Designed around January/February 2019, Kingdom was one piece that was different for me, because it had a different starting point - one out of pure love. It started with a love for lions, all they represented and wanting to work more off the style I created for my Om Mandala. I began to love layering even more.
It was originally designed for someone, they always wanted their own bespoke mandala and Kingdom was the birth of that, but on reflection now, it was never meant for them, it was meant for everyone who could resonate to the power of this piece, including me, and this piece holds so much more because it was the first I had done since Waheguru, which was done back in February 2018. So it did begin with love as a pure intention, I was excited to create it - hell it was the first lion based mandala I had designed and boy was I goddamn impressed with the end result - it's now one of my most popular pieces for the fact it's so striking.
But where did it really begin design wise - from coming up with a concept in my head of layering mandalas like I had done with Om, but with something fresh and new. You may recognise the base of the finished result, it holds the same one as my Waheguru Mandala (which you can read the story behind here), however the concept was done with Synergy - I needed it to be intricate and mesmerising and Synergy was the best mandala I had that gave me that feeling, with the upper and lower mandala being a creation of something I produced with amaziograph whilst I was testing out the app, I actually fell in love with it and wanted to use it within a piece. But the lion, now this took some searching for, because I didn't know what I was looking for, all I knew was I wanted it to resemble 'power'.
I began first designing the lion, looking at references from others online and their styles of work, focusing on depth, detail and even facial placement and angles to ensure it was going to be 'the one' that was right. Looking at crown styles and how to angle it right, designing the lion overall as a vector and focusing in on smaller details and shading elements took around 5 hours.
The principle design of working a layered mandala came from my first layered piece - 'Om Mandala', and taking that into consideration I began to design with an idea in mind of having powerful yet simple mandalas to be suited for a backdrop, that would emphasise having a lions head in front of it. With this all in mind and having completed the lion, I decided the piece would be best as portrait, being a lion and king of the jungle, it felt right to have an abstract way of representing the hierarchy in the piece - although the lion is front and centre, mandalas and the symbolism of our relation to the universe will always be higher, reminding us that everything has it's place.
Choosing black and gold was a weird struggle for me as I had the temptation to work with more colour, but I wanted to focus on 2 prime colours and a range of gold gradients to emphasise the simplicity behind it, the elegance, royalty. The piece overall was complete within a day (around 10 hours) with all amends and colour shades tried and tested. I found it to be the first piece I had created where the name was what I had first, and the work stemmed from there.
So here comes the real truth, what was the back story, and why does it resemble power? Well, the person who it was designed for, was probably the most toxic person I've ever come across in my life - they broke me, there's no simple way of saying it. They were the person to show me everything I never wanted to be faced with again in short, and they were the ones to break the mindset I built, and made me construct a new one, and this was done by power, and abuse of it. Knowing how to work around a mind and get inside of one and then manipulate it and twist it until you essentially have control of that person. They were the definition of a narcissist, potentially a sociopath, definitely bipolar, (and that's no stigma against people with that, but this right now is my experience of it). They played on my worst fears after knowing and coming to understand what they were, to use it to play me and make me forever come running - I allowed them to have that power over me because I was so blind, ridiculously naïve and I needed to wake the hell up.
And I did. And that wake up was the most brutal one I've done to date because (pardon my french) fuck me it was cold and harsh. I lost friends over it, I almost lost family over it, I was seriously so fucking blindsided it was actually scary, and the work I put in to get myself into the good place I was in when I first met them, it went out the goddamn window. But around February 2019 when I designed this piece, I started waking up. Challenging, realising what the hell was going on and what my life was becoming and I quite literally thought 'what the actual fuck', and bit by bit spent each day attempting to claw back my own power.
This piece represents both abuse of power, and the redemption of my own personal one, and how the universe will seriously challenge you and put you through your damn tests to see if you can make it, to build yourself into the person you're destined to be - why do you think the eyes are white when everything else is black and gold? The colours represent royalty and elegance, but white is pure, white is serenity and peace - white is our highest self that only the universe sees until we achieve this. Gold is our royalty, our shine, the beauty within the darkness that surrounds us in this world where we have purity waiting, purity in the eye of the beholder. And I remember once someone saying to me 'beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and I look at you and I see a diamond in the making even though you can't see it yourself yet, you need to believe me darling that I see you as a diamond, now believe it yourself" - and that was from a mentor I had who was like a father figure to me, and he saw me at my most broken around this time in 2018 after I broke up with the ex who got mentioned in so many of these blogs. But coming back to it - the eyes had to stand out, I never knew all of this back then when I was designing, not consciously anyway - but I always say everything for a reason right - this was it.
So why did I pick the name 'Kingdom'? The lion - the lion was everything in this for me. We know them commonly as 'the king of the jungle', so take that literally for a second with the world as a jungle - who do we want to put in power of our own perception of the world, it can only ever be us right? Kingdom represents our world, us being the king (or queen) of our own world, giving ourselves the power to rule it how we wish, make the rules, break the rules, redefine them as we see necessary. Kingdom was about personal power, never allowing anyone to take it from you the same way you can never take a lion's pride - it's a representation of reclaiming our power, holding it, owning it, using it to shape our own path. I remember seeing a quote once that said "walk your path. If they block way way, gather the courage to tell them to move. If they don't move, push them out of the way. If it gets aggressive, be prepared to fight because that's how important you are", and it always stuck with me, and Kingdom is the visual representation of that quote.
For those who wish to, you can shop Kingdom online here.
Thank you for reading & keep your eyes peeled for future piece meanings being shared across the blog and also socials. Feel free to share your thoughts, comments and even your own interpretations in the comments below or if you wish to let me know privately - I'm always social on emails and my social media channels.
One love - Simmy. x