Monday, 2 April 2012

Naberius: development and symbolism

Photo, concept, manipulation, styling, hair, make up, frame design: GothicNarcissus
Assistant: LunarShore
Additional resources: Amptone-stock (texture), (wings, halo)

Actually, Naberius (as well as Kobal) was not the first Demon of Art I bumped into: first I found out about Murmur, who set the pattern of an art-related, summonable Demon in the first place, and soon Naberius and Kobal followed. Eventually, circumstances got me to do them before Murmur, but I will complete this sort of “artistic unholy trinity” as soon as I can.
So, once I decided for three “artistic” Demons, one of whom was related to figurative arts, all I had to do was finding him a name. If you browse through The Lesser Key Of Solomon, you’ll see that there are more Demons that “maketh thee cunning in all sort of Arts” (although I guess it is meant as in “crafts”) in there than specks of dust in a beam of sun, so all I had to do was to pick the prettiest name and scrap the others. Naberius was one of those Demons and had the prettiest name of them all, so I downright ignored the “especially in the Art of Rhetoric” part and picked him. On a side note: one of the alternate names for Naberius is Cerberus and he’s depicted as a crane with three dog heads, but there’s no conclusive proof that links him to the Greek Cerberus.
Naberius from the Dictionnaire Infernal.
With this part set up, anyway, I suddenly and strangely found myself with basically no concrete ideas about how to actually do him. The concept of figurative art is just so wide that I did not know where to begin. Then, while generically browsing for wings on, I bumped into that wonderful stained glass stock and I got the illumination: I would use the stereotype of the French bohemian painter but with that twist. After all, stained glass is just another form of figurative art and a really beautiful one too. So, my Naberius would have a stereotypical French artist look, with a big scarf and a beret, but glass wings instead of some painting or stuff like that. I further developed the idea after I found that circular stained window which would work perfectly as a halo, beside highlighting the beret, and decided that, of course, he would hold a magical brush with whom he would paint in thin air.
I chose Alessandro as the model because that kind of bohemian-chic look really suits him and I knew he would look incredibly handsome in my beret, which turned out to be true. LunarShore was assisting us and after some Theatre of Tragedy playing in the background, the music changed and produced the totally crazy backstage photos you can see below (which I even initially considered as the official one, but that would have been too out of context in the series).
On a side note, I originally wanted every sort of things to magically spark from the brush as luminescent shapes, like butterflies, flowers and other figures, but while I was editing the photo I soon realised that the stained glass was very rich on its own and adding more details would have overloaded the image; so I decided that his seal painted above his free hand would be enough. Speaking of which, I don’t really know what the hell was going on in my mind. Naberius is in the Lesser Key, so he does have a Seal of his own, but while I was gathering material for him I apparently failed to notice that and gave him one of the two alternate Seals of Bune instead. I found out about Naberius’ own Seal only after the work was finished and, honestly, I was so pleased about how I blended it that I did not want to change it. I don’t believe either Naberius or Bune will be pissed off about that anyway.
As for the rest of the work, the main colour being pink was a direct consequence of the stained glass stock. On the other hand, I’m totally positive that the theme-song being Black As The Devil Painteth by Theatre of Tragedy does not need an explaination, does it?

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