"The Discussion" - Wasp of the Flesh

Hi All!

Welcome to the second blog post in "The Discussion" series where I outline the genesis, themes and processes behind my artwork. Let's jump right in, shall we?


This is the latest piece to appear on the Red Fracture website but it's not the most recent piece to be initiated. I started this painting back in April 2019 when I was still pushing hard to get a new tee design out every month on the Red Fracture platform. Of course, that got derailed when things at my day job got very, VERY busy. Since April Wasp of the Flesh has been sitting and collecting dust for the better part of a year...until now!

Wasp of the Flesh the acrylic painting is actually a colour rework of an original pen and ink drawing that I completed several years ago. That piece is currently residing in the private collection of Tania Hanscom, another Cambridge area artist. While her work is dissimilar to mine, she and her husband have been huge supporters of my work (Thank You both!) Check out her Facebook page to see her landscape and portrait work :)

Red Fracture - Original art - Wasp of the Flesh - Markers, gouache and ballpoint pen on paper - held in a private collection

 The Original Wasp of the Flesh; Markers, Gouache and Ballpoint Pen on Paper

I really liked this image the first time around and, when hunting for images to introduce as t-shirt designs this one struck me as a no-brainer for a full colour rework.

I can't tell you exactly how the core concept for the piece started but one thing led to another, juxtapositions and associations were made; that triangle in the middle looked like a wasp head; some kind of glowing opening was needed between the hands, the area was just too bland; the large areas at the top also needed embellishments and wasp head led to wasp nests led to wasps. Sometimes, that's how my mind works.

Somewhere in the whole mishegoss things turned vaginal. Shapes came together and one thing led to another; est Voila! Vagina! As I've said to people before, "Art goes where art has to go and sometimes, penises and vaginas happen." They're body parts like hands and heads; don't be so surprised to find them in art just as readily. Any who...

When it came time to revisit the piece and make it into a t-shirt design I had some major revisions to make. Firstly, and most glaringly, the original didn't have a defined outside edge; the edges of the paper defined it. In order for me to follow in the footsteps of my previous tee designs I needed to expand the image and join everything together so it had a closed edge.

With this in mind, the redesign grew to three times it's original size and became quite a bit more complex than the original. But you know me, I like the challenge and the details. Bring 'em on!

After coming up with a finished design I decided on a colour scheme and of course, being called Wasp of the Flesh, I had to go with a realistic skin tone, at least one reflective of this pasty skinned creator ;) I'm my own best model so don't expect my skin tones to deviate much from fish-belly white / caucasian boy. In the end this is how the piece turned out.

Red Fracture - original art - Wasp of the flesh - 12" x 16" acrylic painting - Depicted a surreal wasp with vaginal aspects.

Pretty nice, eh?!

The design was pretty much finished before I started painting back in April of 2019 but some details came together or were changed as the painting reached completion. For instance the heart shaped flaps with the honey-comb / waffle pattern on them looked weird initially because they were extensions of the ripple pattern in the flesh and seemed too flat and formless. To spice them up, I redefined the bottom edge, laid in a drop shadow underneath them and made them seem like they were flapping up away from the main character, revealing the wasps upon them. Much better!

I really like the way that hearts came out as a common theme in the top of the piece and the balloons at the top were an after thought but a nice touch i think. And what I really like about the piece is the bright yellow POP of the wasps head right in the center of all that flesh. Stunning! I can't take my eyes off it when I view it up close and the whole design leads the eye back to it again and again.

Red Fracture - Close up of Wasp of the Flesh - Depicted, the face of a bright yellow wasp

Pow! Wasp head! Love it :)

Overall, the revamp of Wasp of the Flesh is a huge success and I can't wait to start seeing people walking around with this design on their tees! It's bold, that is true but not SO bold as to be prohibitive as casual wear. Your Grandmother may have issues with it but her eyesight's not what it used to be anyway, is it?

I've got two samples of the Wasp of the Flesh t-shirt coming my way and I'm really looking forward to throwing one on and walking around with the design in plain sight. I'm really curious to see people's reactions to the design and whether or not the suggestiveness of the image will garner any attention or not. We will see!

For now, that is all.


If you'd like to learn more about Wasp of the Flesh check out:

The original painting here.

The t-shirts here.

The prints here.

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