Dom Qwek is best known for creating haunting and evocative sculptural art. His works span both digital and physical mediums. In this series, he explores emotions through surrealistic sculptural art and explores melancholy and the cycle of emotions associated with it.
Each piece of Broken captures a state of mind. They show a dissection of the human head along with faceless, limbless humanoids interacting within. These humanoids, also known as drones, are a hallmark of Qwek’s work and can be often found in his other pieces. They depict human nature at its basic instincts.
Broken 1 represents the feeling of emptiness. Two drones sit across each other on half a dissected head. The golden eyeballs are tethered in and out of these drones as they stare at each other with their hollow faces. This piece captures the emotional void and the lack of purpose that is often associated with melancholia.
Broken 2 represents self-blame and feelings of inadequacy. A hunched and defeated drone kneels on the top of the dissected head. Tendrils from the brain force the drone down and impale it. This captures the burden often felt by those who have a tendency towards self-blame and guilt. This in turn attracts mistreatment, as depicted by the impalement.
Broken 3 represents acceptance or the lack thereof. A drone is perched on top of a dissected brain. It’s insides are tethered to another drone variant, giving life to it. The juxtaposition of these two drones touches on one’s willingness to accept oneself. Failure to do could mark the start of a new cycle.
Qwek also created a 4th artwork, titled “Broken Parts”, to showcase these pieces linked together. The dissected head which can be clearly seen now, ties all 3 pieces holistically. It also shows the sequence of mental states starting from emptiness, to self-blame and lastly, acceptance.
Using 3D, Qwek was able to digitally sculpt these pieces and render them in realistic lighting. ZBrush was the main software used to craft each piece. The head and brain elements were sculpted in a more stylized manner, as opposed to the drones, which are more realistic looking. This helped create contrast in form and shape language.
The color palette across all pieces in the series was intentionally kept the same to create a defining look. The drones were made pale and wrinkly with subtle skin tones in contrast to the dissected head which has a hard concrete look to it. The brain elements were textured gold to denote an importance in the scene and often represent a key element in the scene. Finally, all 3 pieces are superimposed above a black liquid surface to add another layer of surrealism.
This series by Dom Qwek was done to create awareness towards mental health and the importance of shining a light on such subjects. It’s also an effort to eliminate any stigma towards mental health as it causes others to feel isolated or discriminated against. As we are able to openly discuss these issues more, the easier it is for recovery.