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“And let reason guide your passion, so your fervor may rise anew each day, like the phoenix soaring from its own ashes.” – Khalil Gibran
The phoenix, a mythical bird, symbolizes renewal, rebirth, and the cycles of life and death. It represents metamorphosis, the sun, and celestial bodies, providing abundant inspiration for artists. The art commissioned for this project aimed to encapsulate these ideas in a concise yet profound manner, weaving philosophical narratives into the visual representation.
The artwork was designed to be bold, vibrant, and rich in color and tones, conveying a sense of action, movement, and tension through dynamic lines and sculpted elements. The figurative elements portrayed the transformative process, showing the phoenix actively changing and transmuting its form.
The central subject of the artwork depicted the phoenix in the midst of change, with its body and feathers ablaze, symbolizing both burning and death. Yet, the artwork also showcased the bird’s head and fiery wings emerging from swirling ashes and smoke, representing rebirth and renewal.
To achieve the desired palette of colors and textures, the artist employed various techniques and materials. Layers of 24k gold and rose gold were applied in a painterly fashion, creating a range of tones that shifted depending on their thickness and combinations. A flush 24k gold inlay border framed the central subject, appearing to move towards the viewer, while meticulous sculpting and engraving gave the skeleton a three-dimensional appearance.
The background and foreground were carefully sculpted to create a sense of depth, and a deep, smoky-toned finish was applied to make it appear as though the artwork had been overtaken and subjected to the burning.
Drawing from the etymology of the word “phoenix,” which is related to the use of madder root in creating red dye, the artist sourced madder root powder and mixed it with a binder and ink to create a beautiful reddish hue. This subtle touch of red was hand-painted onto specific areas of the bird’s body, connecting the artwork to the historic origins of the Phoenix mythology.
The display case for Phoenix was made out of exquisite wood by Steve Parker, and it displays the pistol proudly, so the artwork can be admired from all angles. The top layer has been finished in the Japanese wood-burning style called Shou Sugi Ban. In this style, wood is burned until the surface is charred and then coated with natural oil. The result is a scorched finish with a magnificent charcoal black color that fits perfectly with the legend of the Phoenix. The grips have been engraved and finished to replicate the color and texture of Shou Sugi Ban in a manner more suited to repeated handling.
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