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model: Zack Barnes

A lot of things were running through my head as I worked this image. This one was started as an improvisation, and took a very long time over two days to complete. It started as a nice portrait of Zack; sometimes that's all I start with - a portrait with nice lighting, and something in the expression that leaves room for a story.

I added the eye damage - a blindness/loss of senses theme that I am really focused on lately, and may become a larger series in the future. Once I added the chessboard texture to his face - another interest of mine for the future: body painting - it started calling to mind a lot of religious and philosophical references to the God concept - God as War Mongerer, God as Prankster, God as a Blind WatchMaker. Something tribal about having the chessboard as tattooed warpaint - I imagined a super being, our creator, as a distraught boy whose creation has spun out of his control, and the view he has from on high is so distressing he has either lost his sight or deliberately blinded himself from the horrors he has unleashed on Earth. I even added the wires into his spine from above as a way out - an implication that he himself is a pawn in another being's agenda, and he has no more control over this drama than we do.

It is a concept I am drawn to, despite being an ardent atheist or nontheist. I was raised Catholic, and the material and mythology about God and gods is endlessly fascinating nonetheless, and actually tells more about humanity than it does about the god concept it is trying to convey.

A lot of excuses are made for his lack on involvement in the plight of mankind - and maybe the bluntness and meaning behind Nietzsche's proclamation in "the Madman" is finally the most truth we can ascribe to God:

God is dead. God remains dead. And we have killed him. Yet his shadow still looms. How shall we comfort ourselves, the murderers of all murderers? What was holiest and mightiest of all that the world has yet owned has bled to death under our knives: who will wipe this blood off us? What water is there for us to clean ourselves? What festivals of atonement, what sacred games shall we have to invent? Is not the greatness of this deed too great for us? Must we ourselves not become gods simply to appear worthy of it?

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