Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Illuminating Heaven & Hell

H2 Illuminated: Heaven and Hell, is an image I created back in 2002 for the inspirational artistic resource by the same name. The graphic designer Mark Murphy sent me an invitation to participate in the project. I pondered the idea of Heaven&Hell and in the preliminary stages decided to depict a fairly straight forward interpretation of each. The straight forward approach eventually transformed, like a good alchemic formula.

While at Comic Con I had done a little sketch of a diabolic figure that I rather liked, so that became the starting point.

Here is a little paragraph included in the book with my contribution on how this image was birthed.

"Heaven and Hell represent two poles of consciousness and the mystic journey in between. These dual principles, opposing in nature, may easily be compared to the eastern Yin & Yang. I have noticed that my creative process, whether I am drawing, painting or orchestrating a perfume, is very akin to that of Alchemy, which in turn bears similarities to the ascent from Hell to Heaven. Alchemist theory, according to Jung, stems from the concept of the soul’s transmutation from the dark recesses of the unconscious to illuminating self realization. The process begins in the mystic depths where the serpent dwells, hibernating in the fiery center of the earth. This stage can often feel rigid and constrictive. In order to manifest a forward motion the “will” forces must to be engaged. As I filtered and distilled my ideas for the paintings I was going to create I went to see a show at the Getty Museum titled “Illuminated Choir Books.” The richness of color and symbolic imagery combined with gold leaf inspired me to transform my two paintings into one illuminated “H.” I noticed that the shape of the letter H was perfect for containing one image above the horizontal connecting line and one below. The tree with its symbolic aspects and references to alchemy and growth magically appeared as I was drawing the layout. The energies associated with the traditional concept of Hell are very base and controlling, yet lie within the transformational powers of fire. It is the phoenix which emerges from the subterranean underworld having burnt away what no longer serves. Tennyson wrote: “The shell must break before the bird can fly.” Heaven is the realm of the fluid, it is expansive and orgasmic. This is the home of the divine, associated with angelic beings."

The limited edition H2 Illumianted Giclee is now up on my etsy shop, here is the link:
Roxana Villa at Etsy

I'll post more pictures showcasing how this piece all came together in the next post.

All images are ©Roxana Villa