In the Cave of the Ancestors

I received the troglodyte from Spira Mirabilis a few weeks ago and, unlike usual, got to work on it as soon as possible. I had an idea for what to do with him as soon as I spotted him back in early June and had to wait until he arrived to bring the conception to life.

I wanted to evoke real Paleolithic art with my use of pigments (predominantly black, white, and red ochre) while at the same time having some fun with the bioluminescent mushrooms and funny expression.

I found the OSL particularly difficult, because I was trying to balance realism with my compositional focal points (face & hands). Perhaps I should have cast more light on the torso, but I chose to highlight the face as much as I felt I could get away with.

I wanted the cave wall to be almost as much of a character as the bust. My idea was that the stenciled hands represented civilization and the continuity of the tribe, while the glowing mushrooms hinted at a budding spirituality in the Neanderthals, an appreciation of realms of experience beyond the strictly material.

I made these thematic elements quite bright, as I want you to see the individual in a kind of constellation with these powerful forces.

I tried to use saturation and the physical projection and of the head to pull attention toward old Trog, as the storytelling torchbearer (literally) of his clan’s culture.

The mushrooms are in fact phosphorescent and glow in the dark.

They’re so bright that they give off visible light even in low light settings. I made them using Lit pigment from Culture Hustle.

I had a lot of fun to go along with persistent challenges on this project. This was a difficult project with lots of revisions necessary to get it where I was happy. There were also plenty of rewarding moments. The setting, in particular, was a blast to create.

I hope you like Trog. Let me know in the comments!

6 thoughts on “In the Cave of the Ancestors”

  1. As I said on Instagram, this is one of my favorite pieces you’ve done. Its got several things you’ve become great at. OSL and including mushrooms for starters! The subject matter is excellent as well. I wouldn’t mind seeing some more prehistoric subjects for busts!

    Liked by 1 person

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