Creating celestial bodies is hard work, but an even more difficult question looms. If the planet is unlike earth, what exactly lives there? So we brought back Anya for a part two of breaking down Irkalla, the red planet from our last update.
“Reality feeds into concept painting beyond the photographic, providing design cues both aesthetic and functional. Moving on from Irkalla’s celestial face to its surface I knew I wanted to develop silicon flora, as silicon based life would theoretically be well suited to a volcanic environment and the notion has long held my curiosity.”
“Beginning with vaguely crystalline structures, I played with the idea of a silicon “tree line” influenced by air pressure rather than a lack of oxygen – interesting, but the results did not immediately feel akin to living organisms. When designing specific flora from there on out I found myself borrowing more aspects of earthly life. In order for these specimens to read effectively to a broader audience, evoking silicon’s culturally prominent role in electronics with a visual circuit board stereotype made sense. Applying a palette of cool grays and greens to a coral-like bowl with circuit “veins” was nearly a one-and-done.”
“Conception of the parasitic flora started as pathogenic looking masses but ultimately drew on morels and memories of a childhood spent watching David Attenborough documentaries, a la, The Private Life of Plants.“
“Last but certainly not least, perhaps my favorite baby of the lot, the cluster flora benefited most from real life influence. When I jumped in to throwing down shapes, much like the initial silicon tree line, the first attempt felt too stiff and lacked the right balance to still appear organic.”
“The branched bodies of clavarioid fungi provided an incredible reference for how such a tangle of repeating forms might grow – wide ranged consumers of matter decaying on the forest floor, I have often encountered their curiously intricate fruiting bodies on hikes.”
“Behavioral characteristics of the cluster flora were inspired by a mix of real plants, most notably aspen trees. Elderly aspen groves in North America are the world’s largest living organisms, cloning themselves via shoots arising from their expanding root systems, the oldest known recorded at over 100 acres.”
“With the unstable volcanic landscape of Irkalla, the notion that these clusters would exploit the fissured terrain and expansive lava tubes to spread themselves out in an aggressive hyperbole of this process seemed interesting to explore. Visiting Colorado earlier this year and observing aspen groves in person likely helped bring them to mind.”
“All in all an artist forges a new world, much like anything they create, from echoes of the one that surrounds them. Any image and experience I collect may prove valuable down the road, directly contributing to paintings and concepts – and that’s the skinny on how an alien planet is brought to life!”
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