Rebirth of Gaea is a personal project I worked on from 2006-2012 and revisited in 2021.
It is a massive (30K x 10K) digital matte painting — a tapestry of smaller vignettes that interweave some of my thoughts on life with ancient conceptions of reality as expressed in Greek Mythology.
It is the project I’m most proud of.
To breathe life into this empowering Earth goddess, I used Adobe After Effects, which has allowed me to revisit Rebirth of Gaea with fresh eyes time and again to tweak some areas and completely rework others.
For example, CHAOS in the top left was completed in October 2021. In Greek mythology, CHAOS represents the formless void that exist before gods and men. The image represents the shared connection between human and the divine via a cosmic mind. The connection point is at the embryo seated at the back of the brain(s).
The person in the image is my mom. I was sort of struck by how the larger, divine version of herself looks so different from the other, human version. For the inverted divine version, I turned her freckles into constellations of stars. A reminder of how the beauty within is timeless.
This video describes some of the ideas contained within Rebirth of Gaea. One of the nice things about this being a personal project is that there are no parameters. Having a deadline or delivery date is one of the limitations that I dismissed about a week or two into this (currently) 15-year endeavor. The visuals in the video above are ever-evolving...
The amazing music is "Death is the Road to Awe (featuring Kronos quartet)" by Clint Mansell. I was listening to this album a lot at the time and it really resonated with me. So that the music would remain untouched, I choreographed the camera and edited the narration. Its timing and emotion clearly influence the visual story arch. You can listen to that album here or check out his website here.
REBIRTH of GAEA is composed of many interwoven vignettes.
FLOWING MEDITATION depicts the earth goddess Gaea reclining as a river, falling into a meditative state.
Her thoughts are made manifest in nature, with the countryside shifting from herds in the background to small family groups to a parent and her child walking to the pivotal point where the parent must let go — represented here by a tree.
On their own and without having yet learned intolerance of those different, these young children playfully intermingle. The closest animals, having walked furthest from the tree, develop an amplified sense of intuition.
They are not eating the grass in front of them, but rather, bowing to GAEA in reverence.
"Deconstructing Flowing Meditation"
One time early on, a friend asked me if I put my daughter's face on the waterfall. The nice thing about digital art is that it's possible to (relatively) easily show how the piece was created. This video breaks down the layers and process behind Flowing Meditation.
The amazing music is "You're Too Late Satan" by Worm Is Green. This video was the first timelapse making-of video I had done, and it was too much to have several minutes of just timelapse, so I broke it up with gentle camera moves. This song fit perfectly for the variety in tempo. Super cool group. You can listen to that album here or check out their website here.
"A Brief Overview"
Motivations + Process
"Deconstructing Gaea II"
Logo + Longing For Ouranos + Nebulaic Embryo + Cronos
my personal favorites
Super Bowl LVCreative Director for AR graphics, 2021 (Silver Spoon Animation)
The GrammysVFX, 2020 (Ntropic)
TENCENTDesign + Execution, 2020 (Ntropic)
Reality via PerceptionPersonal Project, 2020
Sand Water FirePersonal Project, 2020
Lost In SpaceDesign + Execution, 2019 (The Resistance)
The SecretVFX, 2019 (Resistance)
Landscape PaintingPersonal Project, 2018
Justice LeagueDesign + Execution, 2017 (Resistance)
PeriscapeCreative Direction + Execution, 2017
United States NavyDesign + Execution, 2017 (Resistance)
CastrolVFX, 2014 (Suspect)
Easy SkankingPersonal Project, 2015
Jamaica's 50th AnniversaryDesign + Execution, 2012 (Water Works)
The Monkey KingDesign + Execution, 2013 (Global Star)
Flowing MeditationPersonal Project, 2011
ShapeshifterVFX + Compositing, 2010 (Charlex)
DodgeVFX + Compositing, 2008 (Charlex)
AvrilVFX + Compositing, 2009 (Suspect)
ToshibaDesign + Execution, 2007 (Charlex)
MMsCompositing, 2005 (Charlex)
Verizon "It's The Network"Compositing, 2005 (Charlex)
One Rat ShortCompositing + UI, 2006 (Charlex)
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© Jesse Michael Newman, 2021