February 2023

We have a lot of things to share across multiple departments so grab your coffee (or equivalent) and strap yourself in — this is a big one!

Art highlight

The title of this illustration, “Form Aura Colours”, is an amalgamation of Plato’s Theory of Forms and the New Age beliefs in different coloured auras. Essentially this illustration is a symbolic map of different places and times that humanity made key advances culturally and technologically.

Form Aura Colours is an illustration produced as part of research for an ongoing production.

Front and centre we see the Yggdrasil the Tree of Life but not as you’ve seen it before. Instead of the familiar shape of a tree there are figures of people growing out of each others anuses to form the trunk and branches.

Within the centre of the background are rows of each epochs key achievements starting with agriculture, moving toward architecture then religion (city building) and the invention of the aircraft (flying machine).

The symbols on the left and right hand side of the image represent the ascent of the human mind, starting with emotions, moving through the era of magical thinking and towards reason and technology.

The top level of the design represents the final veil of mysteries that are obscured and unknowable for us. The centre background for this row shows the many different types of reality and consciousness “out there” and the infinite army of automated intelligence that protects it.

If you’re still not sure what you’re looking at, may I suggest a song.

“The Origin of Love” from Hedwig and the Angry Inch (2001)


While we have access to state of the art generative technology — the character designs for this project are being done by hand using a mix of pencil and digital. We could use something pleasing that Stable Diffusion produces but I think the nuances of human input and creativity would be lost doing it that way. The success of cartoons with unusual art styles like Adventure Time and Powerpuff Girls is a testament to the fact it doesn’t have to look ideal, just needs to have a consistent POV and be fun.

Introducing the working version of Minervus, a young male demon who prefers to be called “Nerv”.

The role that A.I. will play in the production is to help us elevate the original style of the cartoon and produce richer and more interesting backgrounds. As discovered when working on Kamigen, it’s trivial for a writer to spin up Stable Diffusion now and run through possible scenes in order to arrive at the best possible combination of elements.

Aesthetics are probably about a third of the extent of the work going on, the rest of it going into research and writing. There’s a lot of big ideas going into Demonology and the trick to making that fun will be distilling the key elements into digestible pieces of entertainment.

Due to our grassroots approach, a fully serialised format is unlikely for a very long time and so we will be focused on animated shorts.

Garrett Ray Jewellery

We’ve been a bit quiet on social media but are hard at work planning and preparing! New products from Garrett Ray Jewellery are coming and to promote them Open Studios will be running some exciting campaigns across all channels, including a couple of video ads!

The birthstone for March is Aquamarine so we’ve selected this stunning 18k Gold Aquamarine pendant to be in the March 2023 issue of British Vogue, featuring Rihanna and her new family on the cover.

This one of a kind gold pendant necklace features a 10.64 carat Mozambique Aquamarine pendant set in 18 karat gold. The Aquamarine is AIG certified.

Follow Garrett Ray Jewellery

New website

We just launched a new website for Open Studios! The single page site is intended to be a portal to all our brands and recent work.

Website design and build by [Paul Brzeski](https://paulbrzeski.com)

The page itself is responsive but isn’t yet a full Progressive Web Application. Eventually we will create some kind of app so that our media in Demonology and Kamigen can be accessed on mobile, using the website in that way is certainly a cheaper and simpler stepping stone to get there.

Built with Eleventy, Pug, Rollup, Stylus and Tailwind — the production of this site also set us up with the new boilerplate for Kettlefish V2, an open source static website builder that has been changed from standalone to leveraging the features of Eleventy.

Website: openstudios.xyz

Tech feature

Introducing BSD Daemon, cute mascot of the BSD project.

The BSD ( Berkeley Software Distribution ) operating system is the dark horse of the computing world. You might have heard of it’s more popular cousin Linux, but did you know that Apple’s macOS and iOS are based on BSD? Other notable uses of BSD’s codebase are Microsoft Windows (just for networking ) and even Sony Playstations 3–5 and Vita.

The Linux ecosystem is an incredibly complex one but I think that can also be a downside for its stability and overall sense of quality. Corporate interests and rookie developers appear to have lowered the quality and freshness of Linux over the past 25 years.

When you fire up a Live USB key or have a fresh install of Ubuntu — it’s completely filled to the brim with features and functionality, but as someone who has also done that a number of times — I’ve also run into a tons unexpected issues which on Googling are often widespread. Basic stuff like hardware accelerated GPU and sound don’t work out of the box.

Bugs are normal in software development, but it’s where you draw and hold the line for acceptable system performance that sets the quality standard. I don’t have any criticism for the Linux kernel itself, from what I can see the problems start within the hallowed offices of the corporate vendors.

I’m actually a BSD newbie myself but if I could oversimplify how it feels for me — a modern desktop like GhostBSD feels to me like what Linux was always meant to be — fast, good looking and solid. I was able to watch a Youtube video on my Intel NUC and the frames didn’t freeze, which is not something I can say for Ubuntu, Manjaro or even Windows, sadly.

If you’re experienced with Linux or just want to try something different I encourage you to give BSD a go. There are different distributions to try depending on your requirements, I recommend GhostBSD for desktop but check out this awesome BSD distro guide at Make Use Of for more.

And finally Happy 2023 Mardi Gras to everyone participating in the event in Sydney and around the world! The celebration of LGBTIQA+ pride is an important cultural institution that reminds everyone from all walks of life who we are and where we came from so we don’t go backwards.

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