Scattershot And All

A new photomontage blended from disparate compelling images:

Scattershot And All

Scattershot And All

Treetops from the west, Chiroptera from the east. This is the combined view of an overlook at the Getty Museum in Los Angeles juxtaposed with a bat skeleton from the Nature Science Center in my home state of North Carolina, all shot and assembled over a scattered period of time. See the originals at Flickr. Musical accompaniment: “All Is Not Lost” by OK Go. Poetry accompaniment by William Carlos Williams.

Spring and All
By William Carlos Williams

By the road to the contagious hospital
under the surge of the blue
mottled clouds driven from the
northeast—a cold wind. Beyond, the
waste of broad, muddy fields
brown with dried weeds, standing and fallen

patches of standing water
the scattering of tall trees

All along the road the reddish
purplish, forked, upstanding, twiggy
stuff of bushes and small trees
with dead, brown leaves under them
leafless vines—

Lifeless in appearance, sluggish
dazed spring approaches—

They enter the new world naked,
cold, uncertain of all
save that they enter. All about them
the cold, familiar wind—

Now the grass, tomorrow
the stiff curl of wildcarrot leaf

One by one objects are defined—
It quickens: clarity, outline of leaf

But now the stark dignity of
entrance—Still, the profound change
has come upon them: rooted they
grip down and begin to awaken

What do you think? Ever seen a bat skeleton? Are you a fan of OK Go or William Carlos Williams (or both, like me)? What are you dressing up as for Halloween? Let us hear from you in the comments.

Never More Than A Dream

This is a lyric from one of my favorite songs, “Sweeter Than Anything,” by PJ Harvey. It’s also the title of my most popular Pinterest board.

I love everything about the track — its ethereal, almost haunted atmosphere; its darkly timbred instrumentation; and of course Polly Jean’s smoldering, longing delivery. The Lordes and Lana Del Reys of today owe everything to Harvey (and Kate Bush, and Tori Amos… etc.) and this track illustrates exactly why.

nmtad02The line, “You were never more than a dream” appears near the end, as an intonation of understanding, right before Harvey sings the title. A perfect, gentle ending to a swirling story of longing and reflection.

So that’s why “Never More Than A Dream” seems to me the ideal collection of words as a title, befitting this Pinterest board I’ve been growing for some time. The images there are generally mysterious, vintage, artful, or fleeting in some way. This board also happens to be a repository for images I find just plain interesting. It’s the most active board I keep on Pinterest, and if you’re a fan of this blog (hey, you’ve read this far…), you will probably enjoy what’s there as well.

nmtad01What do you think? Are you active on Pinterest? Do you have any themed collections of images or music you keep coming back to or that resonate with others? Let us hear from you in the comments.

Moustache Magazine Interview

The Australian publication, Moustache Magazine, features a detailed interview with me on art and other topics, as well as a look at some of my recent creations. I’m very honored to be part of this site, since MM consistently has compelling posts on great artists like Man Ray and many other contemporary creators as part of its constant stream of of appealing visual content.

Surrealist Photomontage Extraordinaire: Richard Smith

| September 8, 2014

Be-The-Butterfly-1024x768

Words by Michelle Cha

RICHARD Smith is a self taught artist who creates the divinely freaky and macabre surrealist photomontages which will send you back to the time of The Blair Witch Project. The layering of different motifs, landscapes, and photo manipulation sends you in a dark spiral of which you want to keep going down in. A self taught artist, Richard has more than 20 years experience in graphic design work and his career is going from strength to strength. His images are internationally recognised and stands strong amongst the heavy load of photo manipulation artworks out there. He was more than happy to answer some of my burning questions.

MM: What have you been up to in the last month in terms of new artwork?

I’ve been making more of a conscious effort to go out and collect new photos for source material. Usually this takes place organically, but lately I’ve had good results when forcing myself to go out and make it happen. Sometimes, that’s just what you have to do to keep the creative process moving forward. I’ve also done more sketching for future projects and having fun with that, particularly on Instagram.

With over 20 years of experience as a graphic artist, what has been the biggest challenge for you so far?

The biggest challenge is the same as it has always been: staying motivated and putting forth the effort to continue growing in new ways. For me, discovering new apps, experimenting with themes in photomontage, and appreciating the work of others helps tremendously on this front.

The mind bending realities you create with photo manipulation is mesmerising and sometimes unsettling what causes you to take your work in this direction?

It happens quite naturally, really. I’ve always had a fascination with macabre or gothic-type imagery, and that comes out in my art. I often don’t intend a dark motif, although I can see how others have that interpretation.

What kind of photographic techniques do you employ the most? Are there any that you wish to explore further in your work?

I make extensive use of masking various layers and parts of images in creating my photomontages. It’s at the heart of what I create. I’ve dabbled in working with human forms, through some commissioned model shots, and that might be the next realm I would like to explore.

richard

I was overjoyed to hear you are too a fan of Dali and Man Ray (personal favourites of mine) and I see the influences of these artists in your work. Could you explain your growth as an artist?

It all goes back to one central place of creativity. I’ve been a musician, writer, and visual artist, and the three are always blending. For example, as a musician I would be the one in the band who would create the flyers, exploring the visual element there. That’s how I got into graphic design. Now, most of my day job involves writing, but I have the photomontage medium as a visual outlet for my personal projects. I’ve also created plenty of photomontage work professionally, using elements in advertising campaigns, websites, and so on. So for me, growing as an artist is basically continuing to be inspired and continuing to express that, learning in many areas all along the way.

Photomontage plays a big role in your art. Do you stick to a particular process or experiment with different techniques?

I have a vocabulary of techniques that I regularly employ, the main one being masking via layers. I also experiment with negative reversals, vignetting, the occasional border, and a few other arcane techniques. My hero and ultimate inspiration, Jerry Uelsmann , has a similar take on this, stating there are things he does that are like trying to explain to someone how to tie a shoe without actually showing them. That’s about the best way to describe it I’ve ever heard.

Are there places you absolutely love to keep going back to capture images for your next piece?

Not so much places, but motifs seem to reappear like a cast of characters in my images. It’s quite unintentional, but I just find certain elements fascinating: clouds, eyes, hands, trees, etc. Those all sound so plain and simple, but they really are evocative to me. I particularly like taking these basic elements and incorporating their everyday sensibility as a crazy juxtaposition to something unexpected for a metaphoric surrealistic effect.

Do you have any big plans for future in terms of your art?

I have an idea for an app that will foster more interaction with my finished works, as well as give subscribers a glimpse into the process and a look at what is forthcoming. Until then, my website, RSMITHINGS.com, is the main area of expansion for my art.

If you could have three famous people (dead or alive) over dinner, who would it be?

If you ask me tomorrow, I will have a different answer, but today I would have to say Keith Richards, Jimi Hendrix, and David Lynch. Not only do I respect them as artists and identify with their creative drive, but I am sure they would have endless, fascinating stories.

What would you cook for them?

Spaghetti. No doubt. It’s a family-type meal that everybody likes, and, importantly, one I can actually cook.

Has there ever been a time when you questioned being an artist?

Professionally, sure. But I keep it in perspective — I’m blessed to have found professional bill-paying outlets for something that comes naturally to me, and that is a wonderful, wonderful thing.

What’s the worst decision you ever made?

I’m still alive, so it’s probably yet to come.

In-Spatium-Appear-In-The-Distance-Richard-Smith-rsmithings.com_

Could you describe your happiest moment?

I’m fortunate enough to say I can’t pick just one, really. I like to believe it’s yet to come as well.

For more on Richard’s super freaky and mind warping images visit his website.

Advanced Level Invisibility

Corgi

For those interested in the Advanced Level Invisibility course, Professor Gus here will be focusing on three key areas: 1) stealth poses, 2) blending in with your environment, and 3) utilizing furniture.

Poetry For A Moment In “The Witness”

The Veteran, by Dorothy Parker:

Plaid

Image: Calsidyrose via Flickr

When I was young and bold and strong,
Oh, right was right, and wrong was wrong!
My plume on high, my flag unfurled,
I rode away to right the world.
‘Come out, you dogs, and fight!’ said I,
And wept there was but once to die.

But I am old; and good and bad
Are woven in a crazy plaid.

From the collection Complete Poems

This poem appeared at the end of a fascinating portrait of Michelle Lyons, formerly of the Texas prison system, who witnessed hundreds of executions in her role as head of public information. It’s part of a well-assembled character sketch titled, “The Witness” by Pamela Colloff for Texas Monthly that gives a unique look into some of the nuances of this position. After reading this multi-layered, compelling story (discovered at Longreads), this poem seemed a wholly appropriate inclusion at its end. Check out the entire story here:

The Witness by Pamela Colloff for Texas Monthly

What do you think? Are you a fan of Dorothy Parker’s work? Do you ever enjoy #longreads? What are your thoughts on how time or responsibilities can change a person? Let us hear from you in the comments.

UPDATE: comment from Author Pamela Colloff

Outstanding Modern Surrealism

Check out the inspiring creations of these seven modern surreal artists working in collage and photomontage

As a photomontage artist myself, I’m constantly scanning Flickr, Pinterest, Tumblr, Instagram and other sites for examples of inspiring work. Every so often, the work of a certain artist consistently demonstrates extraordinary talent and style — in a way that appeals to my fondness for surrealism. I’m a fan of a certain kind of art, and these creators absolutely blow me away with what they regularly produce. Have a look at their websites, seek them out on your favorite image-sharing network, buy their prints, and get inspired by their talent.

Dariusz Klimczak

Dariusz Klimczak - Timer

Website | Flickr

Antonio Mora

Antonio Mora - Beauty

Website | Pinterest

Sylvia Grav

Sylvia Grav - Universe Project

Website | Flickr

Tommy Ingberg

Tommy Ingberg - Will

Website | Tumblr

Sammy Slabbinck

Sammy Slabbinck - Do you remember

Website | Flickr

Bob May

Bob May - Triangulated

Website | Flickr

Jarek Kubicki

Jarek Kubicki - 60612

WebsiteFacebook

What do you think? Do you enjoy a certain kind of art? Are there visual artists you’ve discovered online or elsewhere that you’ve come to follow? Where do you go for visual inspiration? Let us hear from you in the comments.

UPDATE: The artists speak!

dariusz

Three Great Videos From About 10 Years Ago

Yeah Yeah Yeahs – Maps

Franz Ferdinand – Take Me Out

Modest Mouse – Float On