Chest 92; My grain goes all over the place

17 Oct




This picture was made whilst fretting in a hotel room in Auckland. We were flying over Queenstown in South Island, New Zealand when a storm turned us back, and we flew 90 minutes all the way back to Auckland where I was becalmed for 36 hours; trying to amuse myself, weather too blustery to go out. It was a stressful time and this shows in the final picture. I just looked again and I think it is quite busy, probably too much going on.

With these pictures there comes a time when anything you add or subtract alters it significantly in a way that changes the balance of colour and weight. One must either accept what is there or make major changes. With an oil painting a mistake can either be scraped back, or allowed to dry and re-painted. Water colours are not nearly so forgiving, once a brush is put to paper, you are committed to it and options for repair are limited. With any artwork there are stages in the evolution in which the image is complete, which is why some minimalist pictures, e.g. cartoons made with the least brush-strokes can look so good. If a single superfluous stroke is added, it gets too much and must be further worked until the next moment arises. And so it goes until the artist chooses the right moment to stop. We have all seen overworked pictures. Digital art is different in that it is infinitely changeable, particularly in a huge program like Photoshop. It is possible to throw in masses of information, remove it at will, manipulate it in a thousand different ways, each of which influences other components of the image. Too much choice is not always a good thing, and the discipline of making a clear decision before committing is good. I’m at that point of development where I can predict quite a few digital effects and use them knowledgably, however I still rely on serendipity to surprise and delight me. An image can pass through a hundred different phases in an instant – this makes choosing that final moment very difficult. If anything, it is harder than oil painting. But then in the mind game which is art I suppose both choices are different facets.

This image at first had photos of rock faces giving texture, lights in the dark, and many other structural forms added to see how they changed the format of the image. Some of those images were subsequently removed I wanted to achieve a different effect and changed them for photos of bush and cattle.

The man in the chest X-ray presented clinically with what appeared to be late onset migraine; flashing lights and a pounding headache. He became unconscious and on investigation a chest X-ray showed malignant metastatic deposits in the lungs. A CT scan of head showed more deposits in the brain, one of which had bled. In this picture I have included an arc of coloured spiky lights which simulate the aura of migraine. It is associated with characteristic distortion of visual field and double vision. The colour splashes are otherwise my own interpretation.

The title comes from a poignant poem by Rob Walker Against the grain which can be found at:




8 Responses to “Chest 92; My grain goes all over the place”

  1. dedepuppets October 17, 2013 at 4:29 pm #

    Pity to hear your Auckland experience wasn’t too good. I certainly can see the airport in your picture. 🙂

    • Xraypics October 17, 2013 at 6:06 pm #

      Thanks, I would have liked to spend more quality time there, but got to Q’town later the next day, weather freezing!!! but beautiful. What a lovely part of the world. T

      • dedepuppets October 17, 2013 at 6:34 pm #

        Auckland weather was beautiful today. But the South Island is certainly something… Cold weather and all 🙂

  2. leecleland October 18, 2013 at 8:19 pm #

    I enjoyed the story of the whys and hows of the picture as much as the image itself. Thank goodness for laptops and the ability to work where-ever we are, and I like the image and don’t think it too busy 🙂

  3. modernpatadyong November 1, 2013 at 2:11 am #

    great storytelling! your blog is a fascinating find. I thought about xray art before but never heed the calling. you’re def doing an awesome job!

    random share:

    • Xraypics November 1, 2013 at 8:33 am #

      Thankyou so much. I am convinced that the artist’s thoughts are as much of the art as the image, and like to tell the story behind it. I have looked at a lot of art associated with radiology/radiography and can’t get excited about simple X-rays of “found objects”, though there is no doubt that they reveal an inner aspect not ordinarily seen. I tend to treat a medical X-ray image as an object in it’s own right and include it with related images to make a whole. And – as you say, the picture tells a story. Thanks for following. Tony

    • Xraypics November 1, 2013 at 12:39 pm #

      Thankyou so much for your visit and kind words. I had a quick look at the Favela painting project and it looks awesome too. Wonderful idea and great thing to change the outlook of the neighbourhood. Congratulations. Tony


  1. against the grain at rob walker poet - October 22, 2013

    […] the title of a contemporary visual art piece “My grain goes all over the place” by Tony Lamont (here.) Tony says “I came across this by accident and it cut me to the chafe. I recently had to shave […]

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