Starlet Fever

Artwork for the band Punebre
Sketchbook Pro drawing over a scanned watercolor “inkblot” 2023

***Update: Now with a Boss HM-2 Wazaaaa! See if you can find it!

This was supposed to be a prank. Just a quick 3 week max, comic-like doodle. But since my reptilian brain doesn’t have a sense of humor, it went on all-out rebellion. Now 1/4 of the year is gone!

Making “art” is hard. A friend of mine calls it a “birth process”: Gestation, labor, and post-partum depression. At least as a painter, the amount of time you devote to skill development allows you to proportionally tweak the “genetics” of the outcome. With this in mind, you can’t randomly end up with a horrible baby. Painting can be kinder than biology.

People often assume painters are cruising on a constant wave of inspiration, shove a paintbrush up their asses and “f-art” along. Some do, but I’m definitely not one of those with that “gift”. I don’t even know how to enjoy myself unless there’s a goal. Maybe it’s a blessing, because I’m rarely inspired. My work philosophy is more “Flaubertian”:

“Be regular and orderly in your life like a bourgeois, so that you may be violent and original in your work”

— Gustave Flaubert

Ahhhh, to be able to quote the person who devirginized my brain with the concept of “death by arsenic”. And yes, everything in my life is actually a routine. My muse is routine. Even recreation is scheduled so that I can develop my skills. All to ensure that I don’t call the replication of photographs “fine art”.

The goal of every “artist”, should be to develop their own “Aspective View”. While it is most associated with the Ancient Egyptians, In my own words, it is developing your own visual alphabet or language to communicate your ideas regardless of abstraction. E.g. the Ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs depicted multiple perspectives in one image, and yet universally we can still identify people, gods, animals, symbols, etc., and their geographical origin, effortlessly.

So what are the characteristics of MY “Aspective View”?

  1. The technique allows watercolor to make intricate inkblots that can be re-activated and manipulated, indefinitely. Since the process makes watercolor work against its nature, it is redefined as a medium.
  2. The objective behind the “Rorschachian” inkblot backfires, so that ideas can also be “injected”into the perceiver’s mind. Again, this makes a standard psychological test function against its nature.
  3. In terms of lighting, how all lines, light, and shadow areas bisect each other diagonally is more important than using a terminator line.
  4. Even if all the drawing books/lecturers etc. say that this is BAD, the shadow areas have as much or even more detail as the light.

To name a few..

2022 was a real doozy. I cannot repeat that enough. It felt like being recruited by both heaven and hell to play a cosmic game of Red Rover. WTF? What really made me question everything I believed in is how both sides used exactly the same tactics: Rewards and bribes! This actually led to the epiphany that heaven and hell are an inseparable entity, one system, just like the “duality” the ancient religions worshipped. Also, when it comes to matters of the great unknown, I cannot be bought.

Finally, no one’s ever going to create anything new if they remain within the confines of the existing establishment’s rules. It’s like going on hunger strike to gain weight. The Satan we know is a fairy tale imposed by the Council of Nicaea to personify all the Pagan/Egyptian sun deities into a single adversary. What best way to unite people but to introduce a common foe? Even modern atheists are so indoctrinated that they still refer to the council definition of Satan when they want to feel badass. Gotta hand it to them for creating one “hell” of a propaganda machine.

At this day and age, there is just so much information available. I’ve inferred that there is also some crazy Dungeons and Dragons shit going on out there that simply uses the human iconography of angels and devils as its guise. As far as I’m concerned, There is REAL evil out there far scarier than a blazing hell with dancing demons and pitchforks. Even God can be worn as a costume.

“The Light Bringer” represents the knowledge that each human has, intrinsically. It’s that inner spark, the “Promethean fire”, Carl Jung’s collective unconscious, or what Socrates said in the Phaedo — That everything we need to know is already within ourselves, but we have to re-learn, or “re-ignite” it. This is the underlying foundation of why this new series is called “Neosphoros“.

Starlet Fever

In around October 2022, a black hole spat out a “spagettified” star for the first time in recorded history. Gee, I sure know what that feels like. But since this is a Punebre artwork after all, the title is related to one of their songs.

Also, during the 19th century, there was a similar sounding disease of pandemic proportions. Since drawing anything on a computer is like volunteering for the plague anyway, the title felt amusingly appropriate. The freedom of unlimited revisions, zooming in, zooming out, undoing, redoing, and using a palette where you cannot mix colors, is not good for my health. And now that this piece is finally done, I need to figure out what to do with the rest of my life.

Maybe I’ll go and stick a paintbrush up my butt.

Production Notes:

This is the original inkblot straight from the scanner.


Original photograph on the left vs. my hand drawn version on the right.

Even if I don’t eat it, I had to buy some “balut” for everyone in the house for dissection purposes. In all my life, I’ve also never seen balut look as good as the “internet specimen”, so the creative decision was made to use it as a reference. Versus buying a million aborted ducks to find the perfect looking one, this felt like a lesser evil.

Credits to:


With Punebre logo by Bin Bautista

Phases of the Moon