Monday, 2 January 2012

Kobal: development and symbolism

Photo, concept, manipulation, styling, frame design: GothicNarcissus
Model, hair: Alessio La Bella
Make up: BriarRose
Additional resources: Amptone-stock (texture), (curtain, wings)

When researching Demons, it’s quite easy to bump into Kobal. He’s often cited as the Demon of dark humor. He’s described as witty and playful while, according to some other sources, he’s generally the Demon of acting, mostly comical but also tragic, and can be summoned by people who wish to become skilful at acting or writing plays.
As it is generally difficult to find such a well defined Demon, with both information about his personality and what he does, I immediately decided he was going to be included in the project; he even had a very charming name, something kind of rare for the Demons get interested in. It was an easy concept to work on, too, as his activity is quite easy to render graphically: the idea of his holding a mask in front of a theatre curtain was developed quite early and remained pretty much the same until the finished work. Also, I wanted him to have rather fancy clothes to fit the theatrical theme and, while looking for a model, I gathered what I needed: the sumptuous black shirt with a big jabot and a highly decorated tricorn hat.
For the record, I also considered the idea of him holding two roses, a dead and a fresh one, like in the early Theatre of Tragedy album covers, but I eventually scrapped it because it would have been too unclear for those unfamiliar with the band (if there were any among watchers, considering how much I talk about them).
An early concept sketch of Kobal with the Theatre of Tragedy roses.
As for the model, I initially thought of someone who acted in a theatre. I found a suitable model who lived in Trieste but he just didn’t make himself available for like a whole year, so I dismissed him and looked for someone else. I’ve already described how I met Alessio and how I found him naturally expressive when posing: this is what made me cast him, as I thought a spontaneous expressivity was more in character with Kobal, whose wit is a natural skill.
The strangest thing about this work is that I shot it right after Jezebeth: all my previous attempts to do more than a single Infernal Lord at a time were foiled by some random circumstance, to the point I started joking about some curse placed upon my work. Well, apparently the curse has worn off, so let’s just see what comes next.
I have to admit the choice of the colour was influenced by the assonance of Kobal’s name with cobalt, but as I had enough blue-themed Demons, I switched to teal instead as it suited the decorations of the mask I originally intended to use (which was changed at the last minute because it did not look as good as I thought in the photo). The theme-song, And When He Falleth by Theatre of Tragedy, is just so Kobal. Also, the Seal is another last-minute addition: I had it ready for use, but totally forgot to add it because there’s so little skin that shows. As Kobal lacks one of its own, I chose that of Bathim because it resembles a mask… although it almost doesn’t show at all.

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