For the past 7 years I have taken my oil painting to a new level and started to create sculptural pieces. Each piece is is brought alive in a very unusual manner. The videos on this page get you up close and personal with each painting.

The Great Welsh Dragon

Emrys the Dragon's has journeyed  from New Zealand to Wales to his new home at Swansea University. 

It took 22 months to create. 29 oil painting panels adorn its body. One side tells the story of Wales in factual form, the other tells of our more famous fairy tales and Legends.

It has 940 approx. copper scales, all hand beaten and enamelled. Famous Welsh personalities are engraved on the majority of them. They range from sports people to film stars, politicians to philanthropists.

It stands on a map of Wales created out of Welsh slate. There are many more elements to this dragon, all of which I have explained in the book.

Ebook available click here.  Hard copy available click here.

The Gaga World of Stefani Germanotta

The Gaga World of Stephani book available here. This book tells of the story and ideas behind the painting, including sketches of the process.

Lady Gaga  was created in 2012, she stands 2 meters high and is glorious. My paintings are stories in oils, I research all my subjects and see what I am able to create from the information.

 

Lady Gaga is the first painting of mine to incorporate both metal and glass into the piece. The design finished with metal gates which hold the glass mask in place hiding the raw image of her nude face beneath, a play on the window to the soul.

She stands upon the Madison Square gardens which I came to feel that this was one of the proudest moments in her career to date (2012). All through the painting are reflections on parts of her music and her life. Freddie Mercury even makes an appearance with his radio. 

The metamorphic life of Davy Jones

David Bowie was the next subject I chose to create. 

 

My focus for the first canvas was to be the pre-Ziggy era. In a lot of my paintings I like to paint houses that have many rooms, each one telling a story. So, in keeping with my design aesthetic I choose Hadden Hall as the focal point. This canvas I saw as  portraying a heady giddy time, late 60's feel, a time of great creativity, and a fond era in the artist's life.

The second canvas would be the persona years of Bowie's life - Ziggy, Aladin Sane and the Thin White Duke. It was a time where he rocketed to stardom.

The third canvas is his post alter ego years.

I wanted all three canvases to work together so I decided to cut the windows out of the first canvas so you could peer through to the second canvas and see the rooms inside. Each canvas has been orchestrated to flow from one to the other in a spiral fashion. 

The following are some of the elements included in the painting, there are many more and can be found in the book.

The stain glass windows are one of my favourite bits on this front piece. This part was difficult to paint as the portraits are less than an inch square and I had to paint seven of them, all correctly. The first image of Warhol I used didn't work, it ended up looking like a goats head. Being the perfectionist that I am, I searched for another image. Finally, I found one that I knew was right as I could recreate his famous Marilyn Monroe look but using his head. I think it's a fabulous part to the painting. David created the song Warhol as a tribute but Andy didn't like it, so I thought the windows would work perfectly for my tribute to the song. 

Major Tom appears inside the metal Telescope. This points directly towards the planet Earth on the second canvas and is in direct correlation to the Space Oddity lyrics 'Planet Earth is blue and there's nothing I can do'.

This completes the first canvas and the spider is the bridge to the next.

The second canvas is all about David's character creations.

We start this canvas with Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars.

I decided to paint the band members as the actual spiders with their instruments. The metal spider represents David, it has ball bearings for eyes and one is larger than the other.

The story of the Ziggy character is a tale of a Starman and how the infinites jump from black hole to black hole. Here,  inspired by the unique make up  of his pupils (one is fixed in dilation due to an accident in his youth) I made the two black holes reflect their composition. At the end of Ziggy's life the infinites rip him to pieces and so we see this  at the end of the yellow brick road.

We now move to the last canvas. This moves past David's facades.

At this time we have allusions to his film and acting career as well as his music.

 The clown is dragging a bath with the elephant man in it down the stairs. In the bath are a few phallic images:  When David played the elephant man on stage, in one of the scenes he was naked in a bath. The stage crew (wanting to have fun with David) used to fill the bath with pornography and paraphernalia. 

The many stairs relate towards the film 'Labyrinth' as does the image of Bowie later on, appearing to hold the moon in his hand. For most of my generation we all remember him as the Goblin king, but I didn't want that to take over the painting. In Labyrinth all I really remember is David Bowie wandering up and down the maze of steps, but not wanting to copy the original I placed my own version of them in the painting.

Ebook available here: The Metamophic life of Davy Jones. The book that explains the surreal David Bowie painting. Complete with up close photos and sketches. Follow the journey I take into making one of my paintings.

Hard copy also available here.

Mental Health sculptures

The above link will take you to my blog page that explains each head in more depth. It was when my father was diagnosed with frontal lobe dementia that I decided to create this series on mental health. four of these conditions effect my life in one way or another and I felt it was important to create these conditions from an outsiders point of view of what it is like to live with. 

They appear to resonate more with people who are also connected to these illnesses. Other people just seem to disregard the subject all together which is rather sad.

Personally I believe that in order to address these conditions we need to start on the up and coming generation as the first 7 years of a Childs life is when you program the brain. Parenthood should be taught in school. The sad truth of it is that if you as a parent suffering from depression or anxiety the chances are you are going to leave that legacy with your offspring. I have made a great effort to try and avoid my children from inheriting my husbands depression. It is all well and good helping those who suffer today with these conditions but we should be looking to safeguard the next generation as well.

My efforts with my children appear to have been successful. Yes they have shown signs of anxiety and small amounts of depression but we talk through them and I make a huge effort to make sure they know they are loved and that it's ok to have these feelings, but we work on how to control and process these feelings. So far they are confident happy children. Navigating parenthood is hard and so I believe it should be taught in order to make mentally better human beings. 

The Book of Revelations

This is a mammoth sculpture and is still one of my favourites. For many people it is rather a heavy subject to digest and believe me it was even harder to create a painting out of it. I think it has mixed reviews, as do most of my works. I know myself, only a very select number of individuals on this planet will truely be moved by my work. But that is art in itself. This is my voice and soul speaking, and it is not an easy one to understand. All my subjects are part of a journey inside my own self. With the completion of each one I get closer to the answer I am seeking in life. It is a glorious journey and one that I am happy to share. 

The video takes you through the story from beginning to end. Starting with the seven candlesticks and ending with the tree of life behind the pearly gates. It took of a lot to recreate the whole story and I believe I have been quite successful in relaying it in this form.

Te Aroha, New Zealand

021 1171481

© 2019 by Julia O'Sullivan. 

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