Χάος (Chaos) – Novel and Accompanying Artwork

A recent project I have started is a fiction novel entitled Χάος: The Chaos Engine (working title). After meeting the artist LADOZA I was inspire to get into making prints, and saw this as a great opportunity to create some visuals for my novel.

I have so far created 3 plates that match to parts of the story and display the timeline of the entity Χάος (based on the Greek god Chaos, written about by many Ancient Greeks, but my version is mostly focused on the poet Hesiod’s point of view – although I have interpreted it into my own fiction and the “figures” below present a beginning a middle and an end as far as the book is concerned).

I hope to further these 3 figures and create some real prints and experiment with methods and kinds of paper. I also hope to create more figures to accompany the book. More of this will evolve as the book does and my research into Greek mythology and fictional worlds continues.


The visuals came about by drawing tree roots. I used to struggle with grasping how to get the roots overlapping and splitting to be illustrated effectively, but with some practise I filled a small semi-circle with pencil illustration.

I scanned that pencil drawing, printed off a very faint version and went over it very roughly in pen in a sketchy style to make it look a bit dirty and jarring. I then scanned that into illustrator, live traced it and had this dirty looking root composition.

After playing around with the paths I had this jagged and dirty root formation in a clean vector.

My intention was to draw the tree branches in, but as a time saving method I attempted duplicating and rotating the piece, turning the roots into the branches. It struck up imagery of a haggard city from afar which I loved. I tightened up the middle joint a little, added some text and left it at that.

I tried the same thing process, but this time with the cleaner pencil lines. This gave a very similar, but smoother effect. The only issue being the slightly off centre so I exaggerated the twisting connection and that became the tree trunk.

Then after some manipulation of the second tree figure (reversing the angles) I ended up with the egg timer looking figure 2 had this dual fire/egg timer looking thing that appears to summon images of two phoenix on a playing card.

The meanings I’m attempting to reinforce through my triptych follow a combination of Greek mythology (mostly Hesiod’s point of view) and my own fiction.

Fig. 1: Chaos in its purest form, infinite and changing.

Fig. 2: the entrapment of chaos into the engine (part of the story). I intend to useuse this as the symbol of the (yet unnamed) governing body in the book. I want to tie in some meaning using some of the Eros and Nyx imagery of the two gods as birds as a fictional propaganda, enforced by the governing body.

Fig. 3 is the release of chaos back to its natural form, having potentially learned from the goodness in earth, but ultimately leaving it behind to reclaim its formless chaos.


I was massively inspired by the artist Vasily Kafanov who created a plethora of background artwork for the Smashing Pumpkins’ concept album Machina/The Machines Of God who creates incredibly detailed paintings, rich with context and background, be it through the mysterious symbols, the incredible use of space and contrast, or the relevance of its purpose (ie. to accompany a concept album like Machina). His use of the complex over midtones and dark washed, almost crayon-like textures tell a thousand busy stories in every piece.

“Ring of the Serpent. 39″ x 39” Image for the Smashing Pumpkin album MACHINA, Variation ” A” 1999″  https://www.kafanov.com/#/medium-paintings-kafanov/

“The Chemist Brings Spark. 30″ x 30” Image for the Smashing Pumpkin album MACHINA. 1999″ https://www.kafanov.com/#/medium-paintings-kafanov/

 

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