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Indomitable Infinity by missleliel Indomitable Infinity by missleliel
Transferred from my old account (usaku). Completed in 2009.


An Art Nouveau inspired dedication to one of my muses, David Gahan, worked on little-by-little almost every day this week. I didn't realize it would take so long, but I was patient (for once).

The concept for piece has been mulling around in my brain for many months, but several attempts at execution have fallen flat. Finally I managed to create something I was happy with, mostly to do with a lovely shot taken by my friend Tara at one of the Depeche Mode shows this summer, and my attempts to improve my figure drawing skills.

The hardest thing about drawing a serious interpretation of any real person, living or dead, is that I don't like being generic. It's very important to me that I capture the essence of my subject in question - their particular features and recognizable traits. Simply drawing a generic anime guy with black-brown hair and tattoos just doesn't do him justice. However, it all depends on the purpose of a piece - obviously a chibi or sketch done for fun is just that.

Anyway, as a subject dear to my heart, this piece is laden with symbolism.. The background needed elements and details, and it's my philosophy that most of the time, if you need to add elements to a piece, it enhances the value and meaning if you can tie in a secret code story. If you're not interested in such details, I'd stop reading.

Martin Gore would say "You people think too much." But I say, in telling a meaningful story, the more thought put into it the better! And really, most of these ideas came quite naturally.

The center piece is obvious: David Gahan is the lead singer of Depeche Mode. Though he is wholly important/special outside this role, it's how I "know" him. Artists in the thrall of performance are letting their creative spirits fly, and David certainly does so. I wanted the strength and elegance of his live performance to be captured well (why I struggled with the pose for so long).

Wings: Well, you know it might be a pretty generic thing in the DM fanart community, but I think there's good reason. A great performer/artist is transcendental - music is a special thing that can cut straight through to our core being despite our personal barriers. To me, wings are typically a symbol of spiritual power, and there are very few things in this world that move the spirit as musicians do.

Cats: Harkening back to a nickname David was given in the 90s, during his dark period. Paramedics had seen him so many times they started calling him "The Cat." When asked about it after he had sobered up, he said "the cat" was on his left shoulder all the time. This was quite a while ago, but the image of a looming reminder has always stuck in my mind, not to mention the fact that David has survived four life-threatening experiences reinforces the image.

The Gemstones: On that note, there are nine jewels (nine lives), of which four are broken. One for each experience: heart attack (1993), lacerated wrists (1995), overdose, in which he did die for two minutes (1996), bladder cancer (2009).

The Lotus Flowers: Renewal and progress, making oneself better than where one started. Lotus flowers seed in mud and murky water, but grow into the light to become something beautiful. This could be taken in two ways for David. One is his path from a troubled childhood in Basildon (juvenile crime, family problems) to becoming a successful musician, bringing joy to millions of people. The second would be that David today would not be who he was without the problems he went through in the 90s - a very dark and sad period, but he learned a lot about life and love and has been a better person for it ever since.

The clock: Tying in with the metaphors of time and life. It's set to 1:01 (101 being a significant moment of his career) but you cant really see it since his head is there.

Anyway, that's it! You get major props if you read all this (and don't think worse of me for it)!


Copyright Usaku/Leliel 2009.
Copic Marker, Sakura Micron, Adobe Illustrator, Gelly Roll white
Pose borrowed from a photo by Tara Salt. Yes, I stripped him of his vest. >
Add a Comment:
IDAlizes Featured By Owner Jun 16, 2014
Stunning !  I post it on…
the--Ogre Featured By Owner Feb 6, 2011
super awesome
gaspare Featured By Owner Feb 6, 2011
very very nice I always love Art Nouveau style and execution of this style are very good i this piece and of course rendering are very nice good gradient :)
jentajenta Featured By Owner Feb 6, 2011
You really put a lot of thought into it and it shows. Thanks for the explanation, it totally changed the way I was looking at your drawing. The colors you used work so well. Great work!
missleliel Featured By Owner Feb 6, 2011  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Thank you! I'm always happy when people read my descriptions when they are meaningful. :)
dana-redde Featured By Owner Jan 22, 2011  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Thanks for explaining all the meaning--I didn't know any of that stuff about him! Really interesting, and it adds extra oomph to your picture. Nice work with the art deco elements, too! So smooth and pretty!
You should show this to him :)
missleliel Featured By Owner Jan 22, 2011  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Haha, I'd feel like a total dork showing this to him! XD
Hitmann29 Featured By Owner Jan 20, 2011
holly shit :jawdrop: can i have it in a bigger size ?
missleliel Featured By Owner Jan 20, 2011  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
I've considered putting up prints! :)
ValGravel Featured By Owner Jan 21, 2011  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I second that idea! The first time you put this up, I wanted it printed in a bigger version. I would proudly display this next to my big laminated "Touring the Angel" poster.
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Submitted on
January 8, 2011
Image Size
85.9 KB


21 (who?)