June ’05 Installment: Surrealisme, Recut

Surréalisme Recut is a revisited version of the previous installment, Surréalisme. Building on a past idea rather than re-inventing it, Recut features a few cosmetic improvements, some creative changes and much higher resolution than previous version, but otherwise doesn't replace the past piece.

About "Surrealisme, Recut"

While I can't say I'm inventing creative masterpieces every month, coming up with new ideas for themes can be quite exhausting. Additionally, I've been wanting to slow things down for a while. Combine that with my wish for making some prints one day and the result is this "Recut" concept: re-render past imagery in higher resolution so that it is fit for prints.

The past "Surréalisme" came out very well and I was very satisfied. Revisiting it, I noticed some shortcuts, blunders and plain lazy aspects. Additionally, re-rendering in hi-res is not as easy as one might think. As such, I've made some changes—some necessary to achieve the double resolution (1280×500 » 2560×1000)—some to fix these minor flaws. The end result is 5 new pictures. Pictures 1 and 5 are very much the same as before, while 2-5 are somewhat different.

For those comparing the new version with the past version, here are some of the biggest changes:

  • Double resolution: 2560×1000 px.
  • New texture: cracked dried paint, rather than scratched stone as before.
  • All pictures are slightly more saturated.
  • Picture 1 features a small tree in the left side.
  • Picture 2 simplified and more brown in colours.
  • Picture 3 is quite different. It's now a dark brown starry night, and there's a different forest silhuette.
  • Picture 4 features more chalky colours, and a stopsign instead of a tree.
  • Picture 5 was difficult, because the forest tile was a pretty low res picture. Otherwise not much different.

The Significance of a Stopsign

Ever since I saw Twin Peaks, I've always wanted to use a stop sign in something I did. I can't say my reasons are any different than those of David Lynch—or at least how I interpret them.

When David Lynch shows a stopsign, it means exactly what it does when you see it in traffic. One direction is stopped, allowing a new direction to move. In Twin Peaks, this usually meant changing scenes from Dale's musings of damn good Cherry Pie, to disturbing imagery of some sort. In short: the stop sign meant something was about to change, rapidly.


This is the same music I used for the past Surr?alisme installment. As with all other music on Noscope, Kate Durkes is the master composer. Her CD is available for purchase, and it's worth the small price tag.

Revisiting, Recutting, Changing Past Artwork

It is always a topic of discussion. The question of whether it is okay to revisit past artwork to "improve" or change it surfaces from time to time. Mostly regarding heavyweights such as George Lucas changing his Star Wars films. My personal opinion is that as long as the new artwork does not replace the old piece, but both versions are readily available, it is up to each and every artist. Seeing as this is what I've just done, I'd love to hear your opinion.

Is it okay to revisit past artwork to change or improve? When is it okay? When is it not okay?

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7 thoughts on “June ’05 Installment: Surrealisme, Recut

  1. Joen –

    Wonderful update. A lot of emossion on these pieces, more so than evoked from most of your pieces I think (feel).

    Is it okay to revisit past artwork to change or improve? When is it okay? When is it not okay?


    How else will we challenge ourselves? As far as I’m concerned, the only person I am supposed to compare myself to is myself. If I happen across a piece of art or a design I previously did, chances are I’m not as crazy about it today as I was the day it was put together. That’s not bad at all. It means I’m growing. By revisiting past works we’re given opportunities to get a fresh look and taste on what we do.

    Great stuff man.



  2. Nice re-mix, Joen. I love the little fat tree on #3.

    I believe in revisiting past work from time to time – not that I’ve ever really done it myself. Revisiting work might just as well mean that you draw inspiration from what you’ve done before. And that’s not bad at all.

    What I do find a bit disturbing however, is that you’re going back to displaying your pieces in a ridiculously high resolution. Yes, I know we’ve been discussing this before, and yes, I know that you want to do some prints, but hey.. Shouldn’t you be able to view all of the image at once? Users don’t scroll. Users don’t change their screen res.

    🙂 Mr. Justified

  3. Steve,

    Always a pleasure. Thanks much.

    I definitely agree. Our greatest foe in life is our own potential. As such it is an absolute truth for me not to compare myself with others. That’s not saying it’s easy, but it’s saying that I’m thrilled you share this opinion.


    Thanks. It just hit me I keep saying “surround yourself with the best past artwork you made”. That’s of course up the same alley, inspiring yourself.

    As for your resolution thing, grbmlm argh. I know you’re right, and even worse: you know it too. The worst part is, it means I have to rethink the whole concept. I’ve always worried that visitors don’t see past image 1. Not touching the actual problem, I’ve figured it’d help if I tweaked the designs of the numbers in the top. Wrong of course. Back to the drawing board. (That said I’m so lazy it probably won’t happen in a while).

    As for resolution, I thought about scaling down, or even making some clever Flash scroller / scaler. In the end it would have just taken too much time to program. The right solution would have been to scale it down.

    I guess my final answer on the topic of resolution is this: Since it’s a remake, and not entirely new artwork, I want people to see the new detail.

  4. Very nice. I must admit that I didn’t really look at your installments before the Lemony Snickett inspired one (but then it didn’t work too well in Safari), but they are so cool. There is one thing bugging me, however, I’m on a laptop at 1024 × 768 resolution, and although I get the details I don’t get the overall feel of the pictures. It would be great if you could use flash to both have version which fit the screen and scaled down to show the whole thing, as well as a full resolution deal. Maybe with a button to change between the two.

    Great work, although the traffic light seems a bit out of place.

  5. Joen,

    Yep, of course I’m right 😉

    One of the most commonly used solutions (read: one of the best solutions) to the problem would be the most obvious one: Display an image at a reasonable size. Allow users to click the image to load a high-res version (maybe even in another window).

    Just as much as I like to adore the tedious details of your pieces, I would like to be able to get the big picture so to speak. If I was in your shoes I would want Jonas Rabbe to be able to enjoy the full composition on his 1024 X 768 laptop…

    – And what’s good about the traffic light, is exactly that it’s out of place 🙂

  6. Somehow I must have missed the original surrealisme, so this was the first time seeing these images for me.And I must say this is one of my favorites. I love how if I let my eyes blur a little when looking at it I can imagine myself standing on some quiet, lonely, barren, partially deforrested alien planet. Truly great stuff. Beautiful.

    My mind was in some sort of a sci-fi world on the way to work this morning and seeing that just topped it off. 🙂

  7. really nice work joen 🙂 i just wish i could save these to put on my desktop wallpaper.

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