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Grey Cross Studios
1920 4th St, New Orleans , LA 70113
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(BTC) The House at the End of the Universe (Grey Cross)

BTC Stands for "Behind the Curtain". Its a look at work created by various artists, photographers and creators around the world. 
Its a small peak behind the curtain as to how the piece was created and the conceptual ideas behind it. 

All art comes with a story. 

I am often asked how I get from the beginning to the end of piece of digital art. Since photography is the base of my digital work, its possible to get a glimpse at the process. 

I think the most important step is one that cannot be seen though. Its the thought process that goes into a piece of art. I rarely begin with a finished idea in mind. Instead I let the piece tell me where it wishes to go. 

We saw this abandoned house on a trip down towards Port Sulphur in southern Louisiana. It was sitting across from the levee that guards from flooding along the Mississippi River. We suspected it had been destroyed by Hurricane Katrina and never repaired. 

Left to fall quietly into dust my first thought wasn't that it was haunted, which would be a natural feeling in an old abandoned house, but rather that it wasn't quite in sync with the world around it. So I suppose that iss why the finished piece was so unworldly. 

You can see the base photo here, one of several I took of the house.

From here its now pure inspiration. There are 9 step photos from the original to the final version, but in reality there are more like 50-60 smaller steps that go into the creation of any piece of art but I only save at certain stages in the process. 

Surrealism is a funny beast. There have to be elements of reality to create surrealism or else its pure fantasy. The house in this case is the "reality anchor" which focus all the other elements as it comes together. 

Note as you look through the step photos that a lot of time and attention went into brightening the house itself so the details can really be seen. I took the original photo in late afternoon so some elements are in shadow. Another 30 minutes and the sun would be behind the levee which was located across from it. 

It was not until I got about half way through the process that the theme of the piece began to emerge. By transposing the image from daylight to night it looked so lonely out there under the stars. But it was really because of the location of this house in reality that the theme of the house at the end of the universe came about. This house in particular was almost as far south as you could go before you hit the Gulf of Mexico. There wasn't much more beyond it because it was on the opposing bank of the river from the few small towns down that far south.. Once the stars were placed in the image it was a given that it should reflect that lonely location in the world. 

Also note as you go through the steps that the sky was not one element but composed of several different levels merged together. The planet and the eclipsing sun were honestly last minute ideas to give the image the scope of being universal. 

One last note regarding this image. It was chosen in The Artist to Author Project as the theme of a short story of the same name by writer Andrew Seas. You can read the story at the following link:

The House at the End of the Universe

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