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Gris-gris by MoonsongWolf Gris-gris by MoonsongWolf
In the realm of archetypes and symbolism, masks are typically associated with deceit, hidden motives, and the concealment of the true "self." Oftentimes, it takes a person who is honest and unafraid of their inner self to look at a mask without feeling some amount of discomfort.

Needless to say, masks creep me right the hell out.

I would like to say that everything in this painting is deeply symbolic, but it's not. I just wanted to draw a rat in a shyguy mask. He's been sitting around, unfinished, in my sketchbook for almost six months, and I decided that it was finally time to paint him.

He wants to sell you a gris-gris. Would you feel comfortable buying anything from this guy?

Medium: Gouache and some photoshop work. The original is in black and white. Long story short, I didn't want to ruin it, so I digitally added in some of the red. Sorry, purists.

Artwork is © *MoonsongWolf
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Daily Deviation

Given 2009-03-02
Gris-gris by *MoonsongWolf is an intriguing piece both in concept and technique. The colors work wonderfully together here, with that rich red cape and those lovely muted browns used in the background. Definitely a standout piece in their gallery! ( Featured by savagebinn )
:iconsophiealteaki:
SophieAlteaki Featured By Owner Aug 29, 2012
Wonderful! Such imagination. I really love tha atmosphere.
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:iconmoonsongwolf:
MoonsongWolf Featured By Owner Sep 6, 2012
Thank you! I'm glad that you liked it. :)
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:iconselenmariene:
Selenmariene Featured By Owner Mar 28, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
Perfect skaven
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:iconmoonsongwolf:
MoonsongWolf Featured By Owner Mar 31, 2012
Ha ha, I actually picked up a few skaven models to paint the other day! I don't even play warhammer, but I lvoe their skaven models. :)
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:iconprettypickles:
prettypickles Featured By Owner Mar 11, 2012  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Nicely done!
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:iconjames-dark-blue-wolf:
Wow very nice
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:iconmoonsongwolf:
MoonsongWolf Featured By Owner Mar 2, 2012
Thank you. :)
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:iconjames-dark-blue-wolf:
James-Dark-Blue-Wolf Featured By Owner Mar 2, 2012
Your welcome
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:iconembracedbydvorovoi:
EmbracedByDvorovoi Featured By Owner Nov 13, 2011  Hobbyist General Artist
Tsk tsk. Give that mask back to the poor 'Guy, he must be crying his eyes out! :giggle:

...I see I'm not the only one who had the same thought looking at the preview. And glad that such an awesome artist also happened to like Shy Guys. :) Great work.
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:iconmoonsongwolf:
MoonsongWolf Featured By Owner Nov 20, 2011
Ha ha, yeah, they're definitely the most interesting of the Mario series bad guys, in my opinion. I totally love their character design! :D And I'm glad that you liked this little fellow as well.
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:iconapplegally:
applegally Featured By Owner Sep 1, 2011
The answer is probably right in front of me, but...what's a gris-gris? >.<
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:iconmoonsongwolf:
MoonsongWolf Featured By Owner Sep 3, 2011
It's a voodoo amulet that protects you from evil or brings you good luck. :) Although traditionally they are little cloth bags filled with appropriate spiritual items instead of necklaces like this guy has.
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:iconapplegally:
applegally Featured By Owner Sep 4, 2011
That's what I thought! :) Thank you!
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:iconkrippled1:
Krippled1 Featured By Owner Jul 11, 2011
This was really well done.
Nice atmosphere you have going!
Though I have this desire to know what's under that mask simply to see his eyes.
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:iconmoonsongwolf:
MoonsongWolf Featured By Owner Jul 16, 2011
Thanks, I'm glad that you liked it! Ha ha, I imagine that he probably looks a lot like this under that mask: [link] :D
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:iconkrippled1:
Krippled1 Featured By Owner Jul 20, 2011
:)
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:iconchubbypikachu:
ChubbyPikachu Featured By Owner Oct 24, 2010  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
he's kinda cute, in a way. you're very brave for working with gouache XD
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:iconmoonsongwolf:
MoonsongWolf Featured By Owner Oct 26, 2010
Thanks! :) I actually find gouache pretty easy to work with. Unlike traditional watercolours, it's opaque, and, unlike acrylic, you can rewet it when it is dry to help blends parts of the painting together. So it lacks the worst attributes of acrylic and tradional watercolour, both of which I am still struggling to learn to use! But I know there are also a lot of people who don't really like using gouache, so I think it really depends on your personal technique and style.
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:iconaniyala:
Aniyala Featured By Owner Sep 4, 2010  Student Traditional Artist
personally, masks fascinate me, hidding the true in order to be revieled later (did i spell that right) or to others who are trusted w/ that secret anywhoo the meaning for me just go on, iwould LOVE to buy something from this guy! his mask kinda creeps me out though, reminds me of Scream hehe wow i ramble!
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:icongeko27:
Geko27 Featured By Owner Jul 21, 2010
Dark yet light, deep yet shallow and symbolic and normal . You can choose what you WANT to think about this picture or not....

I Love it and feel slighly odd......looking at this picture.....
Sorry this is not normal for me to do but strange pictures does give you strange ideas......
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:iconmoonsongwolf:
MoonsongWolf Featured By Owner Jul 23, 2010
That's one of the most wonderful things about art! You can look into something as deeply (or as shallowly) as you feel like, no matter what the artist originally intended. :)
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:iconcrispylettuce:
CrispyLettuce Featured By Owner Jul 13, 2010  Student Digital Artist
I have instantly fallen in love with this painting. XD
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:iconmoonsongwolf:
MoonsongWolf Featured By Owner Jul 15, 2010
Aw, thanks! I'm glad that you liked it. :)
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:icondreamingdragondesign:
DreamingDragonDesign Featured By Owner May 31, 2010  Professional Artisan Crafter
Reminds be a little of some of `ursulav's concepts. (That's a huge complement. I ADORE her work.)

And yeah, I'll buy a gris-gris from him.
*hands over the rest of her roast beef sandwich, suspecting that he doesn't want her cash*
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:iconmoonsongwolf:
MoonsongWolf Featured By Owner Jun 5, 2010
I will definitely take that a compliment! Her work is just amazing. I wish I had her skill with lighting and texture creation. :)
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:iconcasey64:
casey64 Featured By Owner May 16, 2010
Because of how he looks, it's so easy to mistake him for a Shy Guy.
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:icontankero:
Tankero Featured By Owner Apr 11, 2010  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Ahahaa, I would buy a gris-gris any day from that little guy<3 Loving this one to the bits. :)
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:iconmoonsongwolf:
MoonsongWolf Featured By Owner Apr 13, 2010
:lol: I would, too! Thank you, I'm very glad that you liked this one.
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:icontursiops33:
tursiops33 Featured By Owner Apr 4, 2010  Hobbyist Writer
Well deserved DD!
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:iconmoonsongwolf:
MoonsongWolf Featured By Owner Apr 6, 2010
Thank you! :)
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:icontursiops33:
tursiops33 Featured By Owner Apr 7, 2010  Hobbyist Writer
you're welcome!
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:iconpriteeboy:
priteeboy Featured By Owner Apr 2, 2010  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Haha, I see you got some "Shy Guy" comments already, but one more couldn't hurt - it's a scaringly realistic depiction of what they might look like if real...nobody knows exactly what they are :paranoid:
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:iconmoonsongwolf:
MoonsongWolf Featured By Owner Apr 6, 2010
Thanks! Ha ha, I've always wondered exactly what they were. They're still one of my favourite Mario villains just for the subtle creepy factor when you imagine really meeting one in real life. Definitely more intimidating than mushrooms and turtles!
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:icondrusillaclover:
DrusillaClover Featured By Owner Feb 19, 2010
So Cute!
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:iconapplegally:
applegally Featured By Owner Jan 7, 2010
I've got a question. I know you probably won't want to, and you don't know me, and I have no avatar and no art, could you draw me a picture of a character of mine? She's called Senka. She's a dark red wolf with dark green eyes. Usually on her back there's a dark brown owl with shiny black eyes. If you DO decide to draw/paint/whatever her, then please draw her against the dawning sky, the owl on her back, and her standing on a rock, facing the unknown. Thanks for your time!
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:iconmoonsongwolf:
MoonsongWolf Featured By Owner Jan 9, 2010
Sorry, as stated in my journal, I do not take requests. I make part of the money that goes to my food and rent by selling my art, so I can't really give it away for free (unless it's a gift for a good friend). I appreciate the interest, though, and I'm glad that you have enjoyed my work. If you are looking for people to draw your character, I recommend just browsing DA and checking people's journals. Sometimes, people accept requests for practice, and they will advertise this in their journals.
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:iconapplegally:
applegally Featured By Owner Feb 8, 2010
Ok, thanks!
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:iconxeraans:
Xeraans Featured By Owner Dec 1, 2009
I absolutely love this image. If there was a way to double favorite it, I would. It's so beautiful.
Have you ever seen the movie The Village? It's one of my favorites, and besides the shy-guy mask, the image is very reminiscent of it.

The red accents in the grass are quite the touch.
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:iconmoonsongwolf:
MoonsongWolf Featured By Owner Dec 5, 2009
Aw, thanks! I'm glad that you liked this one.

Yes, I have indeed seen The Village! I'm one of the few people that actually really liked it. I loved the design for the "monster" creatures, and the limited colour palette. I thought that it was very artistically done. :)
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:iconnobigwoop:
NoBigWoop Featured By Owner Sep 21, 2009
Love your rat work.

Some of the images are so inexplicably resonant that I don't realize how long I've been looking at a work until I have to blink and find my eyes burning.

Truly, truly excellent and evocative work using an often discounted subject.
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:iconmoonsongwolf:
MoonsongWolf Featured By Owner Sep 28, 2009
Thank you for the wonderful comment! I'm glad that you've enjoyed my work. :)

The rat artwork is some of my favourite to create, as it tends to be personal. It's a shame how under-represented the rat is in art! They're really quite fascinating creatures, and easy to relate to because they are so similar to people.
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:icongez-is:
Gez-is Featured By Owner Sep 1, 2009
i love it!
reminds me, for some reason, of no-face from spirited away.

it's creepy, but beautiful.
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:iconmoonsongwolf:
MoonsongWolf Featured By Owner Sep 2, 2009
Thanks! Aw, I have that movie, but still haven't watched it yet. I got a pretty large batch of anime movies and shows from a friend a while back, and Spirited Away was included. I really need to set aside some time soon and watch it. I've loved all of the other Miyazaki movies that I've seen. :)
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:icongez-is:
Gez-is Featured By Owner Sep 2, 2009
it's REALLY good.
of course, it's better in japanese with the english subtitles.
if you can understand japanese, that's even better.

i bought the dvd when i was in chinatown.
it only has chinese and japanese subtitles.
thank god i know a bit of jap and had seen it before anyway...

but yes...one of the best movies ever!
he has a new movie out...i really want to see that, too.
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:iconeonity:
Eonity Featured By Owner Aug 30, 2009  Hobbyist General Artist
In our lives, we hide behind masks virtually all the time. We do this at times for convenience or necessity, and to conceal part of ourselves at other times. At work, we put on a mask that portrays ourselves as experienced labourers of the profession we are employed in - for example, a person who works as a bus driver puts on a mask portray himself as knowledgeable in the operation of buses and bus routes when he goes to work, so as to instill confidence in the people he carries on the buses he drives; during social gatherings, we put on a mask that portray ourselves as outgoing, warm and friendly while concealing the parts of ourselves that we consider undesirable, so we could portray an illusion of desirable perfection and attract others without them ever knowing about our own undesirable traits that could drive them away; and at other times, when we are with strangers we put on a mask that conceals - sometimes futilely - as many aspects of ourselves as possible, portraying ourselves only as an obeyer of the accepted and unwritten social rules and norms.

Probably the only times when we shed all of our masks and reveal our true selves are when we are in our own private shells, or when our emotions take over us and break down the masks to reveal secrets we could otherwise guard jealously with our own lives. Either that, or give a person a wall of anonymity, and he or she will gladly take off any mask (s)he is wearing and reveal every thing about himself or herself voluntarily.

---

Great concept behind the picture, which you executed very well. I like how you obeyed the rule of thirds when placing your subjects in the picture. And don;t worry about digitally adding colour to the picture and breaking it's purity; I just love it when both traditional and digital can come together in harmony to create gorgeous artworks like this one here.
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:iconmoonsongwolf:
MoonsongWolf Featured By Owner Sep 7, 2009
I love the section at the top of your comment! I agree completely. Masks are, in both their physical and their psychological form, almost always serves a protective function. We only remove them when we feel safe (which can be simply the perception of anonymity). :)

Thank you for the wonderful comment! It was a delightful read, and I appreciate it. I'm glad that you liked the picture as well. I enjoyed using all of the different techniques. Some people get a little bent out of shape when you combine digital and traditional. I have no clue why! They can complement each other well.
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:iconchiamata-alle-arti:
Chiamata-alle-Arti Featured By Owner Jul 25, 2009
Our compliments!
We would like to publish this work on the next issue of our italian art-zine named CAA -Chiamata alle Arti, themed Mask.
thanks
The team

You can see all past editions here:
[link]
The deadline for this issue is 15 september 2009.
send to: caa@psdrevolution.it
Your personal data:
- Name and/or nickname - Email and/or URL of your site
- your permission to use the images both for the use on the CAA and to advertize the CAA projects themselves.
File types (no animation) at least 1800 pixels on longer side:
JPG, GIF and PNG or TIF, TGA, EPS, BMP, WMF, EMF compressed with ZIP or RAR (max 6 Mb).

more info: [link]
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:iconkaadan:
Kaadan Featured By Owner Mar 22, 2009  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I saw the thumbnail and I fell in love with this piece right away! something about it just caught my attention!.. awesomeness xD
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:iconmoonsongwolf:
MoonsongWolf Featured By Owner Mar 27, 2009
Thanks! I'm glad that you liked this little guy. :)
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:iconkasa-feza:
Kasa-Feza Featured By Owner Mar 18, 2009   Digital Artist
cul! at first, i thought it was that guy from "spirited away" - awesome anime movie, and it reminds me of a shy guy from mario.
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February 16, 2009
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