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  • Writer's pictureMichael Alfonso

Creation of a Primitive Eagle

Updated: Jul 30, 2022

Do ancient cultures astound you? Are you a history buff? Perhaps a fan of Indiana Jones? For the inaugural blog post of my website, I have decided to showcase my most recent work of art—the Primitive Eagle (No.1). Read on!

Inspiration from an Unread Book

If memory serves me correctly, somewhere between 2019 and 2021 I purchased the book "When Things Fall Apart" by Chinua Achebe. The cover of the book intrigued me with its primitive symbols within two opposing black and white faces. Note: I have not finished reading it and have moved onto other books. I can't recall why I stopped reading after the first few chapters? Anyway, the few pages I did read were very well written. Perhaps I will return to it in the future? Nevertheless, the African book cover inspired me to explore primitive cultures throughout the globe.

From South America to Oceania

The book cover was only part of the formula. After discussing with my father about his industrial fish folk sculptures, I began researching "primitive", "folk", "wood block cutting", and "haida" art samples online. Here are some interesting and colorful objects which I found and saved in my Pinterest collection.

Top Row: Mbaka Mask Tim Hamill; Matt Repsher Ceramic; Scot Jensen Wood Carved Raven Mask. Bottom Row: Joe Mclaren Owl; Unknown Nazca Seated Female Beaker; Freda Diesing Haida Eagle Crest.

"In short, my aim was to construct an Eagle figure combining primitive design elements within a modern graphic design software. " - Michael Alfonso

The Past Meets The Present

The artwork’s aim was to render an animal (eagle) using geometrical shapes like the rectangle, ellipse, and semi-circle. These shapes acted as artistic constraints to make up the eagle’s body; for example, the wing was composed of a semi-circle with extended edges and the chest was composed of various rectangles.

The head and beak are the only “loose” elements in the artwork. This was done on purpose to offset the existing strict geometries used to form the body, thus, giving the eagle a playful and whimsical character. The eagle’s head is nearly as wide as it’s wing and purposely exaggerated to display the artist’s original primitive and non-realist intent.

Yet, with the lacking of pure geometrical guidelines, the eagle's head and beak rests perfectly onto its wing while accentuating a rudimentary look.

"Throughout the artwork, my goal was to merge the undefined with the defined; the simple period of hand drawn art communication with the later, more technically advanced periods. " - Michael Alfonso

There was no clear direction (or intention) for the artist to create a full backside. The pebbled rectangle did not necessarily require additional work; however, a black diamond-like pattern representative of feathers found its way onto what may or may not be the backside of an eagle. The viewer may interpret the eagle’s posture in whatever way he or she sees fit, but the artist created the eagle’s posture to be unclear from the start — perhaps it is looking at you or not? This distorted and ambiguous approach was compounded by the artist’s choice to use (mostly) gold and red color gradients instead of solid colors.

What's Next?

After the artwork sold at the 16"x16"print dimension, I created an experimental color series of Eagles to be sold at a later date directly on my website. These are physical art pieces and will look great hanging in any home, plus a Certificate of Authenticity. Note: The eagle does not necessarily have to be in print format; I have created it so it can be engraved and/or carved out with a CNC machine, or cut by hand. Having said that, with the ongoing hype and hysteria surrounding physical & digital artworks as NFTs (non-fungible token) format, I am considering how the buyer and eagle can benefit from this new fad.

Thank you for reading!

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