MANDEM
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  • Portrait of Medusa

    Here, Maize is working on the underdrawing for "Portrait of Medusa," the first in a series of paintings about the infamous Gorgon from Greek Mythology.

  • Portrait of Medusa

    Here, Maize is working on the underdrawing for "Portrait of Medusa," the first in a series of paintings about the infamous Gorgon from Greek Mythology.

  • Painting "Medusa, In Her Sunday Best"

    This transdigital painting transitioned between digital and physical forms a total of five times to get to the stage you see here, where Maize is working in oil paint on canvas.

  • Painting "Medusa, In Her Sunday Best"

    This transdigital painting transitioned between digital and physical forms a total of five times to get to the stage you see here, where Maize is working in oil paint on canvas.

  • Works In Progress, March 2013

    This is a peek inside one of our studio spaces in March, 2013, where a number of painting, photography, and sculpture projects were in progress.

  • Works In Progress, March 2013

    This is a peek inside one of our studio spaces in March, 2013, where a number of painting, photography, and sculpture projects were in progress.

  • "Iron Oxide, Pthalo" - Stage One

    Stage One: Grayscale underpainting using white gouache paint.

  • "Iron Oxide, Pthalo" - Stage Two

    Stage Two: Oil paint glazes to bring in the warm colors.

  • "Iron Oxide, Pthalo" - Stage Three

    Stage Three: Bring the whites back in with more white gouache paint.

  • "Iron Oxide, Pthalo" - Stage Four

    Whew, that was exhausting! Here we demonstrate stage four, which is where we all collapse from exhaustion once we've finished a painting. (This is a photo from the setup of our January, 2014 show at LeMoyne Gallery.)

  • "Cthulhu Lies" In Progress

    The version of "Cthulhu Lies" that was published prior to 2014 was actually a digital study (think "demo version") for the transdigital/oil painting that would eventually exist. Here, you can see the original version (background) with the much larger oil painting in progress (foreground).

  • "Her Brother's Keeper: Rupture"

    This mixed media sculpture is made from carved wood, resin, oil paint, thread, hair, sculpted clay, and other materials. In this photo, we are pouring resin into the carved labyrinth.

  • "Her Brother's Keeper: Rupture"

    This mixed media sculpture is made from carved wood, resin, oil paint, thread, hair, sculpted clay, and other materials. This is a detail shot of the clay fetus, before it was encapsulated into a clear resin womb.

  • "Her Brother's Keeper: Domestication"

    This mixed media sculpture/collage is made from encaustic wax, oil paint, antique medical journal pages, and sewing materials (thread, needles, scissors, embroidery hoops, etc.). Here, we are using a heat gun to melt the encaustic wax.

  • "Gift: Exegesis"

    The Gift series is comprised of paintings and artist books. This photo shows the first chapter of the Gift books, in progress. Much of the inking had been done on the pages at this stage, but we hadn't yet added encaustic or the collage elements.

Inside the Studio

In this top gallery, we have a selection of recent photos (2013 to present) showing our studios, working methods, and works in-progress.

Also on this page, we've shared some detailed information about our working methods and techniques.

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COMING SOON: Defining Transdigital

This is an adaptation of presentations we made at the TalTech Technology Conference the and DigiTech Expo. In this slideshow, we discuss how our work is made using a combination of digital and traditional painting methods, and why we use the term transdigital to describe this process. We give some modern art context to explain why transdigital art is significant.

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  • Mische Painting

    This is partway through a mische-technique painting, "Tree at the End of the World." For this piece a digital mockup was made first, and then the outlines were transferred onto clay board using charcoal. From there, the piece was finished with india ink, oils, and gold leaf. When this picture was taken, all the base layers and gold leaf had been put down, and Maize was just starting on the undercoat of color. (The painting has been attached to piece of cardboard with 3M strips for easy transport!)

  • Underpainting for "Helen on Knowles St."

    Maize adds gold paint to the underpainting for the transdigital piece "Helen on Knowles St." This piece started with a digital black and white image printed on tracing paper, which was layered in with acrylics on board for an interesting textured effect. Gold paint (with real gold) was applied to this board, and then the whole thing was re-uploaded to the computer, where the characters were added into the scanned background and the rendering completed digitally.

  • Painting "Marooned"

    Here Maize works on the transdigital version of "Marooned," which is a combination of digital printing, acrylics, and oils (all properly layered for archival permanence). You can see the tape in place to help protect the mostly-completed figure from an invasion by sea or sky.

  • Painting with Fire

    Here we prepare to set fire to a layer in a mixed media piece -- this layer is printed on archival paper, then set on fire and then layered under acrylics and other paints. The piece pictured here is still unfinished (an observant viewer might notice that this is physical reworking of the digital image that became the Ethernaut cover).

  • Archiving: We're Doing It Wrong

    This is a snapshot of our "Notes from a Time Traveller's Journal" series as they are being prepped for a gallery show. Each image is printed on aged paper, hand colored, and then distressed and set on fire. After the print has been thoroughly damaged, we carefully mount it on archival-quality board and frame it in an 8"x8" shadowbox.

  • Inking on "Mustang"

    Maize adds color and detail with an artist pen while working on the transdigital version of "Mustang" (which is a combination of digital printing, artist pen, and acrylics). The original Mustang was done entirely digitally in 2005, but it was rehauled from the ground up for its physical incarnation in 2012.

  • Moco as a MANDEM character

    Moco posing as "The Hag" (or "The Uncanny Woman") in a MANDEM-designed costume with original props. This photo is from the on-location set of our silent film Doll. This character has also appeared in some of our paintings.

  • MANDEM's Apprentice

    Here our daughter, Kitsu, helps spread clear acrylic gloss medium on the nearly-finished canvas (building up more texture and a more even sheen) before her mom does the final coats in color.

  • MANDEM's Apprentice (part 2)

    This is from Kitsu's early "performance art" stage, where she would first paint her canvas and then eat all the remaining paints (don't worry, they were perfectly safe!). More recently, she has traded in her edible paints for artist-grade acrylics.

  • MANDEM's Apprentice (part 3)

    This photo is from the setup for our solo show at Oglesby Gallery in 2012.

  • Buffalo Evening News

    This collage piece (shown here in progress) was created for the Collage exhibit at the Musée d'art deJoliette (Summer, 2012). It integrated wood, fabricated flowers, carefully melted toy army men, and clippings from a vintage newspaper discussing atomic warfare. The full title of this piece is "Buffalo Evening News - August 7, 1945."

  • Painting "Daphne"

    Here, Maize is adding white highlights to an in-progress painting of Apollo's beloved Daphne, the nymph who was transformed into the laurel tree. This piece, inspired by Ovid's Metamorphoses, is a mixed media work incorporating transdigital elements, acrylic and oil paints, and gold leaf.

  • "Daphne" Details

    This is a detailed look at some of the paint textures on "Daphne," while still in progress.

  • Working with Impasto

    This is a detailed look at one of the early stages of working on "Prometheus," which, like "Daphne," is inspired by Ovid's Metamorphoses. We enjoyed experimenting with impasto methods on this mixed media painting.

  • Pathology

    These hand-crafted "pills," made of resin, bones, teeth, and hair, were created as a prop for "Pathology," an interactive art performance that premiered at The Fountain Art Fair in Miami, FL (during Art Basel, 2012).

  • Painting "Just Skin"

    Here, Maize works on an oil painting (the working title had been "The Hollow Girl," but it is now known as "Just Skin") on clay board.

Older Studio Photos

In this gallery, we have a selection of older photos (2012 and earlier) from inside our studio, showing works-in-progress and other behind-the-scenes insanity. Impasto, blow torches, and mische-technique, oh my!

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Digital Mischtechnik: Painting the Turning Night Cover Art

When author Nico Murray approached us about doing the cover art for her novel Turning Night, we decided to try a new transdigital approach: replicating the layered effect of mischtechnik physical-media painting in a purely digital image. Digital paintings often lack the translucency and organic variations in hue that are found in traditional paintings -- we were pleased with the results of our "digitalmische" experiment. In this 10 page PDF, we walk you through the creation of the Turning Night cover art, side-by-side with the steps in traditional painting mischtechnik.

 

MANDEM is a symbiotic pair of transdigital -punk artists, Maize Arendsee and Moco Steinman, working in both digital art and traditional art mediums such as oil painting, mische technique, mixed media, and acrylics. Our themes include: mythpunk and mythology; steampunk and alternative history; cyberpunk and human-animal-machine hybrids; gothic, horror, and dark fantasy; monsters and chimeras; and queer feminist art. Important visual influences include German Expressionism; influential sci-fi fantasy artists such as Brom and Giger, and traditional painters such as Maxfield Parrish, John Atkins Grimshaw, and the surrealist and visionary movements. Other influences include James Barrie (Peter Pan), Lewis Carroll, Lovecraft and other Gothic Victorian writers; Bertolt Brecht and epic theater (also theater of cruelty and theater of the absurd); Robert Graves, Mircea Eliade, and the great mythographers of the Gilded Age; Jungian philosophy; the ancient Greek and Roman poets — especially Euripides and Ovid; and epic modern myth-makers such as Tolkein, Clive Barker, Guillermo del Toro, George Romero, and Neil Gaiman. Our work has appeared in gallery shows and we have designed album or book art for the Cruxshadows ("Dreamcypher" and "Ethernaut"), Michael Schulman ("Home"), Abney Park ("Airship Pirates" RPG), and we designed the promotional art for the Dragon*Con 2012 Horror/Dark Fantasy Track.

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