What do you get when you commission a artwork?

A portrait of the Cats Azuiki and Shozu, commissioned by Juno

When you commission a artwork form a artist, what do you get? Well aside from a fantastic work of art in watercolor or digital, you also get a certificate of authenticity, a receipt and of course the knowledge of helping a artist produce new work.

A certificate of authenticity is a part of the commission you buy:

A certificate of Authenticity for the above artwork

In the certificate I have care instructions, although some artists will do these separately from the certificate. The materials or applications used in creating the artwork are always stated, the value as at sale, and I include a rights and provenance statement. With digital art, I will include a code in the file to certify that the file is an original. With a physical artwork, I include a seal and this certificate (see above).

Animals as elements: 55-56 Cesium Brown Bear, Barium Barramundi

Cesium is a highly reactive alkali metal. It’s high toxicity generally means its use is limited to atomic clocks and as a drilling lubricant (as a liquid alloy). It will react with water at even very low temperatures, which means care has to be taken in its use.

Brown Bears are large omnivorous mammals. They are capable of putting on a huge amount of weight to hibernate through winter months, eating almost anything. Encroachment of human habitation has led to more encounters with the creatures in the search of enough calories to last the winter. They can easily kill a man, if so inclined. Their hunger and danger makes them a good match for cesium.

Barium is a highly reactive element that is in general not found in nature. It’s mostly used for processing esters, x Ray contrast and making endothermic reactions. It’s actually often forms insoluble salts that don’t react with water, which makes pairing it with water creatures a little unusual. I couldn’t though go past the silly pun, so.

Barramundi also known as Asian sea bass and Australian sea bass. It’s a very highly sought after fish for fishing and as food. Though it is flakey and often has low flavor it’s often cooked with various flavors such as lime and garlic, and is a favorite fish for curry. It’s a undergoes sequential gender variation, changing gender often after one or two seasons as a adult male to adult female.

Animals as Elememts: 51-52 Antimony Yellowhead Catfish, Tellurium Latrodectus tredecimguttatus

Yellowhead catfish (Tachysurus fulvidraco) also known as the Korean Bullhead can be found throughout most of northern Asia. It’s not to be confused with the American Yellow Bullhead. The former being a scaled bagrid catfish.

Antimony is a silver colored metal that behaves very much like lead and phosphorus though it is less explosive and as a used as a halogen as a fire retardant. It’s also used in the production of batteries, soldiers and bearings. It’s connection to the Yellowhead catfish is to do with the local of its main source, being mostly found in China and Korea.

Latrodectus tredecimguttatus is a spider that is related to the Black Widow and the infamous Red Bellied Spider. Though its main place of home is in the Mediterranean coastal grasslands and forested area in Europe. It’s name literally means of thirteen spots, and has 13 red, white or orange spots on its body.

Tellurium is a silvery metalloid that can be somewhat toxic. Mostly used for copper and steel alloys and the production of solar panels. It’s now in far higher demand than ever and as it is a rare metal its likely to become even rarer. It’s relation Latrodectus tredecimguttatus is through its relative rarity and usefulness, but mild toxicity.

Animals as Elements: 49-50 Indium Glowworm & Tin Vipera Latiffi

Indium is fairly toxic but very useful element whose main use is in LCD monitors and similar screens such as those used in mobile devices, TVs, and other liquid crystal displays. It’s also used in bearings and vacuums tube chambers. The glowworm is similar to Indium in that it’s glowing effect comes from its food (so electricity and crystal bonds in Indium case) to produce photosynthesis. Though most glowworms are omnivores, a few are carnivores, using their colonies of glowing bacteria in their rear to attract moths and insects to a long thread of silk like a spiders web, then eating it at their leisure.

Tin is a useful binding metal that has been used for centuries. Its widespread use has mostly been applied in making Pewter and in Solder. It’s fairly non toxic and has one of the most numbers of isotopes of any metal. Vipera Latiffi is a viper that lives exclusively in Iran, and it’s associated with Tin as its highly likely the Tin was discovered and first used near its native range.

Animals as Elements: 27-28 Cobalt Hyacinth Macaw, Nickel Proboscis Monkey

Cobalt (as a oxide) is a metal that is often used in tinting glass jewellery and other products to make a brilliant blue color. Often mistaken as the result of bismuth by early chemists and alchemists. I chose the to depict it as a Macaw as its bright blue is so much like that produced by cobalt oxide.

Nickel is a metal often used as an alloy or a plating for more corrosive metals. Usually, as destructive oxidation is less likely to affect it. It’s also often referred to as “old nick” in German miner slang to its resistance when coupled with copper, and thus a “devil” to refine and spot. Nickel is also one of the most widely used elements for implants, though often in an alloy with Aluminium, Titanium and Osmium and until recently Lead (which stopped due to leads high toxicity). Its use in dental fillings is extraordinarily widespread, as a mixture is enlarged, especially so. An enlargement of something is often called a proboscis in biology although many invertebrates and vertebrates have such feature the renowned “naughty” nature of the Proboscis monkey led me to depict them as Nickel.

Animals as Elements: 25-26 Manganese Rhinoceros and Iron Mouse

Manganese is a strong element that helps with muscle growth. It is a trace element in many vegetables and plants often consumed by herbivores in their food, and Carnivora from the herbivores they eat. Rhinoceros is a animal renouned for its strength and it’s rather brustish way of keeping itself safe using its brute strength and it’s hard horn. Much like the behavior of manganese if it’s misused.

Iron is one of the most important and used elements in the world. Used in most large construction projects, transport projects and in many household items. It wide use and strength led me to draw it as mouse. Mice are a very widely spread animal, on every continent (except Antarctica). They have the ability too breed very quickly and eat everything in sight in the right conditions. Their strength in numbers makes up for their small size and are very worthy of being the representative of iron. 

Animals as Elements: 23-24 Vanadium Mayfly, Chromium Mantis Shrimp

Vanadium and chromium are a set of a pair in a way. They both produce colourful salts. But vanadium tends to be a bit more uniform, and thus I chose to use the mayfly as it’s animal. They come in all sorts of colours and sizes and often live short lives. Chromium has even more different salts and is commonly used in paint, stains, tanning, plating and many other uses. The mantis shrimp is one of the most curious creatures in the ocean. It has eyes that pick up colours well beyond the red, green, yellow and blue we can perceive. They can also produce  an almost bullet-like snap with their claws that they use to stun their prey. 

Animals as Elements: 21-22 Scandium Polar Bear, Titanium Wombat

Scandium is a rare earth element mostly used in alloys of aluminum. It’s depiction as polar bear is pretty much a pun with a little bit of the fact that polar bears are getting rarer. 

Wombats are the Titanium of the marsupials. They are tough heavy and very strong. Wombats are somewhat rodent like eating roots, grasses and have similar teeth to rodants. In Australia they are can be involved in road accidents, often causeing significant damage to vehicles involved. They are a covergant evolutionary species. Titanium is very like them in being a adaptable, strong and hard metal. 

Animals as Elements: 17-18 Chlorine Alge and Argon Finch 

Chlorine is often used to kill bacteria in our pools, homes, hospitals, etc. It has nothing to do with Chlorophyl which is a set of organic chemicals that help plants and bacterias photosynthesis process. Other than of course the horrible pun.

Finches are of course Birds and have a vast variety of subspecies. It was Finches of the Galapagos that helped Darwin formulate the Origins of Species. Argon is the second Nobel gas we have got to with this series. As with most of the novel gasses, it’s inert and doesn’t react with anything unless under certain conditions. We have a not insignificant amount of it in the air we breathe every day. It was by the discovery of Lord Rayleigh that we found out that Argon existed. Lord Rayleigh studied birds, finches, seabirds, etc. in his studies of how the atmosphere moves. Thus we have the connection to the humble Finch.

Animals as Elements: 13-14 Aluminium (European) Cockroach, Silicone Dragonfly


Aluminium is a fairly common but reactive element. The cockroach is one of the most abundant species of beetle. Though in this case, we are talking about the European cockroach as I accidentally realized that cockroach was also a perfect match for Lead. Why? Well, we will get to Lead at another stage in the future (32 posts away). So Aluminium is an unforgiving element… Kindof. It is very malleable, changeable and if you treat it right, it will do the same for you. Treat it wrong, and it rots to the core. Much like what will happen if you leave European cockroaches alone!

Silicone is a rather interesting metalloid being one of the most abundant metals in our crust, its use in computing, glass, and many clays and ceramics is now well known; its separation as a single element, however, is relatively late in 1823.
Dragonflies often have four transparent wings, which often reflect the light iridescently giving them an almost seemingly magical glow. It is because of this glow that Dragonflies hold a significant place in some mythology and culture. Wetland loss, however, means they are now less common. Silicone and dragonflies both have this iridescence in the natural form, and thus they belong together.

Animals as Elements: 3&4, Lithium Earthworm & Beryllium Salamander 

Lithium and Beryllium are the next two elements on the periodic table. They are both very volatile and odd but also necessary. Hence both having strange creatures as their representatives in this series. The piece you see here is a very early work. I’m mostly displaying it as I often feel I should show how much I have grown as an artist over time. These sort of growths photos help me as an artist, and I am sure they will help others.

Earthworms are deceivingly simple creatures. They are quite complicated life for their size, and the same goes for Lithium. It is a far more difficult element than it seems at first. Even tricking some of the worlds best minds in nuclear fusion when they built the whole stuff up that was a Castle Bravo nuclear test.

Salamander are fascinating little creatures. Some are toxic, others not so. They should not be confused with axolotls and newts. The salamander lives in aquatic like environments mostly in the northern hemisphere. They are the only true vertebrates who can fully regenerate cut off limbs. Although some lizards can perform partial regeneration, it’s not nearly to the extent and ability that Salamanders can. Often they are associated with the alchemical element of fire. I’m not sure why. I blame Agrippa (Alchemy joke for all you Alchemy fans).

Beryllium almost always only occurs with other elements. As part of a crystal or simply just with the other elements. It is slightly toxic and requires specific handling. It’s also oddly invisible to X-rays and thus is often used in plastic and glass on X-ray equipment. It also is very flexible for a metalloid. It’s also sometimes used to date in radiocarbon dating due to its isotope B10s half life.

Virtual Exhibition: Animals as elements. 

As some of you who follow this blog for a long time I intersect my poetry often with my artwork. This has led me to decide to start my first Virtual exhibition of my physical artwork. Although I also dabble in my virtual artwork a lot of that is concentrated on getting art done for my comic. Which also helps me in bringing my narrative skills to bear.

So to help bring the two together in a new way I will be creating a virtual exhibition of my Animals As Elements series of physical art. Each will come with a artists statement of how the art came into being, why that particular animal was chosen and sometimes a poem. This will of course take some time so I plan to realese them about weekly. Thankfully the art is well ahead of the other parts of this process. 

Hope you enjoy.

Yours in creativity,