I first encountered the work of AJ Fosik when I bought a bunch of Mastodon merchandise when they released their 5th Studio album “The Hunter”. At first I was amazed at the effort they had put into getting someone to design such abstract and startling imagery for their new album, however it was not until later that I realised the work was actually that of artist AJ Fosik and was used under license for their album art.

Maybe it was this initial encounter with Fosik’s work through my then passion for progressive metal, or maybe it was simply the obvious references to mythological and religious iconography such as the demonic entity baphomet through the stylisation of AJ Fosik’s sculptures, that a certain mischievous other-worldly representation of form was understood by me at the time. After doing my research and finding out more about what drove Fosik to create these creatures I realised I wasn’t far off his intention. That being to develop abstractions from animalistic forms and dogmatic references to challenge the viewer’s identity of culture, religion and base assumptions.

 “Drawing inspiration from my background in creating street art and sign-age, I like to create animal abstractions, or “existential fetishes”. These totemic apparitions of ursine beasts skirt influences of American folk and psychedelic art. In turn, my viewers are confronted with cryptic symbols from both traditional and contemporary sources”

Andrew J Fosik currently resides in Portland, Oregon USA, where he meticulously sculpts his beautifully abstract artworks from 100’s of pieces of wood. The wood is cut, carved and shaped, then carefully painted before being assembled into place to form the overall sculpture which due to the precision of craftsmanship takes on a uniformity all of its own, to become one complete work of art and by the final product you don’t even realise it’s wood, or even separate pieces you are looking at, but rather some other-worldly abstraction of animalistic forms, here to challenge your perceptions.

In an Empty Kingdom interview from December 2013, Fosik discusses the use of metaphor, and in particular the use of predatory metaphors to invoke a sense of self, battling the confines and pressures of a physical and evolutionary world, which is in contrast to the “symbolic” or conscious self which transcends mortality and the limitation we perceive through our human experience.

“The open maw of a predator is a great metaphor for the nature of existence and the inevitable end we all face.  I often use the predator imagery as a metaphor for the physical self- the predator being the very embodiment of evolutionary pressures and the natural world-  in contrast to the symbolic self – represented by the belief systems and the various immortality schemata that I utilize in my work.”

To see more amazing from from AJ Fosik, visit his facebook here.

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