Surreal Abstract Frog Skull With Lines

Frog skull with angular geometric lines. Surreal abstract art in vivid green by Joseph Westrupp.

The title of this picture is Aphelion. Aphelion means the point in an orbit furthest from the sun. As usual, I like the word, and it suits the image and evokes the right feeling.

Mind you, I always come up with titles after an image is done, and there’s never any premeditated direction. I try to match a concept to its mood, or use a concept to shape the mood I’d like the work to evoke. But I choose names with care; it’s a mistake to underestimate how much they can add to art.

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Surreal Abstract Elephant Bones With Lines

Apricot elephant bone collage divided by vertical white lines, on dark blue background. Surreal abstract art by Joseph Westrupp.

The title of this picture is Memorism. That’s not actually a word, but I meant it to refer to what a memorist does (ie, have a very accurate and detailed memory). The abstract figure being a visual metaphor for the brain processes of memory.

That’s intended more as poetic flourish than anything too deep and profound. My goal with titles is just to flavor the impression of my imagery, so while I might think of a specific narrative, it’s more of a wink than a somber furrowed brow.

My titles are basically conjured via Rorschach test after a piece is finished—I never build an image around a preconceived idea or theme (at least thus far).

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Surreal Abstract Frog Skull With Lines – Black and White

Frog skull with angular geometric lines. Surreal abstract art in black and white by Joseph Westrupp.

The title of this picture is Aphelion Black.

This is the black and white version of Aphelion. (The black in the title being indicative of that, as per my habit of appending the word black or gray onto original titles for black and white variations.)

This composition stemmed from an idea that existed in rough draft form for at least a year. Though it evolved so radically that the rough draft really continues to exist separately, maybe still to be developed. Or deleted.

That’s the tough question—I’ve made use of quite a few old ideas that were initially rejected. Occasionally time gifts perspective and new ideas, enabling failures to finally bloom. Which necessitate care in deciding whether to delete an idea or not. With unlimited storage space I might keep them all, but my files are rarely less than half a gigabyte.

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Surreal Abstract Crab Shell Collage – Orange and Blue

Orange crab shell collage with black geometric shape, on blue background. Surreal abstract art by Joseph Westrupp.

The title of this picture is Comma. When I was thinking of a title, it occurred to me the black shape in the middle looks like a stylized digital comma, so that’s what I decided to call it. Plus, it had never occurred to me before, but comma is quite a nice word. I like it as a title.

The composition here was an idea I initially rejected on the way to Anfractuosity. I kept the draft, and when I saw it again I really liked it. Seemed like a no-brainer to develop it into something. Funny how time lends perspective, though. It can really affect how I see my work.

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Surreal Abstract Crab Shell and Curves – Black and White

Crab shell collage with black curves. Surreal abstract art in black and white by Joseph Westrupp.

The title of this picture is Vagility in Gray.

This is another composition, along with Comma, that was initially rejected when brainstorming for Anfractuosity. Though unlike Comma, it still needed a lot of development, but the passage of time lent it an air of potential instead of a ticket to the trash.

The perspective a bit of time gives is a critical part of my process; I never know if I’m happy with a piece until at least a day after creating it. During editing I look at it for so long I become almost completely numb to it aesthetically. But the next morning perspective returns, and I can normally tell instantly if it’s working, or what still needs to be done.

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Surreal Abstract Crab Shell and Curves

Yellow crab shell collage with black curves, on light purple background. Surreal abstract art by Joseph Westrupp.

The title of this picture is Vagility, a word meaning the ability of an organism to move around. Using it as a title is homage to my own capability in that respect, which I’m often thankful for. No, more than that, it’s one of the best aspects of existence—I don’t take it for granted.

This is one of two variations—there’s a black and white version called Vagility in Gray.

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Surreal Abstract Elephant Bone With Red Rectangles

Elephant bone with red rectangles against a green background. Surreal abstract art by Joseph Westrupp.

The title of this picture is Sentinelia in Absinthe, with absinthe being a reference to the background color (that’s what comes to mind for me when I look at it. Well the drink itself, but also a burning throat, and hazy memories).

Arguably there’s no right or wrong composition in art, especially for abstract. But I have a strong sense of what I like—when my vision isn’t quite fulfilled, it really grates. Initially for this image all the elements you see were in place, but something was awry, and I couldn’t work out what.

I spent a ridiculous amount of time juggling the composition, then made a ridiculously minor change (I moved the top rectangle up the bone a bit), and it just clicked.

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Surreal Abstract Elephant Bone With Rectangles – Black and White

Elephant bone with black rectangles. Surreal abstract art in black and white by Joseph Westrupp.

The title of this picture is Sentinelia in Black, with black being a reference to the black-and-whiteness of the image. Sentinelia is a hybrid of two terms: Saturnalia and sentinel. Saturnalia for mere prosody, but sentinel because the bone with the rectangles struck me as kind of guard-like.

This is the third major compositional overhaul of this image. In one of the variations, Sentinelia in Absinthe, I mentioned the difficulties of getting this composition to work, but that was just the icing on what was quite a difficult cake overall (to make the metaphor weird).

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Surreal Abstract Elephant Bone With Rectangles

Elephant bone with black rectangles against a blue background. Surreal abstract art by Joseph Westrupp.

The title of this picture is Sentinelia.

The base photo is the same as used in the Disconnect the Dots series. It’s had a bit of pruning (so to speak) for this one, though.

It’s the first of what I think will be at least two variations. At minimum a black and white one, but possibly another color scheme too.

Well how ’bout this, in the mere space of the end of one paragraph and the start of another, one month has passed as I pick this up. My presaging was right (not much credit due there though, it was more plan than prognostication).

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Blue Surreal Abstract Crab Leg Collage

Crab leg collage in blue with black triangle and white lines. Surreal abstract art by Joseph Westrupp.

The title of this picture is Gloaming Ampersand. Gloaming means twilight or dusk (which I just learned aren’t synonymous. Apparently dusk is the darkest part of twilight).

There are two other versions of this image. Ampersand is a green and red take that’s also much lighter (daytime, if you will), while Midnight Ampersand is black and white and the darkest of the three.

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