As a society, we are familiar with paintings that are meant to depict the holy: scenes that show men and women who are transcending what is sacred down on earth, bodies moving through time and space into something or somewhere that we cannot touch with our human flesh. The work of Italy-based artist Frank P-54 takes the aura of these paintings and mimics them with hyperrealistic strokes. He depicts modern people who seem to be waiting at the edge of our reality for something utterly scriptural to happen.
Shrouded in colors found only in nature—fleshy pinks and browns, deep blue-grays of apocalyptic storms, and the mustardy yellows of the sun rising behind clouds—Frank’s work is, at times, completely recognizable. However, the characters in his work appear to exist in the mythical space between end times and some sort of unnamed earthly rebirth. The images feel biblical and clad with faded tattoos.
The characters in Frank’s paintings are often depicted as being not on the ground but in the stormy skies themselves, not necessarily flying but definitely in flight. What are they doing here? Are they escaping? Transcending? Oftentimes, it appears that the light in the images are escaping from within the subjects. In some ways, Frank P-54’s work depicts the idea that once one has drained the horrors from within and have truly opened up, they will reach ultimate peace. His style of realism allows those who view his work to feel like they are seeing the moment before arriving in Valhalla.
Present within his work there is an unraveling of self, a release of energies and a destruction of them, as well.
The repetition of symbols in P-54’s work is a measure in cohesive world-building. Whatever the rules in Frank’s universe are, they do not change. Subjects have halos in images where they have been broken or burned. Antlers appear again and again as a type of spiritual authority. Doors hang out in the background suspended completely in space. It is these doors that draw us in and hold the answer to the question that Frank’s work evokes. What are these people move towards? These animals? What is happening to them? Are they exiting this world or entering another?
If you have an appreciation for work that feels deeply holy, for sacred feelings about blue tattoos and the fire from within, then please click here, Dear Darklings, to enter a world above your own.
Featured image by Frank P-54.