Have you ever felt like you have stepped into a dream as you stare into the soul of a painting? I’m talking about those moments when the art in front of you pulls at something deep inside. The more you look, the more you are drawn in. You can’t pinpoint exactly what it is, but the art calls to you. For that single moment, it isn’t flesh and blood staring at an object; it is two kindred spirits connected. This is the effect that Cirius Scion’s paintings can instil into the viewer, and the reason that I wanted to interview her.
You may be familiar with Cirius Scion’s paintings. Sharing strong narratives, her series often involve stories about royalty and prestigious families. Upon her deeply textured oil paintings, 23k gold and Swarovski crystals further imbue her artwork with decadence. Layers upon layers of subtle details build incredibly thought-out pieces. The whole effect is mesmerising.
My life’s been another worldly experience with the usual life disappointments. So, rather than push away my problems, I like to assemble them like a puzzle.Cirius Scion
Prepare to delve into a fascinating interview with this innovative artist and enjoy a selection of her recent works!
Interview with Cirius Scion:
I have to say, your website is a piece of art in itself! Visiting it is like an extension of the experience that audiences must feel when seeing your art in person. As if walking around a gallery, I can take the time to read about each of your paintings, and then enjoy inspecting parts of them up close. Not many artists create this in-depth experience on their websites. Why did you choose this avenue to portray your work online?
Thank you! That was the whole purpose for this website; I spent a lot of time creating it so my visitors can have an enjoyable experience. Working on the details of my paintings was time consuming so I needed to showcase this online and I’m glad you were able to notice this without having to attend one of my shows.
I spent days photographing each angle of the paintings and made sure to capture every tiny detail. I’d like to think that my viewers are in my world rather than vice versa, and that the experience of visiting the site takes them on a mental journey.
Shakespeare has obviously been a huge influence for you. What is it about Shakespeare that caused you to focus on his works for an entire series of paintings?
He was and still is the most powerful well-known playwright of all time. Everyone knows of Shakespeare’s work, yet little about him. He’s such an intriguing mysterious figure. Was he hiding something? I had to find out. Research led me in discovering the hidden mysteries of Shakespeare and as strange as it may seem, it also helped me in discovering myself.
Shakespeare was a mastermind when it came to exploring human emotions. His playwrights engage in themes of intense emotions and political intrigue – all modern era sediments.
My fine art collection and film “Shakespeare’s Temple Out of the Shadows” showcases my visual interpretation of Shakespeare’s playwrights. Themes such as love, revenge, grief, and jealousy, all illumination of the human experience sparked inspiration from reading Shakespeare’s writings. His contribution to this world will forever live. And if you read between the lines, you might find something thought provoking, maybe even a secret.
Cirius Scion: Looking deeper
I see that you have re-worked some paintings, for instance: “The Torch Doth Not Burn Tonight” [below]. Though in some ways they are very similar, in others they are starkly different. What led you to revisit the painting and create a new version?
Romeo and Juliet is such an emotional story, but the mindset I had when painting the first Juliet was a dark one. The colours I chose were cold and monotoned; it was a reflection of how I felt at the time. As a result, Juliet was burdened by the cold colour palette. My dark state of mind lasted for months but eventually I was ready to put forth a new Juliet – a new beginning. As a result, the second version of “The Torch Doth Not Burn Tonight” was painted in a lighter colour palette, while still maintaining the sorrowful mood of her Juliet’s departing moment. This is not me subtly implying that I went through what Juliet had gone through or anything, but just the general state of mind I had at the time.
I have to ask… you reference “tattoo 5.3.317-318” in “The Torch Doth Not Burn Tonight”. What does this mean?
All the characters in my paintings have tattoos representing a scene, act and quote number of the represented playwright. “For never was a story of more woe than this of Juliet and her Romeo.” (5.3.317-318). In the last two lines of the play, Prince Escalus remarks on the lives of Juliet and Romeo. He’s saying that no other tale has been this sad. While Escalus is right, his words also allow for the enduring quality of Romeo and Juliet’s love.
Putting a visual interpretation into perspective helped me understand Shakespeare’s characters and immortalize them visually.
Process and hypnosis
Oh, I love that! Another thing caught my attention is how you utilize unusual materials and textures. The malleable essence of wax must be particularly pleasing to use…
I also use mastic resin and stand oil as mediums. And I prepare a specific formulation that currently works for me. After countless experiments of different formulas, I think I’ve found the right one that offers an ultra-luminous glow to the skin in my paintings. I’ve written a few articles on my Blog about this process and most of the knowledge I’ve attained throughout the years of experimentation and learning. But, I’m still learning and experimenting ‘til this day!
Something else that stood out is how some of your paintings are just… slightly surreal. Either via a marginally warped visual angle, doll-jointed hands or sections of the bodies morphing out of focus. It makes your paintings feel a little more chaotic, and yet somehow more alive than a hyper realistic painting. Can you share more about your style?
I’m so glad you were able to observe this! I’m a complicated person with complicated thoughts and I think it shows in my paintings.
I’d like my viewers to experience some sort of hypnosis when looking over my artworks – like an otherworldly experience, something that reality doesn’t offer. I enjoy blending reality with a distortion of dreamlike images to create an obscure world.
I call it a “dis-balance” of reality, or as most people call it, surreal.
Cirius Scion: Evolving art with technology
You are pushing the boundaries of the art experience even further by creating animated versions. I know that you have a background in animation and film; is this finally all coming together?
Yes, it’s been a very long process. I’ve spent years researching, teaching myself and experimenting with several forms of creative mediums. I wanted the viewers to experience the entire vision, so having integrated different mediums into this collection will make people feel on a more emotional level. Film and animation allow the intensity of the experience like no other medium, so this was something I needed to do.
I’ve always dreamed of transforming my two-dimensional paintings into life. The movements of the puppetry would give such breath and identity. And so, bringing the characters in my paintings alive was the main objective and provided an element of intrigue!
How did you get into painting and film making?
I was always a very introverted person, a thinker, overly involved in my inner world. It seemed that even as a child creating things were constantly on my mind – I guess a natural inclination to create. Whether it was making Greek sandals out of paper and yarn or beading jewellery I was always resourceful. Curiosity is what motivates me. I have a restless mind that seeks out experimental outlets for mental stimulation. Mentally, I can get bored fast and find it challenging to stick to the same ideas, so exploring is a great part of my creations.
I started experimenting with film in the past 5-6 years. Creating film is another outlet and it allows me to communicate without being in the spotlight on demand.
I really appreciate you taking the time to speak with me Cirius. Is there anything you would like to include for our readers?
I’d like to give a little back story of my upcoming “SHAKESPEARE’S TEMPLE” show. I don’t have a formal date picked out yet, but here is my story in short:
Exploring the old masters of oil painting was a steppingstone to “Shakespeare’s Temple- Out of the Shadows”.
It is a project that turned my life upside down. At first, my intentions were simple: to set out and paint a collection of 20 paintings. Yet it was so complicated in the sense that I needed to know more about my life’s journey while researching about Shakespeare. I had too many trigger points that questioned many more. Like, what does life have to offer and what do I have to offer to this life.
We all have life questions that need to be answered and I think visions have a place when answering these questions. Memories and visions go hand in hand. Also, we live in a world where technology moves faster than our imagination, it was a now or never mentality that got me through the years I spent in my studio in solitude.
This is a project where visions of art collide with technology. Where paintings speak for themselves, cinematography reveals its mysteries and where human transformation shows us the power of life. What started with a collection of paintings (inspired by Shakespeare’s playwrights) quickly turned into a fierce melodrama to produce something more – a missional show and tell.
A film like no other
I’d like to share with viewers ‘Shakespeare’s Temple- Out of the Shadows”. It is a film that reveals raw emotions and the soul-searching of a determined artist. This project is the result of a long-term commitment that involved every moment of my days. It was to extend valuable knowledge with the use of technology and data, using paintbrushes and technology to create something unique.
Other artists will be able to relate to this film, when the compulsion to make art is greater than anything else you can imagine. One man familiar with this compulsion was Shakespeare. He was a genius when it came to triggering emotions, his secret of doing this is what I needed to find out.
Shakespeare’s writings lured me into a dark world, it isolated me from reality (shuttered by the novel coronavirus pandemic things turned worse). But, it also helped me in discovering who I really was.
It would be fair to say it was an uphill struggle. I’ve had to assess my life’s purpose multiple times, but I’ve accepted that knowledge is far more important to me as it builds a strong foundation to reshaping your life. Rethinking my life’s purpose brought me to a breaking point – a journey to self-discovery. With the help of Shakespeare, the stars and Saturn (my defining dark force).
Ultimately, this project isn’t about me, it’s about other artists pushing the boundaries and manifesting their dreams. I hope this film will encourage other artists to self-explore and find their unique creative path.
Pieces from “SHAKESPEARE’S TEMPLE” exhibited at Cirius’ recent solo show at Copro Gallery in Los Angeles alongside Benz and Chang, Wes Bescoter, and Dan Seagrave. See the full line up here. Contact the gallery direct for purchase inquiries at [email protected].
Interested in attending “Shakespeare’s’ Temple- Out of the Shadows” or want to follow Cirius Scion’s creative journey? Follow her to keep up to date.