New collaborator Doug Baltz to create concept art of the survivors’ rebirth

The creation of Iredea has from the beginning embraced internet-powered collaboration among artists. The web offers endless sources of inspiration, tools that make collaborations easier and more productive. It let’s us beam sketches and drafts back and forth around the world instantly. And the web gives us access to massive communities of artists.

I discovered Doug Baltz‘s stunning work on Deviant Art, a community of 25 million artists. He paints portraits and human figures in a range of states, often looking like they’ve just been dumped, slapped, or reprimanded by their creator. Each piece is charged with emotion. The faces and forms feel strangely familiar; there’s a simplicity and honesty about them. They are rendered with rough expressive brush techniques, bold coloring, and intense chiaroscuro. Baltz’s work, though serious in subject matter, is playful in technique. There are careful distortions and exaggerations of body and facial expression. And there is all manner of experiments with dripping, scraping, smearing and blotting of paints.

After spending time with Baltz’s art (on his dA gallery), I felt that he could make a major contribution to a particular phase of Iredea’s development. We started a conversation and decided to go for it.

In the story of Iredea, set in the late 21st century, the world is destroyed by a crazed man who has control over the global systems of the ‘superstructure’. He is able to simultaneously harness the power of the ocean and detonate the world’s arsenal of nuclear weapons. The cataclysm sweeps a tidal wave of radioactive napalm water over all the lands. No one is spared. Weeks later Earth is a quiet wasteland of steaming sludge. From this silence comes the first movements of a survivor pulling herself up, finding the will to live from a place inside we cannot imagine. Then another survivor cries out, and in time another. As they orient themselves to this new reality, they form new identities to cover the ones that were erased.

That is the scene that we choose to imagine. So far it has been shown on stage in dance and light. But it must be continually reimagined. Doug Baltz will surely bring something unexpected to it. He will create a series of paintings depicting the last survivors who pull themselves out of the muck. Each survivor is a microcosm of life in a world hanging on by a thread of silk. Mankind’s continued existence depends on them. Who they were before, who they will become, and how they will get along, matters more than they can know.

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