Eric Kuns, “Last Seen in Vientiane”, Digital art collage, 10/2013 [Click to see a larger image!]
If you saw my last piece, you might be surprised at how different this one is from it. The last one looked like a painting and was all drawn from the imagination on the computer. This one is a very elaborate collage of photographs I took in Vientiane (I’ve lived in Asia for about 7 years). It’s also a bit of a testament to why I do “digital art”. There just would be no other way to do something like this, which is made up of stacks of layers, most with masks, and at different transparencies.

In the picture below, look at the palette on the right showing all the levels I was using.

In-progress screen shot showing the levels palette with many levels and masks (some are in collapsed groups), including smart objects and smart filters. This can get a little hairy.

The image is fairly large, but the cumulative levels made the file so heavy that it came in over a gig and bogged down my computer. When I do this sort of work, the levels keep expanding, and I try to group them or combine them to simplify matters.

Below you can see some of the masks I was using.

Several of the masks I saved in the masks palette.

This piece is almost a diptych, because I both sides work well on their own. There’s a balancing act between them in terms of composition, color, values, and textures, so that the combination was more difficult to achieve than two separate pieces.

The left side. Works on its own as a stand alone image. There’s something kinda of Wizard of Oz about this.
The right side. Also could stand alone.

I’m not going to offer an interpretation on this one. I don’t want people to confuse knowing or figuring out a meaning with actually understanding the art. After all, one could understand an interpretation without even looking at it. This one could be appreciated on a purely abstract level as well, in terms of just getting into the colors and luminosity of it, which reminds me of looking into those old View Master toys the more wizened among us used to have as kids.

The luminous quality of my collage reminded me of something, and it finally hit me that it was the back-illumined, color-saturated slides I used to look at through one of these View Masters as a kid.

The following is a gif animation showing several stages of this image. The original pictures I took are really nothing special, but I took them because I saw some potential in them for something I might do later, which has now happened.

Gif animation showing 5 of the stages (they are more) of the image.

Below is the full image again (though not full-sized. It’s much larger). Try looking at it for a few minutes (while listening to music) if you have the time? I finally figured out how to display larger images than can show up within the blog column, which was to “link to image” in the properties of the image, so if you click on the pic, it will show up by itself at a much better size for viewing!


Various prints, and greeting cards.

Art Prints

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8 replies on “New art, “Last Seen in Vientiane”

  1. I love your painting and also love the way how you showing all the creating progress! Digital painting brings more interesting formats to story-tell and expression.really inspired!


  2. Hi Eric,

    This is amazing. I think your creative juices are in high gear. Wow they are really great one after the other. I love what you are doing This is very imaginative and love the effects on it. The colors and so many facets to this gorgeous piece. Keep on doing what you do best. The art you love doing.


    1. That’s fair enough. Although, in a sense, the imaginary is also real, because it exists as imagination. In a Thai/Laos context, the right side might dip a bit into the spiritual realm. It’s got a naga, which is a serpent that you see everywhere outside temples (in sculptural) form, a Buddha in the upper right, and the main figure could easily be a ghost, which many believe in here, so much so that they have mini houses outside for the ghosts to go into.


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