Artwork and artist’s statement by Talyah Livanes.
This piece was originally published in ‘Memento Mori’, Bossy’s 2021 print edition.
About the Artist
Freelance artist and designer Talyah Livanes explores dark, intricate, and sensual elements within her digital illustrations of various fantasy portraits. Although undertaking a Bachelor of Design at the ANU School of Art and Design, Talyah invests time into developing and visualising these characters that are an expression of her own desires and self-discovery. Talyah’s portfolio showcases her style of utilising vibrant colours and careful composition to draw attention to the focus points within a piece and also help the viewer explore any creative elements that can be found amongst the linework. Through this, viewers are able to pick up on certain aspects that represent Talyah’s interests with ease.
Angel of Death is a contemporary art nouveau digital illustration of a seraphim angel, notable by the six wings rather than the usual two. The character is a stark contrast to how angels are often depicted and that represents growing darkness behind the character itself. Surrounded by vibrant bloody red tones, broken earth, and hellish/religious imagery, it becomes clear that the angel is corrupted, and her vacant eyes communicate how she is also lost to this macabre reality that she resides within.
The six wings extend and wrap around the angel’s body, visually representing how she is comfortable within her own form and confident with her existing state. The double-ended scythe is an exaggerated version of the farming scythe typically depicted on images of the grim reaper, the original Angel of Death. This careful imagery conveys how the angel has taken up a role that would otherwise be looked down upon, and instead showcases how she embraces the position, as well as the brutal consequences that come with it.
The intent of the piece is to communicate how one can be masked by their outward-facing appearance. Inside, there is an eternal struggle with having to conduct themself in a way that matches that external appearance and what would normally be expected of them. The draping of cloth over the form is the temporary way in which one can display this conflicting demeanour and also depict a sensuality that would be often frowned upon and scrutinised. However, the angel embraces that risk of judgement and presents a front that is confident, harsh, and serene, which is then also supported by the red aura surrounding her form that expresses the power she portrays over embracing this darker and sexual immortal image.