About the artwork:
Mega Moon, 2022, is a vegan ink and vegan acrylic painting of a fictional moon on a 1.5m x 1.5m stretched canvas made in South Africa. I’ve been working on this piece since February this year and I’m so happy it’s finally done! You can watch the process video that I filmed, edited and did the music for below. I only documented 5 hours of the entire process and edited the progress video down to 10 minutes of key moments. Many more hours of work, layers, detail and tons of elbow grease went into it.
I aimed to create the illusion of craters, crevices and different kinds of landscapes, like when you see pictures of the actual moon’s oceans and mountains but mine are imagined as a vast world, where even the smallest hole was painted in with black paint. I tried not to rely too much on the artificial light in a room to emphasize the bottom layer of texture by creating shadow and depth with paint. I want to create a fictional history on a surface; one where you can imagine wandering this lunar surface, like when you see a miniature or maquette. For a second, I encourage your suspension of disbelief, simply because this fictional moon exists in our 3D space as something both familiar and alien to Earth’s terrain.
About the process:
After initially applying a base layer of texture on the canvas with imprinted mark-making and dents made with compostable knives and a brush, I added white, grey and black washes of diluted acrylic paint with sprayed water and lines of ink poured out of a bottle, letting each layer dry. I then went in with solid black acrylic paint and brush, diluted ink and a spray bottle. I stippled in white, grey and black acrylic paste mixtures with a thin brush. After moving the painting to my bedroom and hanging it on a wall, I reused old, cut-up plastic bags for recycling to cover the wall. The bags have only ever been used for painting. I then added a drip effect, thanks to gravity.
I took inspiration from some of James Jean’s earlier works (shown and labeled in the process video above), but I did my own take on this influence. What I like about the examples is the energy portrayed in the paintings and how he has a mix of controlled realism with spontaneous/ surreal moments of bold lines and texture. I worked with more layers, pushing and pulling them between the background and foreground, to form the illusion of the sun hitting the top of a moon. I then added linework and dots after the washes dried. Even though I painted in black lines at one point, I did a broad wash over them with white paint and a brush to make them appear like they’re receding and old. Everything was done with various sized vegan brushes. I then finished this piece with gel medium and varnish.