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 21: The Why

Artemis Sere Xoterica 21 The Why

“By an error repeated throughout the ages, truth becoming a law or a faith, places obstacles in the way of knowledge. Method, which is in its very substance ignorance, encloses truth within a vicious circle. We should break such a circle, not by seeking knowledge, but by discovering the cause of ignorance.” (Lee)

It's fair to say that I've lost the most in my lifetime in 2019. Between the death of my Dad, my departure from a six-figure career, and my disappointing exit from welding school, the scales of this year have been overwhelmed by loss. My former company is struggling. The country is slipping into recession and deep social division. I've lost 25 lbs.
 
For the first time in my lifetime, I'm considering protesting a sitting president while he rallies his hate troupe at a downtown arena. In the rain, amidst tens of thousands of supporters and fellow anti-Trumpists.
 
A year ago, I was struggling through drama at home and at the office, but both had a certain stability. My newly-purchased Trek Roscoe 8 was my passion, art was my escape, and life was relatively predictable, as my blogs from last year can attest.
 
A year later? Chaos and regression are the order.
 
But in the rubble of a burned-down life -- where I cling to a small semblance of survival and have more questions than answers about my future -- I've been offered the greatest, most valuable, most appropriate gift that I've ever been given: time.
 
For someone like me, time is an escalator ride moving too fast. I have more to do than time or financial resources to do it, the polar opposite of the last ten years of my professional success. And while the success of the last ten years erased many problems from my youth and set me up for the freedom of now, it doesn't come without sacrificing the future. I'm cannibalizing the resources of then for now, burning the wick of life at both ends.
 
Inviting ruin you know you could avoid is a scary prospect. Most just repeat what has worked previously. Surrender to the stranglehold of responsibility and duty, conform to the blueprints of the comfortable life. Reinvent yourself in the same way somewhere else similar and familiar. Repeat until balance is re-achieved.
 
However, when equilibrium is broken, it must be repaired.
 
Freedom has allowed me to dig into the artist that I became over the last ten years -- the pained, tortured, stressed, anxious, hopeful, scatterbrained, impatient, adventurous creator. Dedication to a 50 hour/week Corporate global job offered me bountiful financial and tangible  resources to create, but little time to use for it. Rapid fire methods of creation became my outlet. Splatter art. Pour art. Resin art. Abstract art.
 
The rage and fluidity of my life became my method of expression.
 
I envied the artists that could sit down with a single painting for 10 or so hours, really put attention and heart into a piece; that kind of focus was unavailable to me, due to the time management challenges and work stresses that spilled into my personal life.
 
I lived to work, more than I worked to live.
 
Today, the opposite is true. I'm struggling for survival but productive, with nothing but creative time on my hands and a list of projects a lifetime long. I'm halfway through my first book in 4 years, even if it is just a gussied up inventory book of what I've made in my life. I have enough content for Vol 2, and plan to release it next year. It is the culmination of hundreds of hours of focus, and reflects attention to detail and discipline my previous life didn't allow me. It has led to an output few artists get to realize:
 
a cohesive story.
 
"Echoprism" covers the legacy of this artist across a life-long timeline ("a visual poem to Chris") -- not only my legacy, but the contained, capsulized remnants of all the genetic lines that went into the making of my brothers and I, as well as the different artistic versions of me throughout time - the cartoonist, the decorator, the designer and the heretic.

In my Serenity Gallery, I've gathered the works of my Great Uncle Lou. I never knew my Great Uncle Lou, only knew him from a distance. I can't summon an image of his face in my mind, but his style stuck with me. His breathtaking watercolor paintings. His underrated talent. His home with a ski-jump roof and stream of running water cut through the floor of his house. His line of artistic offspring that I was never close to (I have a couple of their works too). His blood is in my veins, his talent in my blueprint.
 
I am his distant echo, and also the keeper of his memory and legacy.
 
His art is now viewed through my prism, as one of the last remaining living from the family lines. His art was handed down to me for safekeeping - without titles, without helpful details, without the stories behind the work. There are few people left now that can tell Lou's story, and can provide the clarity I'm looking for. His hard work is tucked away in the dark, dusty portfolio of a man he never knew, his memory left to me to decipher.
 
Or dismiss.
 
His why has been mostly lost with time. I won't let his (or my Dad's) pattern of oblivion repeat with me. 
 
Artemis Sere Xoterica 21 The Why
 

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.

Seretic Studios