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Opera North - The Little Greats

Art Works: Anthony Freeman's Grungy Lion Illustration

16 April 17 words: Anthony Freeman

A local artist lets us in on his artistic process..

This piece displays an abstract, grungy take on a lion roaring while slowly disintegrating into a wave of ash and smoke. It’s a conceptual representation of the contrast between the power of nature and the devastating effect of humanity upon it. The image depicts one of the most powerful forces of nature, slowly disappearing into memory because of human interference.  

It was created in Photoshop by combining a stock image of a lion with various techniques. I then used a layer mask and various brushes to manipulate the lion’s mane to give it the appearance that it’s crumbling and dusting into the wind. I then applied smoke effects to the image in order to enhance the perception of the lion being slowly burnt out of existence. Finally, a simple gradient map and noise filter was added to adjust the tone of the image, giving it an overall abstract and grungy feel.

This piece was largely inspired by a series of double exposures by Andreas Lie. His work on the stark contrast between nature and the effect of human interference resonated with me. However, for this piece I took a more abstract approach. Rather than that dichotomy between man and nature, this piece demonstrates the long-term effect on nature. The mighty and proud lion slowly disappearing from existence. I then chose to frame the image with a bold, geometric image and a grungy background.

This piece took around eight to ten hours to complete, I have a day job so my artwork is done in my spare time. I spend as much time as possible using Photoshop and other image editing tools, improving my skills and transforming any ideas or inspiration into a piece I can share with as many people as possible. For me, this is more than a hobby – it’s something I’m passionate about and want to turn into a career. I’m always at my happiest when I’m working on my projects and creating pieces of work.

I first started getting into graphic design while studying for my degree. Although my degree covered a wide range of creative media, I was always fascinated with Photoshop and image manipulation. The thought of taking any idea in my head and transferring it onto a canvas where there was no limits really inspired me.

The things I enjoy most about this craft are two-fold. I enjoy the creativity and sharing new pieces with the world; hopefully inspiring some to create their own. I enjoy the freedom and the opportunity to take countless approaches to a piece. Combining various techniques, concepts and inspiration to create an entirely new and interesting composition.

Anthony Freeman website

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