The abyss in the Underworld, a dungeon of torment and suffering.

The head of TARTAROS is a skull of embers. The veins of his heart can be seen through his ripped-open chest.

I was transforming close-up photos of campfire embers when its face emerged. It was slightly freaky.

This is one vignette among many, interwoven to form REBIRTH of GAEA -- a visual tapestry synthesizing modern conceptions of our place in the universe with those of the Ancient Greeks.

NFTs available here.


My original idea was for Tartaros to be abstract, not an entity.

Transforming interesting photos of embers or volcanoes would hopefully allow faces or forms to emerge. For each viewer, it would be different... like seeing form in the clouds.

By March 2011, I had what I thought might be a close-to-final version of Tartaros, with the walls of Hell dripping upward. 


Two months passed. 

May 9, 2011.

I was staring at the fire while everyone else was asleep in the tent. After a while, it seemed like an eye in the fire was staring back. Or maybe a face? I wasn't sure.  

So I took this video and then some photos from super close-up. 


Ten days later, while transforming these photos, a face definitely emerged.

A skull made of embers.

Starting with photos and playing around is much different from starting with a CG skull and texturing it (although I like doing both). Using elements from nature adds a certain collaborative aspect to the piece. It requires being open to whatever might emerge. 

That being said, it was slightly freaky.


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Cosmic MindPersonal Project, 2021

Super Bowl LVCreative Director for augmented reality graphics, 2021 (Silver Spoon Animation)

TENCENTDesign + Execution, 2020 (Ntropic)

The GrammysVFX, 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)

Rebirth of GaeaPersonal Project, 2012

Flowing MeditationPersonal Project, 2011

Nebulaic EmbryoPersonal Project, 2012

ShapeshifterVFX + Compositing, 2010 (Charlex)

ToshibaDesign + Execution, 2007 (Charlex)

MMsCompositing, 2005 (Charlex)

Verizon "It's The Network"Compositing, 2005 (Charlex)

One Rat ShortCompositing + UI, 2006 (Charlex)

InfernoSelf Portrait

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© Jesse Michael Newman, 2021