It’s about time I wrote something about my magnum opus on this blog. It’s not surprising that I haven’t yet, as there hasn’t been any news on this side lately and I had more urgent things to talk about, but it’s a vaste subject which will take quite a lot of posts, one for each Demon, so I’m better start off now.
The Infernal Lords project was first conceived around September or October 2009, and was mainly inspired by Kaori Yuki’s work, most notably Angel Sanctuary, and Draconian music, in particular the albums dealing with Lucifer, his Fall and all the Biblic folklore. I was looking for the right idea for a long-term project to develop in time, and this one stuck. The project has evolved a lot ever since, but its main standpoints haven’t change, both conceptually and stylistically, so I’m going to introduce them.
Conceptually, this project is about the traditional Demons drawn from Christian and Jewish mythology. The sources are mainly demonology grimoires such as Colin de Plancy’s Dictionnaire Infernel, John Weiner’s Pseudomonarchia Daemonum and The Lesser Key Of Solomon, the Talmud and, occasionally, the Bible. Nevertheless, I gave a personal interpretation of the subject, as I strongly rejected the traditional division between good and evil with a direct consequence in the aesthetics of the project: disregarding the monstruous and grotesque rendition of Demons in popular Christian imagery, I chose instead to represent Evil as genuinely beautiful, as it must be physically appealing to exist. Put in other words, it must be very attractive and pleasent to the senses not as a disguise, but by its very essence in order to be effectively tempting as an alternative to what is considered good. As a consequence, each one of my Demons (or, most appropriately, Fallen Angels) is represented as a beautiful being, retaining all the beauty they had before the fall, as well as generally their noble and elegant aura.
Originally, my idea was to simply give a graphical rendition of the traditional Demons according to my own canon, without any addition. Nevertheless, due to the substantial lack of sources and stories which really characterize the Demons, beside the fact that most of the existing sources just contradict each other forcing me to a careful selection, I had to characterize them myself, with the results that my Demons started walking on their own feet and became round characters that, while still largely based on their ‘official’ counterparts, have powers of their own, maintain a whole new network of affairs, rivalries and friendships and stand in a well-defined peerage, contextualized in a well defined cosmology.
Truth be told, what I love the most about the Christian cosmology is the extremely mundane rendition of the supernatural. The Jewish and Christian God is essentially a dispotic monarch with his own court and army, and so is Lucifer. I basically kept this vision, but totally wiped away the moral identification with good and evil: Heaven and Hell are basically only opposed factions, both with their share of corruption, inner struggles, inequity, lust for power and so on, and mankind is simply caught in between them, Earth being their battlefield; it’s not good against evil, it’s Yahweh (God) versus Lucifer (Satan) for the supreme power on the universe. And to be honest, I don’t consider this vision of mine particularly far from what actually Christians have depicted ever since the Middle Ages, but this is not directly relevant to the artistic part so I’ll save it for another time.
Stylistically, the finished series will be made of 30 pieces, one for each Demon. I initially didn’t want to have a given number of works and simply end the project whenever I felt like, but after reading through many Demon biographies I just decided this is the ideal number, having a whole host of interesting characters while avoiding to repeat them (as most of the Demons I found, in particular the Goetic ones, are just a copycat of each other). These Demons will be the very élite of the Infernal society, each one being a noble who attends the Court of Pandemonium under the wing (read: close control) of Emperor Lucifer. Each of the pieces is a stand-alone work which doesn’t necessarily need the others to be understood, and most of them retain unique traits blended with others which are common to all the works and provide continuity to the series: a black or generally dark background, an elaborate frame, the presence of the Demon in a portrait-like pose showing off some characteristic true to its nature, and most often the Seal of the Demon, imposed by God to denote their Fallen status but which basically acts as a cathalist for their powers. The model is different each time, and each work has a unique dominant colour and a theme song associated.
Technically speaking, the works in this series are not pure photographs, as they are usually heavily manipulated, but I strongly refuse to consider them photomanipulations either, as I work on actual portraits taken by me and I rely on stock photos only for the details, rather than creating a brand new image out of thin air. I’d rather call them regular photographic portraits with necessary digital additions, as people don’t have wings, halos, seals and don’t use magic. So basically something in-between photographs and photomanipulations.
The next I.L.-related post will be the first of the Demons’ biographies. I don’t know what the ourcome of this series will be. I’m pretty sure I will print a book for myself out of it, but I strongly doubt it will be up for selling, as getting the green light from all the stock providers will be most unlikely. It might be I write a novel out of it in the feature, after I’m done with my Vampires or while working on them, but I have to come up with a plausible plot which possibly doesn’t plagiarize Angel Sanctuary, so who knows?
Meanwhile, I just hope you enjoy my works; I wish to thank you all for the support you gave to the series so far, and I hope I won’t let you down with the next entries.