Xoterica 26: The Still

Artemis Sere Xoterica 26 The Still

”In every passionate pursuit, the pursuit counts more than the object pursued.” (Lee)

I did it.
 
Honestly, I didn’t believe that I could, and a year ago at this time, my head was far removed from publishing a gallery book of my Art. In fact, without tragedies of 2019, my vibrant star called “Echoprism” may never have been born.

But it has been, and I couldn’t be prouder of my accomplishment. “Echoprism (Volume 1)” is the fourth release from the publishing arm of Seretic Studios, Antithesis Press.
 
My new gallery book “Echoprism” is based on “Project Alexandria” – an effort which I undertook last year to streamline, organize and digitize my art inventory and library. The scope started at nearly 600 pieces of art, 90% of which I made with pencil, ink, canvas, wax, wood, acrylic, oil, watercolor, resin, and metal. I have since surpassed 600 pieces in my Serenity Gallery inventory.
 
The effort took a year of my life — hundreds of dedicated, eye-straining hours of collecting, measuring, cleaning, polishing, updating, fixing, photographing (often in awkward positions for this photographer), detailing, updating inventory spreadsheets and apps, reorganizing, re-labeling, renaming, creating written content, designing a page layout, executing the same framework on 358 pages, revising (multiple times), proofing, editing, updating, digitizing and merchandising.

Whew. That was a mouthful, and this creation has been a daily burden for a long time. Far longer than I’ve ever experienced for a creative project and/or expected to devote to it. 
 

The birthing of my first book “Obscurious” (2011) was magical, surreal and empowering. Even though it never took off with sales or audience, the sheer awe of holding my own published book in my hands was exciting. “Publish a book every year” was my stated goal after that.

I planned out a path of at least 8 “Bonesetter” books (my “poetical picturebooks”), and immediately got started on “Xenomorphine” (2013). I quickly discovered that the “book-a-year” target wasn’t reasonable for a professional adult with a duties and responsibilities. While I have notebooks full of content, ideas and plots, I don’t have the time to translate them into reality.

“A man’s reach should exceed his grasp”, from a poem by Robert Browning, suggests that we should attempt things that we may not attain, reach for things, even though we may never hold them. I suppose I’m the poster-child for that. My goals often seem to be an exercise in reaching, rather than holding. Most goals I target and dreams I strive for  slide just beyond my grasp and float at the edge of my life, both mocking me as another failed effort and teasing me with plotlines still available.

Paths possible under the right circumstances, of course.

My metalmorphosis – the dream of taking my art and life in a different direction – was birthed to this world as stillborn. I made a series of choices that backfired. Despite Browning’s poetic positivity, aiming for the impossible can have damaging effects on your timeline. I will work to survive the fallout of my failed choices for the rest of my life.

I reached into the unknown for a new hope, and the Universe laughed in my face.

And presented me with “Echoprism”, as if I’m a slave to a different fate, one that keeps me focused on the madness and poverty of Art, as opposed to the mechanics of a normal life and its trendy, comfortable dreams.

Seven years after I published my second book “Xenomorphine”, and one year after the passing of my Father, I’ve birthed the biggest, brightest star that I have in my life. As it settles into its place in my history and the Universe, painstaking in development and viewed by few, I take pride in this massive accomplishment. I’m confident that the Echo star could only have been born with this path, which has allowed me the complete freedom of schedule to pour hundreds of hours – possibly over a thousand over the last year – into redefining my Gallery, getting reacquainted with all that I’ve done over the course of my life, inventorying and cataloging and capturing, refreshing on Adobe Photoshop and InDesign, reviewing and tweaking every pixel and page number.

All for the calm that follows creation, recognition that both reach and grasp are part of flawed human process that starts at the crib and ends in the grave.

Everything is impermanent. Even stars, like “Echoprism”, may someday fade from existence. For now, I hope it lights the life of family, friends, and fans for as long as fate allows.

For me, it is a stone on the path of artistic legacy, one that will exist long after I’m gone. The journey has been an arduous one, but productive and cathartic.

Punctuated by being released on Palindrome Day. 

If you’re interested in ordering a copy of “Echoprism (Volume 1), please visit my new “ECHOPRISM” page dedicated to the book for ordering instructions.

“Echoprism (Volume 2)” is over 50% complete, and will be available 4/1/2020 via Blurb and Amazon. I’m excited to say that Volume 2 is EVEN BETTER than Volume 1, as it contains many of my more recent pieces and creations. Watch for excerpts from both on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

Thank you for your interest in my Art.

#xoterica #echoprism #antithesispress #sereticstudios

Artemis Sere Xoterica 26 The Still
Artemis Sere’s “Echoprism (Volume 1)”

Xoterica 25: The Demons

Artemis Sere Xoterica 25 The Demons

“The core of understanding lies in the individual mind, and until that is touched everything is uncertain and superficial. Truth cannot be perceived until we come to fully understand our potential and ourselves. After all, knowledge in the martial arts ultimately means self-knowledge.” (Lee)

 

A good friend told me recently that I’m “wrestling with a lot of big, difficult demons”. She was right. I appreciate this friend’s patience with me over the last year as I endured one of the most perplexing personal cycles in recent memory.

Reinventing yourself is an uncomfortable scrum that some don’t survive. Some lose themselves along the way and become the big (or small) demons they sought to control.

Or, some don’t survive at all. Like my friend Clark, who evidently drank himself to death recently. Clark was a middle-aged father, artist and groovy human who I didn’t know well, but knew well enough to appreciate him as a friend. He drifted into the bottle and then into oblivion. All around me, the demons seem to be winning. Ending lives too early. Twisting great people into savages, saints into sycophants, artists into martyrs. Lulling the populous into a sleepy nod and compliant gaud.

“Don’t be that guy”, I tell myself, while feel my tread slipping on the icy roads of a frozen life.

Is this the slippery view from inside the midlife crisis, or true recognition of what it means to be human? Not an American. Not a census demographic. Not a number in the system. Not directionally accurate or balanced. Not even.

Not normal. “Don’t be that guy”, I tell myself, but find that I’m surrounded by chaos, lies and deplorable people who claim to be normal, but are anything but.

But what does it mean to be human then? Which influence should we follow?

Without a paternal figure, coach, counselor, guiding light or guardian angel (as my Mom likes to say I have), it is easy to lose yourself to the battle inside, succumb to the cacophony of selfish voices shouting for dominance. We need to be careful of which voice we follow – angel or demon – as each has motive and will to manipulate.

In truth, my demons are comfortable company. The angels of our world are as imperfect as we are; the only difference is that their secrets are shielded behind scripture, gilded walls and pious wings.

I would rather bloodlet heaven than add my cruor to its pool.

And so I keep the company of demons. In many places of our civilized world, that position makes me an outcast, a target for violence or inquisition, and/or an antagonist. Even now, taking stands against the disingenuous and draining circles of our human civilization results in being labeled “counter” or “liberal” or “evil”.

While I certainly am a liberal person, I do so with the best overall endstate for humanity in mind, knowing the challenges we all face as imperfect beasts in a flawed, fauxed system. We all grow old. We all fall apart. We all die. But we live most of our lives pushed to spend resources as if we are going to live forever.

Live beyond our means, arteries and beltlines. Live bigger, flashier, best.

I died in my 20s, and have been living in bonus time since that point. Time that wasn’t gifted to me by loved ones, by science, by angels nor demons. A creator wasn’t involved, or if one was, it must answer for the 13 years of hell I endured. 

This time I have was gifted to me by the fight itself. As long as you don’t give up the fight, you’re still in it, present for the punches and temporary victories. Screw the Holy Wars, the World Wars, the generational wars, financial wars and cultural wars.

Your demons may usher you to the ring, but the greatest fight that exists is with yourself. You against you.

I am reminded of a poem I wrote a decade ago when I was very ill, battling with a chronic condition that never let me sleep a full night, eat a regular meal or feel like a normal human. Much of this experience is captured in poetical and metaphorical (and sometimes graphic) ways in my first book “Obscurious“, which was how I voided my darkness. Due to the severity of the condition at the time, I would regularly void blood, often leaving me anemic and exhausted. When you’re fading, the fight is both physical and mental, between angels that claim they can save you, and demons that offer you exit from your pain.

The tussle between heaven and hell – between a life that civilization told me I was to strive for, and the daily reality that was starkly different – turned into a war between my identities – past, present and future. Sometimes, I feel like Pollux who sacrificed his immortality for his dying twin; and sometimes I feel like Castor, the lesser brother of an immortal who was never as good as his twin, yet shares in the brilliance of his glow.

In reality, I am both, tightly intertwined in a wrestle for survival and radiance.

A human should not spend their life on the edge of oblivion, stricken with the disease of death and the void of hope. Remember, according to the Biblical myths, the Devil was once an angel too. Perhaps we create the demons around us by our actions and distractions, causes and affectations.

The jagged nature of the text is intentional. The twins of humanity are twisted in conflict. The struggle is real.

Follow at your own risk.

Po(llu)x

this con stant
con flict with
the nether me
the better me
that I see
in dire dreams
of duplicative
quarrel–
where we
scrap for
permanence,
tussle for
dominance,
melee for
omniscience–
is weeding
the blood
from my eyes in
epiphytic brush,
soaked foliage
and scrubbish
rage;
awake
he is two
we ak and
bleeds too
con stantly and
tragically
for
this Dioscurious
curse, this con stant
and circular
hell, pray tell,
how does one
murder a similar
sliver of
self?

(“Obscurious“, 2011)

#yearofCivility #xoterica

"Bare Bones"
Seretic Studios ID Number  SS-SG-00104
Creation Year  2015
Item Size  16 x 20
Item Orientation Landscape
Item Materials  Acrylic, Art Resin
Item Substrate  Canvas
Tags  Afterlight, Horror Art, Monsters
“Bare Bones” (Digital Remix)
Original Painting:
Seretic Studios ID Number SS-SG-00104
Creation Year 2015
Item Size 16 x 20
Item Orientation Landscape
Item Materials Acrylic, Art Resin
Item Substrate Canvas

Project Alexandria

I’m 45 years old and have been creating art in many forms and across mediums and media for the bulk of that time. Historically, my productivity has been derailed by major life events – such as divorce, job loss or chronic health condition — but I still managed to remain creative during that time.

My failure has been my ability to keep my creations coordinated. Up until this year, my life was an ever-expanding quagmire of great works without a coordinated titling, identification and/or inventory system that tied everything together in a fashion that represents a professional artist appropriately.

I credit my closest friends for pushing me to build a better Art user experience. I could list them all here, but if you’re reading this, you can take credit. You got me this far through your belief in my work.

The first step in the building of the library is the collection of the content — the books — or, as in my case, books plus canvas art plus philosophy plus photography plus digital art plus mixed media art plus candles.

All these pluses equal a lot of hours constructing walls that many will never see, but the few that do will appreciate the journey.

The Library of Alexandria

I named the revolution of my inventory and user experience after the marvel of the third and second centuries because it is the model for my direction: The Library of Alexandria wasn’t just a historical landmark our timeline of knowledge; with thousands of scrolls collected from vast spaces, it tackled the user experience of tracking, managing and maintaining collections of content that were nothing more than papyrus. In order to appreciate the important information locked in the shelves and stacks, there had to be a system. It helped pass the torch of knowledge to continous generations through commitment to the collecting of content.

My #projectalexandria doesn’t purport to be as important as the Great Library. I don’t have hundreds of thousands of scrolls. And I won’t be using tablets and rustic tools to connect visitors to my Serenity Gallery works.

However, as I’ve spent time digging through my creations in the wake of my Father’s death, I discovered so many phases of my life that generated art that I’ve dismissed. My collection became dismally fragmented, disjointed and disconnected. I became a distant appreciator of my own work, having forgotten much of what I created. The rare finds and forgotten gems are exciting, but add to the work of consideration into the full Gallery experience. I’ve mostly ignored the expanse of my creative abilities for the span of my life, operating under creative amnesia that helped forget the greatness throughout the journey. For decades, there have been creations that never saw the light of day.

Until now.

A Legacy Evolves

Like a miner who continues to discover veins of gold, the more I dig through my dusty papyrus, paper, canvas, pixels and photos, the more I’m presented with a forgotten treasure trove.

5,000 Instagram photos, hundreds of thousands of posts across Facebook and Twitter, hundreds of photo collections from all over the world, hundreds of candles and works of art and a few books have all generated unique content – often via digital remixes of content — that deserve consideration in the Library of Artemis Sere, the Serenity Gallery.

And now, with my new direction towards welding and metal fab art (SereSteel), I will add to the Gallery in exciting, dramatic and interesting ways.

No matter what I add to the legacy of Artemis Sere, the core conundrum remains the same: the Library, and how interested fans of my work can access and engage with what I’ve produced and accomplished as Artemis Sere across the course of my lifetime.

If my digital training has taught me anything, it’s how to build and connect experiences, like bridges to unknown realms.

The Drudge to Somewhere

I left a 50-hour work week in Corporate America this year, intending to spend more time enjoying my life and freedom of schedule, a personal commitment to the memory of my Father. I didn’t concept this as a “Project” until I realized I was rebuilding my library, its inventory and its user experience from the ground up.

To do this, I had to figure out what my own pieces were named. And whether I had accurate sizing. And whether I had an HD picture for prints and low-qual one for a quick pic experience. And pricing. The last time I updated my inventory was in 2016, and in the three years following, I created hundreds of new pieces. As I am constantly creating and always have a piece in process, my inventory of fine art work has bloomed to near 600 pieces.

Using the Sortly app, I began pulling together the scattered papyri of my life into the Great Library of Artemis Sere. I’ve estimated that each piece will require an average of an hour for full digitization, including being set up for prints.

Seretic Studios Sortly 7/2019

Which puts me at 500 estimated hours of work for just one phase of the Project.

At 40-50 hours/week, that means I’ll be done the project completely in 3-4 months. The renovation of the user experience of the Library is key to the project as well, and calls for its own dedicated work.

So far I’ve:

All the administrative and maintenance work aside, when the digital Serenity Gallery has been built, it will be the accomplishment of my lifetime — and set a legacy up for lifetimes to follow. One that can’t be burned down by Romans, or be completely abandoned by time.

The digital footprint for Artemis Sere and Seretic Studios will be broad and profound soon. 

Justifying the Means

These days, I burn the candle at both ends, but know the work is valuable. By the inventory count, I’m about halfway through the Project, but am meeting the timeline I defined. I’m distant from friends and family, and have become consumed by the project, but know I’ve been building this my whole life – from when my Dad forced me to track the family VHS video collection on looseleaf paper; to the details of inventory tracking systems and digital experience; to content marketing and  storytelling. The content and story I’m creating right now will resonate from this Seretic base for years to come. As I invite others to dance with the Gallery through social media, I will have years worth of content to share and create conversations around.

An artistic experience aligned to the SERE purpose.

A Gallery with a redesigned experience, given the attention it deserves.

Ultimately, creating content has never been my challenge; building and maintaining a consistent and accessible library of content has. Project Alexandria, when fully completed, will solve most of my current challenges.

Thank you for your patience as I undertake this important life calling. If you’re interested in getting advanced access to the Seretic Studios Sortly inventory, contact me with your email address and I’ll give you access.

You’ll need to download the Sortly app in order to access, but once you have access, you’ll have a first-look at the Seretic Studios inventory.

PROJECT ALEXANDRIA

ABSTRACT: Tag, picture and catalog all current Serenity Gallery items, and create a digital library of Artemis Sere organized and available to the public for print or purchase off my Seretic Studios website

GOAL: Organize art collection into a digital library that smartly represents Seretic Studios products, offers an efficient viewing experience for all Artemis Sere creations and enables ecommerce and portfolio reproduction for all current and future work.

PHASE 1: Gathering the Collection (April – July 2019)

Inventory refresh – product info collection, correction and cataloging

PHASE 2: (Re)Building the Library (August – September 2019)

Redesign the digital experience to support and connect all content for tracking, print and product purchasing, and easy search engine access. Additionally, the refreshed experience will reflect the portfolio of Artemis Sere and serve as the information hub for Seretic Studios LLC and its associated products. Launch of “The Static”, Seretic Studios Newsletter.

PHASE 3: Opening the Doors (October 2019)

Re-launch the SereticStudios.com experience with the full story of the SERE philosophy, information on Seretic Studios LLC and Seretic Studios creations and products, and the artist Artemis Sere.

PHASE 4: Invitation to the Dance (October 2019 – December 2019)

Drive traffic to the refreshed Seretic Studios experience, collections, publications and octaves and Serenity Gallery. Reinforce Sereticstudios.com as the hub for all content and experiences, while using social channels to promote the new experiences.

PHASE 5: Year of Serenity (January 2020 – December 2020)

Execute #YearofSerenity and #serestorm calendars starting Jan 1, 2020 to promote and drive traffic to Serenity Gallery pieces and other Seretic Studios productions.