Thursday, April 17, 2008

Scott Belcastro's Blue Soul

This week, I was lucky enough to happen across Scott Belcastro's blog shortly after he had finished one of the most powerful and eerily magnificent pieces of art I have ever had the opportunity to purchase. I had bookmarked Scott's website months ago, thinking that he had an interesting style which might develop into something that appealed to me – and it did, much sooner than I expected.

The title of this painting is "As Blue as my Soul Will Go," and in it Scott has captured a dreamlike, otherworldy atmosphere. The black stag pausing to scent the frosty air beneath the blaze of the aurora borealis must be a dark forest god passing in the night. The majesty and awe of this frozen moment is like a silent symphony.

This painting marks a sudden and profound new direction for Scott, who has been concentrating on whimsical, childlike works with a twist of impending doom. While many of the stylistic elements of this piece are present in his earlier work, this shift in tone has gelled into something cathartic and epic with a strong undertone of animism. It may be the first time Scott has concentrated so completely on the natural world – albeit a rather strange, Lovecraftian vision of it – and perhaps that has brought out something previously unexplored in him.

I spoke to Scott about "As Blue as my Soul Will Go," and he said it was the end result of several months of creative frustration. To him, it felt like a breakthrough, and I imagine almost anyone would agree that it is a great step forward. Scott said that when he's painting, he usually feels like he's screaming, but with this painting, he wanted to convey silence. For him, this piece is about coming to accept that you are a part of the world, with all its madness, not above it or separate from it or superior to it. He made the stag share the same value as its surroundings to express that sense of integration into the whole, but outlined it in white to suggest hope.

Here are a few of Scott Belcastro's earlier pieces:

"Suicide Doors"

"You Tell that Mean Ocean, Todd"

"No Winners"

While on the surface, "As Blue as my Soul Will Go" might seem to be darker than Scott's earlier work, I would contend that it is so awestruck by beauty that it is inherently imbued with optimism. Much of his work previous to this piece seems to share the common theme of loss of control in the face of insurmountable threats. While there is an element of playfulness and natural beauty in all of them, their lonely, diminutive subjects are under threat from churning seas, falling ordnance, faceless juggernauts, monster armies and onrushing fire. In fact, fire seems to be a recurring obsession in his work. "I am not happy about the destruction the fire causes," wrote Scott, "but I am put at ease by the visual of it."

There's not much that's been written about Scott out there, but he did share a few words about his art in an interview recently:

"I kind of feel like it's a children’s book without a storyline. I try to keep my art in the area of daydreaming. I want people to be able to relate in some way. It's kind of like watching it snow – it's beautiful and you don’t have to figure anything out."

According to Scott and Beau from project:, we will be seeing more explorations of this new direction before long.

"We Deserve Better than This"

"The Forecast"

"1% for Peace"

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