Tag Archives: psychedelic art

Mara Page 11

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This was one of those pages that was a real struggle, my original plans for the composition were not working, too busy and disorganized, in the end the composition became about the enormous toad head and her psychedelic portrait. There’s a bit of a Yellow Submarine influence in the psychedelic elements, as well as a dash of Vaughn Bode. I always loved the face make-up in Bode’s drawings. But to be honest, though the tribute was not intended, when I look at page 11 all I can hear is the Hypnotoad from Futurama.

Probably the most interesting story that ended up attached to this page happened after I had pencilled this and shot the video. I was asked to draw a cover for an upcoming Barbarella comic! I was thrilled, as much as I have very mixed feelings about the movie, I’ve learned to love the original Barbarella comics by Jean Claude Forest. But even for all that, Barbarella represents something to me, something that it inherently is not, something abstractly iconic in the mythology of my life. It was and is part of my love for Exploitation Cinema, a part of the elusive comics that formed my earliest influences, and the psychedelic chick aspect of it is part of what influenced my sense of self. In other words, when asked to draw Barbarella, I wasn’t drawing her, I was drawing what she meant to me, it was more like an impressionist interpretation of Barbarella in that I was offering my impression of who she was to me.

When asked to do the cover, I was really stuck, I felt so intimidated by the monolith Barbarella has become to me, by what the concept of Barbarella within the context of my life means… and I was paralyzed. I couldn’t come up with a decent cover idea… so I figured I’d swipe this Mara page, though changing it a lot along the way. So yep, there she is below… Mara transmogrified into her grandmother… Barbarella.

Barbarella Cover Justine Mara Andersen

Barbarella Cover Justine Mara Andersen

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Mara Page 10

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For a change, I’m not going to track my visual influences here, In most of these blog posts I show people what inspired me, but I can’t really show you what inspired me because… it’s illegal to give you all DMT, I don’t have any DMT (and haven’t for 2 years), and I’m not so sure it’s a good idea to give you all DMT.

Whenever I talk about these pages I’m always asked, especially by students, “Should I take DMT?” and I answer that with questions, questions and strong warnings. Though I am a big believer in the beneficial properties of entheogenic substances, plant teachers and medicines, I’m also a big believer in responsible conscious use and timing. The timing of tripping is very important, take it before you are ready… and it can be a big disaster. I never took psychedelics at all until I was well into my adult life and knew what I wanted from them. I took psychedelics as a seeker, as a follower of Shiva, as a fellow sufferer, and I think you can tell, I did not take them lightly.

The page below is an impressionistic attempt to somehow convey in a black and white line drawing, what the DMT experience is like… which is an utterly impossible goal, other than that perhaps I have met the goal of showing what it feels like to have so much information coming at you so fast that you can’t take it all in.

Barefoot Justine Mara Pencils Page 10

Barefoot Justine Mara Pencils Page 10

Additionally, since Mara’s world is not a future world, or a dystopian vision of the future, it’s an alternate reality, the DMT in her reality resonates not only on the visual and reality shredding spiritual level, it also resonates at the erotic level, hence the entrance of the substance through her navel and the pulsation of her nipples.

This image is highly personal, the ring of panthers are from a dream I had while I was not on DMT, but that I know happened due to DMT. DMT changed my dreams, they began to hold messages, began to reveal things to me that I needed to see and to know. The central ring of jesters are similar to the ones I saw in the DMT realm, but that I later discovered had been painted on cave walls! And the center ring focuses on the toad, its eyes, it’s third eye, and the pouches that contain DMT… though I never had toad 5NMEO DMT, I thought the toad was a better visual symbol for the Mara story. The only other thing I think I really captured here is the way reality shatters once the DMT takes hold, or at least the filtered reality we are all familiar with.

One of the BIG stresses of this page was that I did not want to lose the looseness of the panther drawings, and needed to maintain the tightness of the panel borders, which were numerous and a nightmare to ink. I have to say that I always ink panel borders with a ruler, but in this case, it got so messy, I inked most of the borders freehand with a brush.

As it turned out, the inks came out better than I could have hoped for!

For the first time in this blog series, I am going to share with you the final inks!

Barefoot Justine Mara Page 10 Inks

Barefoot Justine Mara Page 10 Inks

Lastly, when I tell people that DMT forever changed me, people then ask, “for the better or for the worst?” And I don’t have an easy answer. Most definitely having your concepts of the nature of reality shredded is a difficult thing to deal with… would I want to go back to my limited notions of the nature of reality? I tell people the truth, it’s been challenging to readjust, but I have no regrets and I would not want to unlearn what DMT taught me, and I would not want to undo how DMT changed me.

My advice, proceed wisely, carefully, do your research, and really think about whether or not DMT is right for you. It was definitely right for me, and it sent me further down the spiritual path, and far faster than perhaps I thought myself ready for.

If you love what you are seeing, please note that I am creating these pages with a return of NOTHING, so I am seeking patrons. Monthly patronage would really help this project come along, and my patrons get all manner of cool exclusives: https://www.patreon.com/barefootjustine

Mara Page 8

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OK, group, so here’s another case where I have to openly talk about the evil world of “DRUGS!” Ooh… sounds so sensational when we say it that way… something BIG pharma, politicians and exploitation documentary makers (and NOT the divine type of exploitation of the cinema) know all too well. Rather than referring to marijuana as a plant medicine and DMT and Ayahuasca as a plant teacher, we use the word “drugs” to shut down dialog and vilify… but enough of that rant. This page was partially inspired by the one (of 15 or so) DMT trips that went bad, though I get more specific on that later. In the trip, the floor under my bare feet became quite menacing, so here I mixed that with a scene from the original Hans Christian Andersen story “The Little Mermaid.” Note how Mara’s feet are enjoying trodding upon mushrooms, that soon turn into vile polyps, then eyeballs.

Below is the passage from “The Little Mermaid,” which seems to me to emphasize if not somewhat eroticize her bare breasts.

“Beyond this stood her house, in the centre of a strange forest, in which all the trees and flowers were polypi, half animals and half plants; they looked like serpents with a hundred heads growing out of the ground. The branches were long slimy arms, with fingers like flexible worms, moving limb after limb from the root to the top. All that could be reached in the sea they seized upon, and held fast, so that it never escaped from their clutches. The little mermaid was so alarmed at what she saw, that she stood still, and her heart beat with fear, and she was very nearly turning back; but she thought of the prince, and of the human soul for which she longed, and her courage returned. She fastened her long flowing hair round her head, so that the polypi might not seize hold of it. She laid her hands together across her bosom, and then she darted forward as a fish shoots through the water, between the supple arms and fingers of the ugly polypi, which were stretched out on each side of her.”

Edmund Dulac Little Mermaid

Edmund Dulac Little Mermaid

Were these hallucinations, the physical reality of this space? Does it matter, isn’t all maya, all illusion? Anything that is real to us in a moment is the reality we know.

While in the panels below I reached for a balance between the old world I loved (Gollum from the Rankin Bass Hobbit), and what is to me the new world of stylistic abstraction and the raw looseness I am chasing. First with the old world I know, I recall in the Hobbit cartoon just how magnificent the anatomy of the Gollum was… those fabulous hands!

To be honest, I have to confess that the Rankin Bass Hobbit had more of an influence on me, my mind, my art, the velocity of my life, than anything up to that time, and perhaps anything after, potentially including the earth-shattering influence of Star Wars. What that Hobbit did for me was first introduce me to fantasy of the highest order! And, more importantly, if you look carefully at the backgrounds and the lines, the entire design of the movie was based on the work of an artist who, many years down the road, was to become the biggest influence on my art and style, Arthur Rackham. Seriously, look at Rackham, then watch the Hobbit and tell me you don’t see it!

And, though I say somewhat new territory for me, the abstraction and stylization, as is still my path, it is based on the work of a master. Though I was not looking at this image, Klimt was very much in mind.

Gustav Klimt
Judith I, 1901

But what is coming on the next page is not merely a return to the reality of erotic texture that was always a part of my Mara work, but most definitely pushed many steps further than I had been capable of all those years ago… but that, will have to wait until we get to page 9.

If you love what you are seeing, please note that I am creating these pages with a return of NOTHING, so I am seeking patrons. Monthly patronage would really help this project come along, and my patrons get all manner of cool exclusives: https://www.patreon.com/barefootjustine

Mara Page 1 (& Classic Mara)

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Watch video above!

Old Mara Art

Old Mara Art

These entries are meant to compliment the on-camera video flip-through (TOP) I did with Tom Hart for the unfinished relaunch of my highly personal Mara comics series. At first we thought we might edit in close-ups and images from the artists that influenced me, but it seemed that a better treatment was to write accompanying blogs so the viewer can perhaps come in closer, or at least spend more time with the images I want to spotlight.

Before even going into the first page of the new Mara, I spent some time discussing “Classic Mara,” if something as utterly ignored and low-selling as my Mara can ever be considered “classic.”

Regardless, that old Mara project came from the heart, and it kept me “sane,” and drove me nuts at the same time… and kept me poor. But I felt I had something to say then, and then I thought it was important. Now, I have something to say, but being older… I no longer suffer from the delusion that it will be in any way “important.” As I often say, “I wanted to leave a mark, but I fear all I’ve left is a stain.” What kept me doing it even while it was being so utterly dismissed was that I had never seen anything like it. In other words, as familiar as I was with Exploitation Cinema, eroticism, and comics in that style, nothing sated my thirst, ONLY Mara did that. My unique vision was what kept me going.

Here she is, good old Mara! The image below was done about the time I had begun to burn out, it’s hard to believe now, but I abandoned this page because I thought it was lousy…

It ain’t!

Classic Unfinished Mara by Justine

Classic Unfinished Mara by Justine

The first page of the “New Mara” was inspired by my experiences with the psychedelic DMT, experiences which ended a couple years back. The problem with translating these experiences into art is that the DMT experience does not translate into the limitations of this reality. The DMT experience is not about seeing and hearing things, it’s more about BEING things. And worse, the DMT experience is a lot like having a handful of gold in the cave of wonders, gold that quickly turns to dust once you exit the cave.

How does one draw that which cannot be grasped, that which cannot be described or defined, or even remembered? About all an artist can do is try and recreate what the experience felt like.

I found the image below, and while it is not what I experienced, it came far closer than anything else I have seen. But imagine if the image below were in motion, the colors rotating, luminesce, and wholly immersive. All I could find to credit the artist was that it was done by “Beacon.”

I think if you look at the 2nd panel of the first page you will see that I did a variation on this image, but chose to reference the trunk of the Hindu deity Ganesh. Also note the floating circles and how they pan across all 6 of the lower panels.

Justine Mara Andersen's Mara Page 1 Detail

Justine Mara Andersen’s Mara Page 1 Detail

The grid underneath was intended to help me maintain symmetry, but I am thinking I might ink it in, it seems now to be a part of the drawing.

I was asked just yesterday if the DMT experience changed me for the better or for the worse. I stammered, and had to say that every action comes with consequences, some could be seen as positive, some as negative. All I know is that the changes have been profound and utterly irreversible. What I have learned from DMT has expanded me, and somewhat frightened me, it’s not something that should be undertaken lightly. Was it for the best or for the worst? I don’t know, but I don’t regret it.

And, last but not least, to help me make this dream come true, to help bring these visions and fantasies to light, become a patron of the arts: https://www.patreon.com/barefootjustine

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