The incredible art of R.S. Connett

I recently came across the striking work of an artist named R.S. Connett, whose work brought to mind Ernst Haeckel and H.R. Giger. I contacted him and asked if we could run some of his work on Boing Boing along with his comments. Here's what he had to say:

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ZOOIDS, 12" x 12", acrylic on canvas.

I'm inspired by my imagination. (And the imaginations of others) I have hundreds of ideas which I want to make materialize. The best way for me, is to draw them. The process of drawing stimulates my imagination. I draw almost every day. These drawings are affected by my moods. These are very basic drawings put out in a sort of "shorthand."

Of the hundreds of my shorthand ideas there will be a few that grab my attention, and inspire me. These will get a secondary treatment. If the second drawing pleases me, I will do another, and perhaps another and another. Every time I draw this picture, it changes and evolves. In fact, the third or forth generation drawing may look nothing at all like the original.

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CREATURES of a LUMINESCENT OCEAN, 24" x 24", acrylic on canvas.

In this way I bring forth many pictures from my subconscious. Eventually, they may wind up as a painting, or part of a painting.

About the 5 UNDERWORLD paintings (the painting above, and the four that follow):

The thoughts that I have while painting these works are of the tiny worlds that live beyond our sight. The tiny microscopic worlds were creatures exist so alien to us that they seem to be fictional. The microcosms of the 'UNDERWORLDS.'

When I use the word "underworld" I am referring to many tiny worlds that exist all around us, and even upon and within us. I am interested in the flora and fauna that live in these tiny worlds "under" our normal field of vision. The things that one must hunt for in the grass, in the pools of water, with a microscope, or in ones own imagination. The small worlds of life that exist in abundance, but which we ignore in our self consuming, superficial "life styles."

My mind often drifts, and I wonder about the diminutive worlds that theoretically may exist deep in the sub-atomic materials that make up the universes. Might there not exist creatures so small that we have not yet discovered them? And if that's possible, could there be intelligence of some sort?

I seek to explore my imagination and the universes within and without me through the illustration of these worlds. I intend to create many paintings in my visual investigations of this subject.

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CRUSTACEAPODS, 24" x 24", acrylic on canvas.

I don't have time to read much. However, I listen to many recorded books while I'm working. Everything from popular novels, non-fiction to classics.

As far as movies, I like futuristic cataclysmic movies, heavy on the special effects. My favorite movie is "ATOMIC CAFE." I have a dark fascination for atomic bombs, and can watch that movie over and over.

One of my favorite websites is BOING BOING! ... I enjoy your mailings, and get LOTS of inspiration form the things you cover.

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FLORA vs. FAUNA, 18" x 18", acrylic on canvas.

I don't usually listen to music as I paint. It's either silence, or a recorded book.

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INSECTUS 24" x 24", acrylic on canvas.

I do many small drawings, every day. These images may filter down into one of my paintings, or even become the basis of an entire painting. Before I begin a large painting, I draw up a "to scale" preliminary drawing of the painting for use as a guide. It's not an exact rendition of the painting to be, like I have seen other artists prepare. I prefer to work from a basic "map" of my idea. In this drawing I work out the position of objects, and most of the colors I plan to use. I may use watercolor, ink pens, pencils, chalk, markers, anything I need to get what I want into this preliminary drawing. Nothing is exact in the prelim, and many changes and additions will be made in the final painting.

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SPINAL TOTEM, 12" x 24", acrylic on canvas. This is a commission I took on for a tattoo design. It's painted to form along the spine of the collectors back. (Careful measurements were taken) I began at the top and worked my way down to the bottom.

I place the preliminary scale drawing on an easel next to my primary easel, for quick reference. As I make changes, I record them on the prelim drawing. By the end of the project the prelim will be filled with notations, color examples and new drawings. I don't make an exact preliminary because I need surprises on the path from the beginning to the end of a work. Boredom is my greatest enemy.

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A.F.S. 01 (ALTERNATIVE FOOD SOURCE 01), 10" x 10", acrylic oon canvas. This small painting is simply my mind's representation of what might come of a machine's idea of how a life form might be bettered.

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ANTAGONY, 24" x 48". This is a painting which illustrates a possible vision of the future. It's a painting of antagonism, disaffection and hostility. Enslavement is a by-product of the devaluation of life. I paint that into the painting, along with addiction, sickness, symbols of war, insanity and people watching too much TV!

Visit R.S. Connett's website, or view selected works.

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  1. I have had the great fortune to get to know this artist after commissioning a painting. R.S Connett was great to work with and the final painting was beyond belief. It’s nice to see a truly great person and artist get some well deserved recognition.

  2. I feel like I’m in the conservatory of flowers in Golden Gate Park on A, in 1967
    when the most purist form we got to experience via Stanley Owsley, his art is a continuous
    hallucination and that’s alright, and especially if you love what you doing in your life,
    my friend will never die a faux person of himself, for he is real deal, and therefore
    should inspire you to find your vision and purpose for being on this planet..

  3. Wow, these are lovely. The style reminds me a lot of the artwork in the excellent Bitmap Brothers game, Xenon II – perhaps this is what all the aliens were doing offscreen before the protagonist’s spaceship arrives and blows them to bits?

  4. I adore these. I am guessing H.P. Lovecraft would have known a few of the creatures by name. The interview was also very enjoyable. I love hearing about artists’ processes and inspirations.

    thank you for sharing this amazing artist Mark!

  5. Really excellent surreal work; thanks for introducing us to this artist, Mark!

    Especially fascinated to read about any artist using a fundamentally iterative process (sort of like artistic kung fu): draw, draw, and draw again and again…honing and evolving the image. I like that.

  6. Really excellent surreal work; thanks for introducing us to this artist, Mark!

    Especially fascinated to read about any artist using a fundamentally iterative process (sort of like artistic kung fu): draw, draw, and draw again and again…honing and evolving the image. I like that.

  7. just like the stuff i regularly see at la luz: really nice technique; ugly subject matter. who would hang such ugliness in their house?

    1. Wow, amazing that you project that no one could have such “ugliness” in their house. I find these beautiful. My wife and I already have several Ernst Haeckel’s around the house — it was mentioned above that his work is very much like this — and these twisted versions would be an amazing addition.

  8. It disgusts me when people see a unique work of art and assume that LSD played a role in creating it :\

  9. I discovered this amazing artist by accident while going through pictures on an Iphone app and had no idea the name of the artist. I was instantly amazed by the detail of his creations – they are truly worth more than a casual look and it is a reward to study them for their depth; for one will discover more and more the longer they gaze upon them. After a year had passed I traced R S Connett through Flicker, found his website and proceeded to write him. He is exceptionally receptive to direct correspondence and very articulate (which is evident when you read some of his commentary to his works). In fact his email helped me discover this awesome and intriguing site. Also, being a writer myself – his work has inspired me on a few of my penned pieces. It honestly is a exceptionally small – extremely large world; somethings are obviously discovered while other hidden wonders are right in front of us but are seldom visual unless we take the adventure into sights unseen. JK Hedrick

  10. Stunning! The way you play on color makes me almost forget the subject. Love, Love, Love your ART and conception! M

  11. Robert, I just love all those eyes and the transparent pouches filled with life forms or parts of life forms. Eerie…but not dark or viciously erotic like Giger. Your dreams are strange, but oddly peaceful. LOVE it!

    Sharon George

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