A Union of Storms (Xposed – Part 1)

Artemis Sere Xposed Part 1 A Union of Storms

This is an 8-part blog series covering the history, highlights and future of the artist Artemis Sere -- poet, philosopher, publisher, photographer, pixelfiend, painter, creator and imagineer.

 

INTO THE MAELSTROM

Billy Ocean harmonized in a popular 80s song "when the going gets tough, the tough get going". I'd never call Mr. Ocean a prophet, but he was right. When times are tough, change is unavoidable. 
 
This is a story of a tragedy that evolved into majesty, the story of a broken, exasperated man who found solace and substance in the comfort of shadow. Who embraced the need to evolve, and rode the ghost until it was corporeal. Who discovered compassion, companionship, and confidence in the wake of days and in the shadow's counsel. 
 
But I'm jumping ahead. This journey begins in an empty Applewoods apartment on Pennock Avenue in Apple Valley, MN. For the first time in my life, I was faced with living completely alone in the wake of a major life collapse. In July 2007, my fiance decided to call it quits and drive separation between myself and her three children, some of which had taken to calling me "Dad".  Losing the woman and three kids that I loved dropped me into an abysmal depression, as I was still not healed fully from my painful divorce.
 
It was a violent, turbulent storm for the five of us. My chronic health conditions, her difficult divorce, and her mother's heart problems all contributed to a maelstrom of stress that we had trouble distancing ourselves from. I sacrificed my physical, creative and financial self to try to keep our attempt at family together. But it was all for naught. 
 
"We turn this wheel.  We push people away, through our words and actions, when we should be healing each other and bringing each other closer. Where there was once a glimmer of me, now there is only him.  Artemis.  The dark archer.  Shooting holes in the veil of lies of this world to get to the truth.  Relentless.  Unflinching.  Separated.
 
Patient.
 
It is the best defense against a world of hypocrites that would much rather cast you into darkness than bring you closer to light.".
 
At the edge of the storm, I found a window into a new light.
 

PSEUDO - DEAD

As with every oasis, the illumination and the promise of respite from the wasteland were short-lived. My second major separation, coupled with a chronic health condition that never let me rest, regain strength or find comforting repose, dropped his human in a place so dark that I began to feel less than human. In the darker hours, I let the alien, the shadow, take over; its voice became mine, its sight seen through my eyes. 

I began Journaling daily. It was truly the only way to keep from going insane, or returning to a suicidal solution (one I explored six years earlier after my divorce). I could feel the storms of darkness raging within me on a regular basis. Stricken with illness, separated from the path I knew and abandoned by most, my shadow surge enlivened Artemis Seer, my beast of creative burden and the herald of a new era. Out of early arrogance and assumption of skills and abilities I thought I possessed, I used the Seer surname. That changed soon after another event that would alter my future. 
 
Be patient; I'll get to that tragic day shortly.
 
Before 2007 I had published under the pseudonym K. Dorian Krowe. I had several poems published under that moniker while in college, and once tried to evolve my creative brand under Krowe Creations. But the ghosts were calling for blood, and I was happy to let the empire fall to ruin, erect a new realm in its place.
 
"These darkened days
Duskier with each decay
Too weakened to stand
Too beaten to remain
On our broken knees
We beg and we crawl
Powerless and aghast as
All empires fall"
 
Every tortured artist dwells on the pain. In this somber and seemingly still place of residence, my dim shadow awakened with new purpose, passion, and orientation. 
 

REBORN IN SHADOW 

In the solitary hours and busy months that followed July 2007, the dark nucleus assembled. I worked 2 jobs for sixty plus hours a week to stay afloat -- an administrative day job at the University of Minnesota, and a delivery job at Broadway pizza. I would work from 700 AM to 1000 PM five or six days a week, leaving me little time to grieve or breathe. During this time, my illnesses were never far away and forced me into a relentless battle against my body and my life. More to come on that too. Surviving my twin curses was a constant effort and an effort that fostered my artistic rebirth.
 
I used my past, present and passion for survival as fuel for my resurrection, and a journal as my vehicle of escape. I employed circles that kept me solitary but kept me writing, voiding the poison and vengeance that was borne from my unfortunate path. Every work day at lunch, I would take my 45-minute break with a journal in hand, sitting on the same bench, and staring up at the skies and busy bridge above me, screaming for retribution.
 
Seriously. I uttered and scribed words and thoughts that dark. We all do from time to time. Life puts us in maddening, depressing and aggressive places, even if we try to avoid them. With the burden of my past failures and present pain, it was easy to be selfish and scream out at those who had hurt me. Not physically, mind you. I don't resort to physical violence. And I know the wisdom of digging two graves if vengeance is what you seek.
 
But it all became unavoidable when my dark fantasy intersected with present reality. One day, I walked under the bridge on my lunch break and was propositioned to cover a shift at my pizza job on a night that I normally wouldn't work and under circumstances I normally wouldn't accept. But, times were brutally tight, and I could use the extra $40 in tips the delivery job could guarantee me per night. I accepted the offer and zoomed down a different-than-normal road for my different-than-normal night.
 
A couple hours into my shift, I delivered a pizza to a house. A nice lady answered the door, and our transaction was relatively mundane until she asked me if I'd heard what happened downtown.
 
As someone that would rather jam to loud music, rather than listen to the news while driving, it wasn't a big surprise that I completely missed one of the biggest tragedies in the history of Minneapolis, Minnesota. "No. What happened" I responded, fully expecting a report of a terrorist attack, but definitely curious.
 
"The 35W bridge collapsed", she replied. "During rush hour."
 
My mind zoomed back to my common nightly path and realized I should've been on that. I was immediately concerned for my coworkers that took the same road home. "Next to the University of Minnesota?"
 
"Yes", she shook her head and responded, in visible shock. "It's gone. Totally collapsed. There are casualties. Such a tragedy."
 
I stood there in shock myself, shaking from head to toe. I was no longer at an affluent house in Apple Valley, I was amongst the rubble, pinned in a world of ash and dust and blood and twisted metal. At a parallel path in time, I was pulled into the buckling of concrete caused by failing gusset plates and swallowed by the void, its chalky breath filling my lungs, heavy lean of earth pulverizing my bones,
 
"and with every slice, I become the dark
severed silhouettes, a puzzle of parts
never to be reassembled, a chaos of cuts
chronically disillusioned with eyes wide shut"
(http://seerum.livejournal.com/7482.html)
 

RISE OF THE SERE

The bridge I sat under during my lunch time at work, my respite from the pains of the real world, collapsed into a wicked heap of death, tragedy, law suits and questions. Not for me, because words alone cannot fell a mighty bridge, but coincidence or not, something surreal happened that day, to the underside of a bridge I stared at with anger for 30 minutes while I had cathartic time with my journal. To this day, those pages burn with a seething rage that I cannot duplicate, 
 
nor try to. 
 
On that day, I reconcepted the pseudonym: I didn't believe I could see the future. If I could, I would've stopped the collapse of the mighty 35W bridge,  or at least saved lives by having the traffic stop, knowing there was structural instability. On that day, I surrendered the alignment to prophesy, and I vowed to be
 
Sentient.
 
Evident.
 
Resident.
 
Evolution.
 
An artist committed to pushing the human species to evolve through observation, evidence, and presence, aligned to continuous production, reporting and supporting of art and other artists. From that time forward, I approached my union of storms quite differently. Rather than existing as the victim of the wrath of Fate and Nature, I became the attacker.
 
With pencil, and ink and paper and patchwork.
 
With prose, and fiction and pixel and photography.
 
With candle and canvas and character and chalk.
 
With clay and composition and creation and
 
Serenity.
 

Artemis Sere Xposed Part 1 A Union of StormsComing Soon, Part2: Method & Purpose

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Method and Purpose (Xposed – Part 2)

Artemis Sere's Xposed - Method and Purpose

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This is an 8-part blog series covering the history, highlights and future of the artist Artemis Sere — poet, philosopher, publisher, photographer, pixelfiend, painter, creator and imagineer.

 

SET IN BONE

In 2000, I was a healthy, hearty, happy 260 lb married winner of a trip to President’s Club at work; by the next year, I was a stricken, sickened shell of the fat, cheery man I once was, unable to hold a normal job due to illness and forced into an exile by betrayal and a lack of faith in the human race. By autumn 2001, I had lost over 100 lbs in 8 months to an infestation of ulcers in my pipes, a problem exacerbated by the stress of divorce. Everything, including water, would pass through me in minutes, regardless of proper time or place, calendar or commitments. At a fundamental level, I had to void every couple hours, including at night, which led to an ending cycle of broken sleep. Anemic. Abandoned. Overworked. Overtired.

Under the gun. This bitter state continued relentlessly until 2013 when I found equilibrium with my storms. Discovery of that equilibrium, and how the process changed me to my core foundation, is a focus of these blogs, my creations, and my art. It guides my method and influences my purpose. My work is inked with the passion of my pain and the color of my dreams, and that dye bleeds into my core, setting the internal skeletal framework alight and alive.

It wasn’t always that way. In fact, while I was once voted “Most Artistic” of my high school, I veered away from creative endeavors once I married. In truth, I hadn’t found my passion or voice yet, so my ex-wife was shocked when my artistic side started bleeding through my emaciated smile.

It took losing half of my body weight, most of my possessions and loves and all of my known sense of direction to find my way. It wasn’t by accident that I became an artist focused on production and evolution. I toyed with the concept throughout my life, through creation of elaborate Dungeons & Dragons Campaigns to producing two comic strips in the college newspaper, from assisting rock bands to publishing websites and running forums.

The Imagineer was always within, looking for a compass and real commitment.

 

COMPASS AND CONTRACT

In the early stages of the creation of Artemis Sere, I wrote two passages in my journal that became foundational to the brand. They operate as my objectives, disclaimers and the weather vanes for my work. Both are printed in the introduction to the books of my Bonesetter’s Revenge series.

The Compass

This is blasphemous
work.
These are dangerous
words.
Consider with
caution.
Contemplate with
conviction.

The Compass (from “Obscurious”)

The Artemis Contract

I will aim to create
what has never been
with eyes that see
differently
with words that speak
of twilight reverie
with the darkness
of a full eclipse
with sun and moon intersecting
at the archer’s tip
until the light
returns
one day
to the shade
i will silently
away

The Artemis Contract (from “Obscurious”)

Wrapped in these passages is my commitment to Art, artistic production and focus. I try to hold true to these words, as much as possible. I’ve been told that my paintings are a stunning, amazing, and unique experience. My digital art has garnered praise from across the spectrum. I have developed an audience that appreciates my style and substance. I have amassed tens of thousands of high quality photos from around the world, made thousand or so pieces of art and published 3 books without the guidance or financial support of anyone.

Following my convictions into the away has done me wonders, and I continue to experience the benefits.

 

THE (TRANS)HUMANIST 

When it comes to religion, I’ve always had a complex relationship. I was brought up in a mixed household (Father is Roman Catholic, Mother is Protestant) where my loving parents granted me freedom of choice. I attended church and Sunday school when I was young, visited amazing places of worship in Germany and Italy when I lived in Europe. I also was a lover of Greek mythology and dinosaurs when I was a very young boy and was confused by the conflict of one God versus many, monotheism versus our polytheistic past.

But I also visited Auschwitz, Anne Frank’s house and other dark places of human history. Talk about humbling trips. When I truly had adult freedom of theological lean, I chose Agnosticism; after jarring events like 9/11, the unnecessary wars and the rise of ISIS, I chose Humanism. I may not believe in a God or subscribe to any associated mythologies, but I do revere human beings, their exquisite diversity, and their vibrant passions. In the absence of answers, mythologies were born, which evolved into passion enclaves with pulpits and preachers. The robes became more elegant, but many of the inhumane practices remain the same.

I’ve found it best to be boundless as an artist. It is the only way to objectively experience art, culture, and nature and find ways of incorporating them into my methods and creations. Satanic symbols are often present in my work, but I am an atheist. I don’t actually believe in any of the horrors I create. I just reflect the dark reality we’ve built for ourselves.

I work to be a human mirror, one with cracked and jagged and off-color perspective.

All artists are part of the color wheel of this mosaic, not removed from it. We bleed the pain of this planet, its creatures, and this species into our creations so the memories of this place are not forgotten. The minor of my English degree was in Humanistic Studies, the appreciation of the history and culture of Humanity through art, religion, philosophy and a variety of other topics. I studied the Bible for a year, as well as Eastern religions, such as Buddhism, Taoism, and Hinduism. I probably don’t remember as much as I should about all of them, as an English major must read a maddening amount of content during his degree study, but I did come away with a Humanist mindset and an appreciation of the human species. In all hues.

And possible futures. Along the way, I became fascinated with Leonardo Da Vinci and his intersection of art and science. I am also intrigued by the progress of technological evolution, and its impact on human societies and our collective creature. I created a Secular Transhumanist Facebook page some years to curate content on the subject. I invite you to visit it if you want more information on the subject.

https://www.facebook.com/seculartranshumanism/

It’s also my duty to not be a selfish human. I go to secondhand stores in the area and “rescue” fine art pieces that are relegated to the thrift store trash heap. I do my best to support other artists in my network by purchasing their product (even if I can’t make it out to every show, I still do my best to be present). I volunteer my time towards United Way and other agencies at my day job. I give to the poor when possible. These are my attempts at being “Resident”, and my duty as an #Artrovert. I would do more if I had more resource that I could commit to others.

https://www.facebook.com/artrovert

And time management certainly is a challenge when you work a day job a day run your own art brand in the background.

 

THE HUMAN STRUGGLE

To be fair, an artist needs ample time to produce, enough of a buffer to be patient with a paragraph of a story or a paint-splattered canvas. I have made art time a primary priority in my life — to the detriment of personal and professional relationships. I have missed some major life events of the friends in my orbit in the name of Art. Sometimes, my family connection is strained, and my work focus suffers. 
 
Equilibrium of identities is a struggle. Not just an artist struggle, but a human one. Without all systems operating in the necessary fashion, resource streams maintained and audiences attended to, life falls apart. And when life falls apart, it takes a lot more resources to put it back together. After every one of my major breakups in my life, I had a period of time of major instability that wrecked me financially and kept me from standing on my feet. Much of that could be due to the fact that I didn’t know who I was yet, didn’t fully comprehend how important it was to focus on core competencies first.
 
When I tried to live off the identity of the artist, I couldn’t. That didn’t mean I was a bad artist, but it did mean that I had to reprioritize, put the day job first and progress the brand as I could. Adherence to the S.E.R.E. concept became penultimate as work weeks stretched into sixty or seventy hours when time was leeching away while driving from job to job, from pizza delivery to pizza delivery.
 
Through it all, I always had a notebook close — ready to capture a piece of a poem, a story idea, a character note or a quick sketch. Sometimes, the purpose would drive the method, but my methods have always been aligned with a purpose: 
 
Evolution.
 

Artemis Sere's Xposed - Method and Purpose

 

Coming Soon, Part3: Obscurious Rising

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Xposed: Ten Years of the Art of Artemis Sere

Artemis Sere Xposed

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On 7.7.17 Artemis Sere will have existed as a concept, practice and persona for ten years. Artemis Sere is a pseudonym — part Greek God, part acronym, all artist.

 Xposed

 
Over the course of the next week leading up to the observation of 10 years of my Art under the Sere moniker, I will be publishing and promoting a series of blogs that cover the recent history, highlights and future of the artist Artemis Sere — poet, philosopher, publisher, photographer, pixelfiend, painter, creator and imagineer.
 
Here is the list of upcoming blogs:
 
  • Part 1: A Union of Storms
  • Part 2: Method and Purpose
  • Part 3: Obscurious Rising
  • Part 4: The Alien Within
  • Part 5: Xenomorphine
  • Part 6: The Dirge
  • Part 7: Becoming the Cacophony
  • Part 8: Defining Night (by Darkness)
Watch for these blogs, and please join in the celebration of the Art of Artemis Sere by engaging with me in social spaces. 
 
Thank you for supporting the Art of Artemis Sere.

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