy was the state of the world. I desperately needed to find a job, and leveraged my previous experience and connections in Marketing to find one. I felt really lucky at the time to get the job I did.

Echoes of Endtimes

Then the company started to change. People left. Finances tumbled. Layoffs became the culture.

And the job I enjoyed deeply lost its stability. The people I enjoyed working with became exes. The path returned to chaos, much like the miasma of time of the breathing virus.

Adrift, with only the paddle of my past to propel me to waters of new prosperity.

I will find a job to ensure my survival. Eventually. As noted in my previous blog, it hasn't gone well for various reasons. And this blog isn't about employment progress. I've applied and have interviewed for some great opportunities that I'm hopeful of. There's promise on the horizon.

But I've also lost out on some great opportunities because I wasn't good enough. Jobs that I was once considered clearly qualified for. Jobs that I interviewed for and had a great exchange. Jobs I wanted a chance to excel at.

Jobs that reinforce I am who I think I am, and appreciate my body of work as legitimate.

It's hard not to internalize this struggle. It's difficult separating the real from the circumstance, the ghosting and the lack of second chances. When you're someone productive, talented, and self-directed, apathy hits even harder.

Self-Wrestling

Sometimes, it feels like I'm in a wrestling match with myself. There's part of me that agrees with the masses and dismisses all that I have produced and accomplished. In the great nullifying present, the proof is apparent in the struggle for mere survival. That muscled version of me berates my past, denies the very lines on my resume, and beats the hopeful, proud version of me into submission.

It's hard to believe in yourself when you are reminded on a daily basis of your failures. It's hard to be proud when the hits are still hitting. It's hard to see light when shadow is the sun.

It's hard to stay sane when the impostor takes your name. I discovered its name: impostor syndrome.

Impostor syndrome (also "imposter) is the condition of feeling anxious and not experiencing success internally, despite being high-performing in external, objective ways. This condition often results in people feeling like "a fraud" or "a phony" and doubting their abilities.

And that's why I feel lucky to have developed another identity. In times when I am at lowest, I find comfort in the escape of Art. Art shields me from the impostor and allows me to find hope in creation. In art, I am not judged. I am not flawed.

And I cannot be dismissed.

Art screams and calls. It claws at impostors and reveals their true selves, tatters and all. When I become Art, the impostor is silenced and forced into submission. I cannot control the impostor, but I can overwhelm its energy.

And energy is what it all comes down to. The energy to survive. The fire to create. The power to keep the ghosts in the mirror at bay.

In Art I Trust

We need alternate identities to help keep us sane.

Fantasy has helped many get through tragedy, captivity, or torture. It certainly has helped me get through the turbulence of adult life. It has reminded me of the greatness that I have within, even if others can't see it or life challenges the integrity of it. It has offered me an escape to a stable future state, while enticing me with a vibrant life of hope and happiness.

The Art will always remain. It will never reject me or underestimate me. It will never question me or second-guess me. It will never judge me as "not good enough". It will not bow under the weight of the message, nor will it get lost in the algorithms of careless engines. It will never wear a false face or hide behind a façade of grace.

For by the simple act of honest creation, as a unspoiled act of expression and communication, without arrogance or self-importance, is pure and unfiltered truth. It is the counterpunch to the impostor that seeks to meeken and weaken. It is the roundhouse kick that beats the bluster of self-doubt.

Art believes in me when many others don't. It speaks for me when many others won't. And when the impostor lies and reduces all that I am, my Art stands as a testament to all that I can be and have been.

While life works to diminish all that I've accomplished in my professional life by introducing an impostor, I will not be confused or bruised or downed by this distressing doppelganger.

In Art I trust.

#xoterica

Picture of Artemis Sere Digital Art

2023: The Year of Echoes

Pictures of books Obscurious and Obscurious X by Artemis Sere

2023: The Year of Echoes

Every year since the ten-year anniversary of Artemis Sere, I've assigned a theme to each year. If you're interested in art and content shared during the various years, perform a search in Google, Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter for more info. You can also check out the tag on my website dedicated to that theme.

THE SERE THEMES

It began in 2017 with the tenth anniversary of the Artemis Sere concept, brand and art via the #yearoftheSere tag.

It continued in 2018 with an exploration into the Sere philosophy and life practice with #yearoftheSeretic.

In 2019, I adventured into art-first existence and living the Artrovert concept via #yearoftheArtrovert.

In 2020, I charted a course to personal civility, connection, and community with the #yearofCivility. (Unfortunately, it was greatly hampered by COVID.)

2021 was my #yearofSerenity and highlighted my Serenity Gallery and "Echoprism Volume 1".

2022 was my #yearofSerein and continued to highlight my Serenity Gallery and the publication of "Echoprism Volume 2".

2023 IN THE REARVIEW

2023 has been my #yearofEchoes, a year of challenges and themes that reflect my history and gave birth to the synchronicity of my sixth book "Obscurious X".

My "year of Echoes" began as a celebration of the completion of the "Echoprism" gallery books, but quickly turned into the antithesis of their vibrant theme: darkness on the periphery, and a dread sense of repetition of old themes coming back to haunt the present. I was still adapting to a new life as a diabetic, and layoffs were happening at work all around me.

The echoes of past pain were coming back into focus during my 50th year on the planet.

The specter of layoffs started early in 2023, and turbulence at work made creation an uncomfortable outlet. Add 3 years of focus on developing the Serenity Gallery and the "Echoprism" gallery books, and I found myself making fewer trips to my easel. I created minimal new visual art pieces in 2023.

It is possible that I was experiencing a phase of creative exhaustion:  after publishing over 700 pages worth of gallery work with "Echoprism", and dedicating over a thousand hours of my time to design, publish, and market the books, I found myself lacking momentum.

Then the layoff happened. It was my first time ever being laid off from a job. Despite my success, work ethic, and experience, I was let go. Previously, when I exited 3M to start my #metalmorphosis adventure, I did it under my terms and circumstances, even if it too was a failed effort. 

The recurrence of trying and failing were consistent throughout my last year, culminating in the publication of one of my best books and a true return to the echoes that formed Artemis Sere. Unfortunately, that has failed to flourish and is tracking far fewer sales than the original.

GRAYSCALE MEMORIES

I began the year with committing to sharing only grayscale profile pics and covers across my social media profiles for the duration of the year. At that time, I didn't know that publishing my darkest book -"Obscurious X" - was on the horizon for me. Serendipity met instability when I was laid off, and opportunity emerged from that crash.

I planned the launch of "Obscurious X" in 2019 as part of a larger publishing plan that spanned a decade of projects. The goal was to publish "Obscurious X" in 2021 to celebrate its ten year release anniversary. I worked on its development a bit in 2020, but decided to make my "Echoprism" volumes the priority due to recent completion of "Project Alexandria".

"Project Alexandria" helped me track and define an inventory for over 600 pieces of my art. During 2019 I decided the creation of a gallery book of my works would help my own understanding of what I've created, but also create a content cache for all future works. Even though it took close hundreds of hours to complete, I was able to reach my goal. It is that inventory work that is the backbone for my "Echoprism" volumes.

But I only have so much time, and 2019 and 2020 involved my life falling apart following the death of my Father. The darkness that followed his death sent me searching for a new identity and stability. The Fog of Death from his passing lasted at least a year while I was also contending with COVID. Life and stability derailed, but found tracks again in 2021. During that period of stability, I used my free time to build and launch "Echoprism Volume 1" and "Echoprism Volume 2".

Fast-forward to 2023: The inconvenience of being laid off introduced a healthy amount of free time to my calendar. In order maintain my sanity while searching for a new job, I threw my focus into projects. I renovated my art space. I repainted and renovated our loft. I got back to blogging more often. I found voice and fire that dimmed while chaos dominated my life throughout 2023.

I dusted off the "Obscurious X" project and made a commitment to completing the book by my 50th birthday. It took a hundred or so hours to revise, reformat, and republish, but out of the maelstrom of unemployment, I walked away with a completed project and another book on the shelf.

And I'm especially proud of my sixth book in how much personal and creative growth I show between the two versions. When I wrote "Obscurious" in 2011, I was constantly in pain, finding my way in a demanding new job, and hurting from struggles to love and find love. It was a sometimes bitter statement and often a bleak reflection of my personality.

It was also rooted in the idea of poetic revenge. Part of my growth as a person involves letting go of the hooks from the past that have continued to infect my present. "Obscurious" was an amazing healing and cathartic exercise for me. It was the SERE acronym in first action, driving me to step out of my comfort zone, share my story, and commit to evolving my craft.

LESSONS LEARNED

"The universe will keep giving you lessons until you learn them.”

What would a reflection of this kind be without synthesis of wisdom? As my present life continues to be turbulent and I struggle with unemployment - even worse, fighting off impostor syndrome that makes me wonder what it is I'm doing here - I need to circle back to the things that I learned during this #yearofEchoes.

1. "Taking a fresh look at the pains of the past helps the present."

From the outside, it probably seems like I didn't do much work to evolve "Obscurious" to "ObscuriousX". Like bands that remix or remaster their works, it may not seem like much effort from the outside looking in. But people fail to see "how deep" someone has to go to "remaster" a previous work. I estimate that 50% of "Obscurious X" is new. The removal of revenge as a theme echoes spiritual progress. Understanding how pixels work reflects design progress. And changing the words of a poem written 20 or 30 years ago takes courage. At 50 years old, poems written while I was in college cascade differently now. In some cases, I don't have patience for the words of the past; in others, I can see the nuggets of wisdom that need to pull into the present. "Obscurious" helped me remember where I've been and how far I've come since those dark days.

2. "Never stop creating."

I have to remind myself on a regular basis that I'm representing Artemis Sere for myself. Not for a specific audience. Not for an annual salary. But for me. Through art, I find catharsis. It has never been financially lucrative for me. For the 8-10 hours I put into a piece of acrylic art, few ever see my pieces live; for the hundreds of thousands of hours I put into a book, I only see a handful of sales; for the endless hours I put into building a website and promoting, I never meet the hopes and goals that I have as a brand. If I made my art as data-driven as my profession, I would've given up a long time ago. But I can't give up. For better or worse, I'm married to my Art.

3. "I am a victory."

Right now, I'm in a phase of loss and decline. My choice of putting Art first four years ago is coming back to haunt me in the worst way and at the worst time. Every beam of my life right now feels stressed and ready for collapse. But I know I will survive whatever comes my way. I've survived worse and lived to tell the tales. In fact, the pain of my past developed into a creative ghost who has produced six books, over six hundred pieces of art, hundreds of blogs, numerous gallery shows, an authentic voice and brand, and an enviable social media following. I live in a world surrounded by my creations and people (and animals) that love me. And I know my best is yet to come.

Obscurious X: Decade of Darkness

Order your copy from Blurb now!

GET INVOLVED

I am an independent artist who does not sell his product on Amazon. My margin for each book is less than hourly wage at McDonald's, so I have no illusions of getting rich off of my work.

But sales reinforce that my art matters to my audience, and the more sales that I'm able to generate off of my art, the more resources I have to make more art. It's circular for me. I don't expect to end up a millionaire, but I will exit with a creative legacy, even if it doesn't have a large, popular audience.

My art is honest, imperfect, reflective, challenging, and hopeful. Please consider subscribing to my Artrovert Blog, buying a copy of "Obscurious X", or following me on social media.

2024 will be an exciting and terrifying year for all of us.

The #yearoftheAlien is coming.

Pictures of books Obscurious and Obscurious X by Artemis Sere

Obscurious X: Decade of Darkness

Order your copy from Blurb now!

Seretic Studios