Surreal Abstract Seashell Deconstruction – Black and White

Black and white seashell deconstruction. Surreal abstract art by Joseph Westrupp.

The title of this picture is Sturnidae Waxen Black.

I’m currently drawn to experimenting with the interplay between background and subject, and blurring the lines between them (literally, given the role of hard-edged geometrical elements and crops).

That’s introducing more complexity, though my work’s still fairly minimalistic on the whole, which is consciously so. There’s an appealing purity to simple shapes. I don’t imagine that will change, but can’t say for sure—I couldn’t have predicted where I am now a year ago.

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Surreal Abstract Seashell Deconstruction

Yellow, blue, and red seashell deconstruction. Surreal abstract art by Joseph Westrupp.

The title of this picture is Sturnidae Waxen. My titles are often from a Rorschach test-style reaction to a piece after its completion. Putting words to an impression in such a way normally gives a pleasingly arcane word or phrase to complement the picture.

For this image two things occurred to me: a wax letter seal, and a starling with wings outstretched. I don’t know why specifically a starling, but it’s still quite distinct in my mind.

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Deconstructed Surreal Abstract Seashell Collage – Black and White

Deconstructed seashell and lines, in black and white. Surreal abstract art by Joseph Westrupp.

The title of this picture is Antiperihelia Smoke, smoke here used as a metaphor standing in for black and white.

This was another black and white conversion in which achieving the contrast of the color version was difficult. Simply turning down the color didn’t work. In these cases, there’s a whole new set of creative choices to make, and the mood will differ from the colored one.

And further, for some reason most of my black and white work tends to look better on a light background, even if the color iteration is opposite.

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Deconstructed Surreal Abstract Seashell Collage

Deconstructed seashell and lines, in blue and orange. Surreal abstract art by Joseph Westrupp.

The title of this picture is Antiperihelia. Perihelia are orbital points closest to the sun. I coined antiperihelia to give a flavor of darkness to the image. Arguably unnecessarily—perihelia already has aphelia as its antonym—but I like the sound of antiperihelia anyway. Also, it doesn’t necessarily imply the same meaning as aphelia.

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Surreal Abstract Seashell Collage Split in Three – Black and White

Fractured seashell collage on multi-tone background. Surreal abstract art in black and white by Joseph Westrupp.

The title of this picture is Qua Obscurant.

This piece continues the exploration of background division and general asymmetry. It makes for compelling experimentation, and I think adds a nice dimension to what I’ve been doing.

I really like the juxtaposition of more traditional photography, in this case a seashell, with the hard crops and divisions. Kind of a fractured collage effect.

The color version of this image—in green, blue, red, and yellow—is called Qua.

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Surreal Abstract Seashell Collage Split in Three

Fractured blue seashell collage on green, red, and yellow background. Surreal abstract art by Joseph Westrupp.

The title of this picture is Qua. Qua, meaning “as” or “in the capacity of”, is a play on the idea of art being representational and imbued with meaning, and also the fact that interpretation is part of all art.

The latter point is never truer than with abstract work not intended to reflect anything in particular. Subjective interpretation is all but forced, especially given how readily pareidolia comes to us.

I’ve had some surprising and unexpected things seen in my work, including monsters, pole-dancers, and star signs. Totally unintentional on my part, but that’s part of the fun. (Though it makes me careful to avoid obvious resemblances to completely undesired things.)

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Three Part Surreal Abstract Seashell Collage – Black and White

Three part seashell collage on multi-tone background. Surreal abstract art in black and white by Joseph Westrupp.

The title of this picture is Emergence Enshrouded. ‘Enshrouded’ because of the black in the middle instead of the original’s white, ie, as if something is being hidden there.

Any artwork is a step in the journey of an artist, but this step is bigger than usual. Given the simplicity and minimalism I’m drawn to, symmetry and a central focus have come naturally. But this image marks a growing interest in asymmetry in my work.

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Three Part Surreal Abstract Seashell Collage

Three part yellow seashell collage on blue and red background. Surreal abstract art by Joseph Westrupp.

The title of this picture is Emergence.

I recently wrote of my color choices becoming more primary and bright, but I’m feeling the pendulum returning. It was fun to see how far I could push saturation within the bounds of garish (at least that was the intent), but I think the stage might be over.

The colors here aren’t totally muted, but as I was editing this I was opting for lower settings, and introducing more earthiness. At first I tried continuing in the same brighter, more primary color vein, but at each creative crossroad I preferred the comparatively muted option.

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Surreal Abstract Seashell Collage in Three Parts – Black and White

Black seashell collage split in three. Surreal abstract art in black and white by Joseph Westrupp.

The title of this picture is Taxon Sable. Sable has multiple meanings, but “black” is the one I’m invoking here. Actually, it’s a word I’d never heard before—my hunt for black and white descriptors is proving an interesting learning opportunity.

Probably unsurprisingly, my first step for making a black and white is just to try desaturating the color version. However, in this case that resulted in little differentiation between the elements. It wasn’t horrible, but erred on the side of murky.

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Surreal Abstract Seashell Collage in Three Parts

Yellow, orange, and red seashell collage split in three on blue, purple, and green background. Surreal abstract art by Joseph Westrupp.

The title of this picture is Taxon. It’s loosely applied, but relates to the image insofar as division is one of its main features.

The central figure is based on a seashell photo I’ve been using a lot lately. Not intentionally as such, but what often happens is multiple ideas stem from the original use. And insofar as each brings something new, they’re worth pursuing and developing.

There’s one other version of this composition: a black and white called Taxon Sable.

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