POTD: Mobius Crow

POTD: Mobius CrowMobius Crow
Bozeman, Montana
2016

This image started with a simple idea and morphed into something more complex that I did not anticipate. The original idea was simply that it would be interesting to create a Mobius strip with crows flying along its single continuous surface. I spent a lot of time trying to create such a strip solely on the computer. After a couple of days of messing around, including learning some new software, I had some success at a computer illustration but what ended up working better was to create two 3”x36” actual prints of a composite image of crows flying, taping them together back to back and then twisting one end and taping it to the other end to create a physical model of a Mobius strip. Then I photographed that 3d model and spent half a day cleaning up the image on the computer. (It’s an interesting characteristic of this particular geometric form that while it only has one surface, it took two prints to create one with crows flying along the entire surface.)

Once I had the Mobius strip photograph cleaned up I started thinking and working on an appropriate background for it in the final image. This where things got interesting from the standpoint of trying to self-analyze the creative process in my mind. Other than an extremely vague notion that the image ought to involve clouds in some way, I had no preconceived idea of what the background context should look like. I just started trying different images in my library of thousands of images and what you see here was the final result. How I ended up there, I really cannot explain. Nor can I explain what exactly it is meant to convey.

By some sort of serendipitous coincidence, I happened to be discussing song lyrics with a friend at the same time I was working on this image. The point of discussion was if song lyrics ought to make sense in some logical way. More specifically, does it devalue the work if it’s “meaning” defies explanation even by the author. My take on that is that to a large degree as long as you experience a meaningful reaction to them it doesn’t matter if lyrics escape understanding in the sense that say a new article or scientific paper should. In fact it doesn’t matter if your idea of what it means differs from the authors. If you insist on something more concrete, you may not appreciate the song. The same can be said about poetry I think, and by extension visual art.

Nonetheless, I suppose it is instructive to post-analyze this image to see if it “means anything.” After thinking about it a bit, I believe the image tells at least one reasonably cohesive story. But guaranteed I did not have that story in my conscious mind when I was creating it; as I said I just did what seemed right in some nebulous way. I could tell you what that story is, but I think I’ll leave you to come to your own conclusions.

7 thoughts on “POTD: Mobius Crow”

  1. Before reading your text I assumed that you created the strip completely on the computer, but from my own experience with computer graphics I appreciate the effort you put out to create the image. Trying to follow the creative process (or other self contained process like memory or value) is tough since these are not completely available to our daily conscience awareness. I was back in Kansas last week where I had a recollection that took a week to unravel. The total memory (at least what I believe was the total memory without too many suppressed/disconnected elements) of an event was recalled, revealed and interpreted because of stimuli I was presently conscience of. Your reference to song lyrics also connects with my recent experience hearing lyrics from a rap version of Angel of the Morning which evokes nothing compared to the earlier versions I’ve heard. Same lyrics, completely different effect, which might have been the lyricists intent. (Misogynistic to my listening.)

  2. Nice art! I like the textures, the light, the way the mobius crows float in the air, and the imagination (and work) it took to do this. Very creative!

    1. Thanks Carol. They say viewers don’t typically want to hear about how hard it was to produce a photograph or other work of art, they are only impressed if the work reaches them on some personal level. I think that makes sense and I don’t go out of my way to tell folks how much time I spend on something. But, as in this case, I sometimes mention it simply because it relates to the creative process that folks are in fact sometimes interested in.
      Of course the other reason for explaining how much work a piece took is if you’re trying to justify a high price for it. But that’s another situation all together. And I don’t typically do that either because I’ve found that customers assess the value of art based on it’s affect on them. That’s as it should be.

  3. Kathy Eyster

    This is an amazing creation, Larry! I especially appreciate your description of your process, even if it felt “vague” to you while it was happening. This image reminds me very much of the illustrations (her word) that Julieanne Kost makes (jkost.com). I aspire to create pictures using similar techniques. Well done!

    1. Thanks Kathy, and you’re right about the similarity to Ms. Kost’s illustrations. The one she currently has on her home page even has a silhouette tree on it. I’m vaguely familiar with her work but any similarity is completely coincidental, or buried so deep in my subconscious as to see that way.

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