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Why Starlight?

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So, why a “Starlight” Journal? What is it about starlight that is so important? Like everything in this journal, the name is not an accident.Yes, it’s pretty and enchanting, but it’s also more intentional than that. And yet, it is intentional in ways that I’ve only come to realize well after I named the project. Originally, it just sounded right. Even more strangely, I later discovered the meaning behind the name I had already chosen as a result of things having (I thought) nothing at all to do with this project...the universe works in mysterious ways, my friends.

Back to the original question- what is it that is so important about the stars? That turns out to be a more complicated question than it first appears. It’s bigger on the inside.

For one, there’s not a human being alive who can lay outside, stare up at the blanket of glittering stars dotting the void in front of them, and not feel awe in the original sense of the word.

Awe-struck, that is. Inspired, energized, impossibly insignificant and tiny compared to the vastness of the universe, and yet simultaneously meaningful and oh so ALIVE. It’s a transcendent experience; a universally transcendent experience, in fact.

“And when you gaze long into an abyss, the abyss also looks into you.” -Friedrich Nietzsche


This Nietzsche quote comes with a lot of speculation as to its meaning. One possible and popular interpretation is that you become what you focus on, which is true. He’s probably talking about the metaphorical or psychological abyss here, but I think the same holds true when you gaze at the literal abyss- the open expanse of stars in the sky. You become that vast and inspiring universe. Or rather, you realize that you already are. The chemical components that make up life on our planet, including the blood that runs through our veins, is only formed in a dying star. And stars at varying levels of decay are what you see when you look up on a clear night. You’re watching the glittering dance of the universe-- its continual growth and evolution and decay; a thing with which every one of us is inextricably linked. We ARE the universe in ecstatic motion. Every one of us. We are the ecstatic dance of ancient stardust, looking up and focusing on the void and realizing that we are continually becoming, and already are, ancient stardust ourselves.

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When you gaze upon the glittering night sky, you at once realize just how small you are compared to the expansive abyss above. At the same time you also realize that you, the tiny individual, are both made of and a part of the whole that is this vast and powerful universe, literally and metaphorically. If you gaze too long at the universe, I think you become one with it-- or maybe more accurately, you realize that you always were one in being. And that is both a powerful and humbling experience. Which, really, I believe everyone should experience as regularly as possible. So the stars are immeasurably important for facilitating this sort of transcendent experience. Gazing at the stars makes us better humans.

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And then there is the light. Everything always comes back to the light--the name of my business, the name of this journal, even the name of my chosen medium (“photography” means “light writing”).  

It might seem a bit strange at first for the focus of a very dark, nocturnal adventure to be the light. But it’s true. You need the darkest dark in fact, the places with the least light pollution, to see the most light in the sky. Darkness and light are two sides of the same coin: darkness is only scientifically the absence of light, in a physical sense. So, in a way, of course you need to go through the darkest dark to find the metaphorical light within yourself as well. You need the darkness because without it there is no true light. The hero is always born at the height of chaos in the story, because the chaos and darkness is what creates the conditions that require a hero, or light, in the first place. This is why we celebrate Christmas, the birth of the ultimate hero, at the winter solstice. Because the hero is always born at the height of darkness. And this is where the theories on that Nietzsche quote can get really interesting, because right before he says “when you gaze long into an abyss, the abyss also looks into you” is a line about monsters- a warning not to become the monster you seek to destroy.

Metaphorically speaking, Nietzsche’s abyss is most likely our own darkness. And in many ways, we do have to face our own darkness; descend into our own darkness, and ultimately overcome it, in order to truly find and embody our own light.  

Light is always the highest good. The light illuminates- both literally and figuratively, and that is good. God said “Let there be light,” and it was good.  Because knowledge is what allows us to grow figuratively, and light from the sun creates heat and life and physical growth. Fire and light further are tools that humans have mastered to allow us to advance knowledge and technology in unprecedented ways. You can literally learn more if you have candlelight (or electricity) that allows you to spend more time reading and learning.

Just like physical darkness is the absence of light (and in a way, vis versa), and so one cannot exist without the other, good and evil (the human capacity for darkness and light) must also exist as two sides of the same coin. In order to have the highest good, we must also necessarily have the lowest evil. One cannot exist without the other.

Furthermore, in order to ensure that we are choosing the light, we must first face the darkness. We must acknowledge that the darkness is an equal option. Otherwise it’s not a choice, it’s a default.  And we cannot take credit for a default. We must gaze into the abyss of our own darkness, and instead of letting it consume us, instead of becoming the monster we seek to destroy, we must choose to focus on the lights that dot the abyss like stars. Because if we focus on the light, we become the light.

Maybe there is something to the act of gazing at the stars that physically mimics the metaphorical, and so we feel that awe and power resonate in our souls when we stargaze-- for the beauty is almost always terrifying, too. The terror of space and darkness could just as easily consume us if we let it. And yet, laying on blankets and gazing up, surrounded by the darkest night we can find, we do not look in fear at the empty blackness of space. Instead, we look to the light of the stars. And we delight in their light.

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For it is always the light of the stars that guides us along. In terms of movement and navigation, the stars have always been the guide, shining like beacons in the night. Their light orients sailors, and guides them along their way. If you are lost, whether in a forest or at sea, or even just within your own soul, the thing to do is always to look to the heavens- look to the familiar and steady lights in the sky, orient yourself, and follow them home.


Since ancient times, we humans have always looked to the steadfast stars glittering above us to light our way in a real and literal sense. But even as we evolve our technology, and the light of our cities drowns the light of the stars, there is still a significant but metaphorical way that we use the stars as guides: we wish on them.


It sounds fanciful- the stuff of fairy tales. But fairy tales are usually true in profound ways. A wish on a star is more than a delivery order to heaven. A wish on a star is in fact the embodiment of finding the highest physical light (which represents the highest metaphorical good, because lightness IS always goodness), orienting ourselves towards that highest good, and following it home. Once you name the highest good you can imagine in your wish, then you have your orienting point, and your guiding light. It is only once you determine where you’re going that you can determine how to get there. So, we wish on stars. We pronounce our destination to the universe, and then we use that wish to guide us to it, just like sailors following the stars home. And that is no more an accident than the name of the Starlight Journal.

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Get your copy of the journal here, and let this starlight help to guide you to your highest good.


This month’s shop release is also my favorite line from this article, so if it resonates with you especially, grab that line on a print, mug, tshirt, or other home decor item here. And as a bonus, get the design on the back of the Starlight Journal, which for me so embodies the importance of following the light, in the shop as well.

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Thank you, as ever, for your support and interest in this blog, my creative musings, and my creative work. If you’d like to support this blog, consider grabbing a product from the shop like the Ancient Stardust or the I Create Myself pieces featured today, or consider supporting my creative work in general on Patreon. Learn more about that here.

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The Sign Said "Welcome to Tell City...."

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The Craigslist post said “Artist Wanted for Book Poster Design.”

It was 2013. I had just moved to Indianapolis by myself. I had just signed a lease on a new apartment. I had just lost my job. I had just put together that my love of books and my love of making art could be combined in book design. I had just read a fantasy book (The Night Circus, by Erin Morgenstern. 10/10 would definitely recommend!) that had reawakened my creative spirit in the midst of all the massive chaos and fearful uncertainty that had been my life for over a year. And the ad for the book poster design had likened the book currently being written and in need of advertising to Neil Gaiman, whose books I adore.

I responded to the ad. I believe I mentioned my love of Gaiman. The author and I went back and forth for a bit and decided to meet up at the local Noble Coffee & Tea. I had no idea what to expect. I had no idea that I was about to meet my best friend.

The first ever sketch from 2013 of a  Tell City  cover.

The first ever sketch from 2013 of a Tell City cover.

We met up in August. I remember we had chai tea lattes (Noble Coffee & Tea has the best chai tea lattes!), and we sat outside and talked about our mutual love for Neil Gaiman, among other things. Kay told me about her book, which still only had 4 chapters written, and she didn’t know yet where the story was even going for sure, and I told her about my art. She told me about how she was trying to be smart about it, trying to get ahead of the marketing and build an audience for her first novel as she wrote, so that when it was finished there would already be people eagerly awaiting its release. So she was planning a book reading at Indy Reads Books, and needed posters designed to advertise the reading. I had my sketchbook with me, and by the time our meeting was through, I had sketched out a rough design for both a book cover and for posters. I think we were good friends from that instant on.

To complete the circle and start another one, in March of 2018, Kay and I took a road trip to Cleveland, Ohio, to see Neil Gaiman speak live. (!!!!!!) By then she was already writing her next book, and the Cleveland trip was actually a strange but brand new return to our normal method of writing and making art. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

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Some of the best moments from the Cleveland trip-including a horrendous quality but amazing photo of Neil himself, and two of my favorite ever photos of Kay.

Some of the best moments from the Cleveland trip-including a horrendous quality but amazing photo of Neil himself, and two of my favorite ever photos of Kay.

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So back in 2013, we designed the posters. The design included an apple that had written on it “One Sacrifice Away;” a line from the book that we both loved. We did a photoshoot at her house to get an image of that apple. It also featured her leather journal that she sometimes wrote in. And while we were making the fake apple, Kay had the brilliant idea to make everyone who was coming to the reading their own fake apple with the prophetic words. So we made a whole bushel of apples. And we made bookmarks. And we stayed up until stupid late hours at my apartment and at Kinkos getting everything prepped for the book reading. And then when she sat on stage and read from her book, I and all of the other attendees fell in love with the story of Charles D Garrett and his prophetic dreams….

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Over the next three years, Kay and I would get together whenever our schedules allowed for “Art Retreat Days,” which basically just meant her writing Tell City, and me working on whatever painting or photo editing or other creative project that I was currently working on. Often while I worked on my project, Kay would read aloud to me the latest in the adventures of Charles and his quest to Tell City. It was simply magical.

One year (I think it would have been 2014), Kay had just happened to have been planning a “Tell City Reading get together” by coincidence on the evening of my birthday. I honestly couldn’t think of a better way to spend my birthday than that, so Veronica, Harrison, and I grabbed wine and cupcakes from the grocery store and headed to Kay’s house in Speedway. A small group of us gathered around her living room and fire pit, and took turns reading from the half completed manuscript. I’ve never experienced a party like it before. Everyone was in rapt, attentive silence. This book is just that mesmerizing. That memory is quite possibly my very favorite birthday evening ever.

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In the fall of 2016, the first draft of the novel was, unbelievably, done. Meanwhile several people had been telling me that they had just gone to Savannah, Georgia, and that I needed to go because I would love it. My birthday was coming up. I wanted to go on a road trip. Kay and I had been on a couple of short midwestern road trips at that point. And Kay had an entire novel to read through and edit, a task in which I was eager to participate. So we wrapped it all up into one jam packed extended weekend trip. We left from her house at 3 in the morning, drove to the middle of nowhere Indiana and paused to take photos of the stars, and then continued on our 18 hour drive to Savannah. Whoever was not driving was reading aloud and making notes in the printed manuscript. One day I’ll write a post about that trip alone, because we did SO much that it would be egregious to detail it all right now. But suffice it to say that it was a lovely, adventurous, magical trip. The city of Savannah definitely has my heart. And I learned that the combination of reading/editing and traveling/exploring new places is perhaps my very favorite thing. The second night we were there it rained, so instead of shooting more astrophotography in the purple area of the map that we had passed through on our way into Savannah the night before, we stayed in the Airbnb camper, and we spent hours meticulously crafting beautiful scenes in Tell City about poison and a falling coffee cup.

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About 6 months later we did another weekend Airbnb retreat, this time with Kay’s sister as well, and this time in Indianapolis instead of an actual road trip. Basically, we holed ourselves up in a nice place for a weekend and just went through the novel again from start to (almost) finish. And while we did that, I painted.

Sufficiently edited, Kay began querying agents and publishers, hoping that someone would pick up Tell City, and I turned my attention to other creative pursuits, one of which eventually became The Starlight Journal. By March of last year, Kay had decided to self publish, a tough decision which I ultimately loved because I saw it put the spring back in her step. Where she had been worn down and discouraged after months of rejections, suddenly she was reinvigorated.

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So we set about turning a google doc novel into a physical book. Now, I had had a sketch in my sketchbook from almost immediately after we did the first cover/poster design project, of a much more elaborate cover for Tell City involving the same cover apple floating in a flooded main street, one that I always envisioned as the actual Tell City, Indiana. We had tried a time or two over the years to at least take the underwater photograph needed of the apple, but for one roadblock or another we had never made it happen. And since publishing houses almost always insist on using in house or their own designers, there was never much need to create a true cover. Until now. So I dusted off my years old sketch book and found that original sketch, and then we went on a trip that ultimately improved upon the concept in ways we hadn’t even imagined.

The most recent sketch of the  Tell City  cover spread.

The most recent sketch of the Tell City cover spread.

For this cover design we needed: An underwater photograph of the apple, and images of the “skyline” such as it was of the actual Tell City. We had also been talking about taking a trip to Tell City just in general anyways, because I had never seen the real town, and because somehow along the way, Kay and I became adventure partners; and clearly this was an adventure we needed to have. And, well, boy did we.

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After a trying round of dueling schedules, we finally settled on the last weekend of June as our available time to make the trip to Tell City. We planned to set off late at night on the Friday, and arrive in the wee hours of the morning and check in at the same hotel that Charles does when he first drifts into Tell City in the book. This we did, driving through the winding back country roads of Indiana in the foggy dead of night. We saw/almost hit I think at least 4 different animals on the road, which Kay took to be a good omen, since the animal spirits in the novel also frequent Charles’s path.

You know what they say about the best laid plans, though… when we arrived at 3am at the Day’s Inn, we discovered two things. One, it was no longer the Day’s Inn, now it was called the Knight’s Inn (oh, irony), and two, the front office was most definitely closed. We could not check in. So we scrambled on our phones to find another open hotel, and wound up in one high on a hilltop overlooking a good part of the highway and some neighborhoods. Southern Indiana is gloriously hilly. As an added bonus, this hotel had a pool, which was just what we needed for our second part of the photoshoot. Finally settled we collapsed into bed and slept a few hours.

The next morning, we formed our game plan over complimentary hotel breakfast and coffee: first we would go into the town proper and just explore to get the lay of the land, and have lunch at a local place. Then we would come back to the hotel in the afternoon and do the pool photoshoot to get the underwater photo of the apple. Then we would have dinner and at dusk head around to all the spots in the city we wanted to photograph for the cover “skyline” shots. We had a lot of fun exploring the main street shops local eclectic houses, the water tower that is infamous in the book, and the flood wall and river park. It was especially fun assigning different locations as “Amanda’s house” or “Desiree’s shop,” places that are featured in the book. The book’s geography is based on the real Tell City, but necessarily takes some liberties and plays with the topography a bit. But even so, it was exciting to see the previously fictional place come to life, as it were. As we went we photographed “Steve the apple” (the original cover apple) on a tour of Tell City.

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In my sketch and in my head, I had always envisioned capturing the main street from a bit of a hill, but of course, when we got there, the actual main street was as flat as a corn field. So our skyline task for the day mostly involved traipsing the hills around the main street to find a sufficient vantage point that would look main street enough. We took lots of photos at many different vantage points and at a few different times. As dusk was falling and the deep purple blue of true night was settling in, we happened to be at the top of one of the hills, taking a long exposure shot down that hill towards the river, and for whatever reason I happened to look up. I was immediately astonished. I have always lived in proper cities, and Indiana especially has very bad light pollution in most of the state, so other than our brief drive to Savannah in 2016 (during which we regrettably did not stop for pictures!), I had never seen so many stars. But what was more, it was a perfectly clear night. So I pointed up to show Kay, and also pulled out my phone to check my Dark Skies app and see if we were currently actually in the purple. (Quick side note- I have an app that maps the whole world based on light pollution. Almost all of Indiana and the east coast is level green or higher, which means you barely see any stars. Purple is the next step down, and is the only place you can even hope to get to without going truly out west. So “take star photos in the purple” has been on my literal bucket/goals list for several years, and every time I tried up until this point, it had rained.) We were not in the purple, but I quickly noticed that just on the other side of the Ohio River, right across the border in Kentucky, was a small splotch of purple map. I imagine that the look on my face said it all, as I turned to Kay to ask if we could go. She laughed at my giddy childlike enthusiasm and agreed of course, even though it was already almost 11pm and we were both exhausted.

So we packed up the car, stopped at a gas station for snacks and caffeine, and just before midnight, headed across the Ohio into Kentucky….right into a thunderous rainstorm.

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Now, I have had a few treacherous drives in my life. And driving through unknown narrow roads in the rolling hills of Kentucky after midnight in a torrential downpour is not THE most terrifying drive I’ve ever done….but it’s in the top 5. It got so bad at one point that we had to pull of the road into a farmhouse driveway just because it was raining so hard we couldn’t even see the road. At this point we also pulled up radar and maps and tried to determine if it was even worth it to keep going or if once again, my efforts to photograph the stars in purple were to be thwarted by unceasing rain.

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We eventually and optimistically decided that, well, we’d already come this far. And it looked like the storm was actually not going to be over our final destination. And the torrent was easing so that we could see again. So we got back on the road. Luckily we had passed through the worst of the storm and the rain and clouds got lighter and lighter as we drove to our destination- a random strip of road in the Kentucky almost mountains. We finally pulled over and stepped out of the car and looked up…to see mostly clouds still obscuring the bulk of the stars, and a very very bright moon that we hadn’t considered. It was disheartening, but we had come this far. And it was still pretty enough, and I had some fun light props with me, so we figured what the hell, we could still get some interesting shots, even if they weren’t milky way photos.

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So we did that, Kay manning the camera button and I dancing with silk fans and flashlights and glow sticks in front of the long shutter and under the bright light of the moon. Those photos are definitely magical, but the true magic was yet to come. After a relatively short time, we noticed that the clouds were starting to dissipate, and we could definitely see more of the stars. Trying to determine the best viewing spot, Kay laid down in the middle of the road at one point and pointed up. “The milky way!” She exclaimed. Sure enough, there it was, beautiful and bright. A bit too bright, with the moon shining directly at us, but we took what photos we could anyways. Eventually the animals in the nearby forest started making enough noise to spook us, so we nervously packed the car back up and headed back out to the main road.

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At the main road we pulled off onto a gravel side…spot? Parking lot? Shoulder? Honestly I don’t know. It was the perfect spot to pull of the road though, and I wanted to try one other thing while we were there. This part of the road and this spot of gravel was in the shadow of the mountain and thus hidden from the moon. So I wanted to see if that changed the pictures any. Plus it was not so close to the forest. So we brought out the setup one more time and got some truly stunning milky way photos. (To me at least!)

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Then, as we were shooting the milky way, we noticed that to the north in the distance were more storm clouds. Far enough away to not be a concern. But close enough to see the lightning flashing among the mountains. So we turned the camera towards the storm, and waited for another flash of lightning… And waited, and waited...

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At one point one of us jokingly said a prayer to Thor, god of Thunder. Then Kay implored Loki and strangely enough, just as she did, there was one quick flash in the distance. Almost like they were laughing at us. I missed it on the camera (mostly because I hadn’t expected it to work!), but it gave me an idea. I pulled out my phone, and through the glorious wonder of the internet, played AC/DC’s “Thunderstruck” on Youtube. To our utter delight and amazement, the first time the band says “Thunder,” the lightning flashed, and this time I was waiting for it. We danced and laughed and sang the whole song, taking photos of the lightning in the distance all the while. At the end of the song, figuring that it really didn’t get any better than that, and noticing both the hour and the mist starting to roll into the valley we were in, we finally called it a night and headed back towards Tell City and our hotel. We slept in late the next morning and, having gotten everything we came for and much much more, we finally headed for home.

I created the cover for Tell City from the photos we got that day, including the milky way shots and the storm, then we turned to the interior and all of the other marketing and planning efforts to launch a brand new book.

Seven months later and the physical books are out in the world, generating posts on social media from old friends and new fans alike. It’s strange but wonderful seeing the cover artwork, and the book, which is not only a truly wonderful and magical story itself, but which has so much magic wrapped up in the creation of it, and which is so dear to my heart, going out and making its own way in the world.

Wandering, if you will. As must we all.

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To read the enchanting novel, Tell City, by Kaylin R Boyd, and thus support both an independent artist and an independent author, click here. To learn more about Kaylin R Boyd, click here.

To support this blog, share this post with other book loving friends, and consider becoming a supporter on Patreon. Learn more about that here.

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P.S. Some behind the scenes shots from the underwater shoot that just didn’t fit anywhere else in this narrative….<3

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What to Expect from Lusicovi Creative

Dear Creatives,

If you’ve been following along on my social media at all (or even talked to me in person recently), you probably have gotten a general idea of what I’ve been up to and what’s coming down the line. But, for the sake of clarity, I wanted to write up a quick outline of the things currently going on at Lusicovi Creative, and also what to expect over the next year. We have a lot of awesome projects we are cooking up here, so bear with me on the length of this post. It might be a little longer than usual.

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First off, you really have to have been living under a rock to not have heard of this yet (because I've been annoying everyone about it), but the Starlight Journal, is finished and now in production!! This has been a project that I have been working on for YEARS, and I’m so proud of how it is turning out and I cannot wait to share it with you! There have been a lot of setbacks along the way, and honestly this is not at all the product I thought I was making when I started. But it’s so much better. Pre-Orders launch at an extra special discounted price (for the first 150 copies only) on August 1st (that's this Wednesday!) And the copies and official launch (including a glittering launch party) will be early November! So, for the next couple of months especially, as we go into launch mode, Lusicovi Creative is going to be almost all Starlight all the time! But, it’s going to be wonderful!  I won’t talk much more about that here, because we’re going to talk your ears off about it in the coming weeks, but I will end with this excerpt from the back cover:

The world is made of the dust of ancient stars, and we humans have always looked to the stars to guide us home. Like the stars, the Starlight Journal is both a guiding light and a source of wonder for creatives seeking balance.

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Secondly, I’ve already started working on this project preliminarily, but it has been mostly on the back burner since it’s inception almost a year ago. This project is also a book project, and is a collaborative, unique project that I am also really excited about and anxious to get back to! This book will be called Into the Sea: Fairytales of Atlantis, and it is a curation of artwork and stories that collectively explore the question: what if the story of Atlantis was a princess fairytale story? The submissions that we have gotten already are blowing us away, frankly, and this book is going to be truly beautiful. It is definitely still in the collaboration and art creation stage. So if you are a writer or artist (or you know a writer or artist) and would like to get in on this group creativity action- send me an email at fairytalesofatlantis@gmail.com, and we will be sure to get you included! The current plan is to create a group and be really active in there in September, into next Spring, and then final deadlines for submissions will be next Spring, so that next Summer we can launch a kickstarter to fund the printing of this beautiful book.  

 

Starting in August, I will be re-launching my society6 shop, in an effort to focus more on my artwork. This will be a way to achieve three exciting things! One, to make my artwork available and affordable. Two, to keep me generating new artwork and products continually (we will launch one new design per month from September onward!). And three, to give all you marvelous creatives and supporters a way to adorn your lives with some great boho and literary beauty! So look out for those shop updates every month starting in August, and if there is a particular piece I’ve done or that you want to see done and up in the shop, definitely drop me a line and let me know!

 

Another way that I’m pivoting to focus more on artwork is by focussing my business more on book cover designs than anything else. Because I am such a bookworm, and my artwork has always been pretty literary inspired anyways, this is the perfect way to combine all of the things I love to do. So, as such I will be collaborating with authors, particularly self publishing fantasy authors, not just as their book cover designer, but as general support as well. The reason I design book covers is because I want to tell the story in enchanting visual ways, and my aim will always be to work with storytellers to truly capture the story within, entice readers to pick up and buy the books, and therefore help my authors realize their dreams of publishing successful books. So you can expect to see a lot more talk of upcoming books from me in the future! (Pssst: the first one will be Tell City, by a very dear friend of mine, Kaylin R Boyd. We just finished the cover for Tell City this summer, and the cover reveal is scheduled for mid August, so stay tuned, especially if you like urban fantasy or anything at all by Neil Gaiman!)

As a super sneak peek, here is one of the images we shot for the cover of  Tell City. &nbsp;

As a super sneak peek, here is one of the images we shot for the cover of Tell City. 

 

With all of these big changes and exciting projects coming down the pipeline, you can also expect a lot more consistency from me in updates. I’ve obviously launched a blog, and while the blog posts over the next couple of months will be quite frequent as we really explain everything that the Starlight Journal has to offer, even after November, expect at least one monthly email update with the shop update, recent blog posts, and other fun behind the scenes news!  

Finally, though these are still long off dreams, I do want to mention two really big projects that are in the works for the future of Lusicovi Creative. One is the next book project after Atlantis, which will be an illustrated (with underwater photography + painting and montage) and re-imagined and re-written version of the classic The Little Mermaid by Hans Christian Andersen. The second is even bigger in scope. But it will be a semi-annual magazine publication entitled The Starlight Emporium: Beautiful and Thoughtful Art and Stories. Combining many of the ideas and values of both the Starlight Journal and the Atlantis project, this will be a regular collection of beautiful and thoughtful art and stories that focus on anything curious, fantastic, and wonder-filled. There will be gorgeous photos and art, written poems, short stories, and articles that inspire, travel adventures, and featured artists, writers, and locations each time. There will also always be a featured “curiosity” article about anything interesting and related to a life of creative adventure (think health and wellness tips, financial talks, psychology, astronomy & other science, and ways to access creativity and divinity).

It will be for the curious, the adventurous, the thinkers, the dreamers, the magic makers, the ones aching for more creative connection. It will be physically printed, because there is just nothing like holding the physical art and words in your hands, or tearing out your favorite most inspiring pages and hanging them on your wall. And because, let’s face it, we all need to be better about getting off our screens and being grounded and in touch with actual wonder. It will be for anyone seeking wonder and connection in these frazzled, busy, exciting times of ours, and I cannot wait to get started on it. If you have any ideas for any art, stories, or creators and adventurers to feature, please email me at lusicovicreative@gmail.com and let me know about them!

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So friends, this where we are at. This is what I've been dreaming of lately.

This is what you should expect to see from me and Lusicovi Creative in the coming months and even years. I have to say, it feels really wonderful, grounded, and peaceful to have an actual plan more or less in place. Of course I expect for there to be curveballs and unexpected turns along the way. But overall I feel confident that this is basically the plan and trajectory. This is my mountain, as Neil Gaiman would say, and I’m very happy to be on the way there.

To follow along with this artistic business journey, and to support me and my art, make sure you are subscribed to my email newsletter here. I also humbly invite you to visit my Patreon page, and consider contributing whatever amount you are comfortable with to these projects. It would really mean the world to me. Especially if there is a project or piece that I mentioned in this email that you would like to see worked on and completed sooner rather than later, I urge you to support the project fiscally.

These projects are the things that light me up, the things that make my soul sing, and the things that make the hardships of life worth living through. So they are projects that I am always going to complete regardless. However, the biggest up in the air factor is always the timeline. The more time I have to devote to other jobs that drain my energy and soul, but allow me to pay rent and buy food, the less time and energy I have to devote to these projects, and therefore the longer it will take to see them realized. So if you believe that art is worthwhile, and that these projects are worth doing, please visit my Patreon here.   

All my love and light,

Elise

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Why Underwater?

“If there is magic on this planet, it is contained in water.” - Loren Einsley

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Water is magic, in a sense. It is literally life bringing, life sustaining, and -can be- life ending. Water is beauty, power, grace, flow, divinity, creation, destruction, patience, awesome, fearsome, the source of all life and the thing that sustains life as we know it here on earth. It is the key ingredient.

Because it is literally all these awe-inspiring things, it is easy to associate it with the divine, and to see it as magical and otherworldly.

It’s even easier to associate it with divine mysticism when we realize that the oceans are still mostly a deep, unknown, mystery. Dip beneath the waves and your vision is changed, your hearing is changed, your air is gone, and gravity and light behave differently. It is about as close to another world as we earthlings can physically get.

 

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It’s no small wonder then, that psychologically speaking, water is representative of the divine feminine- of chaos, creation, power, beauty, flow, and life. The parallels are so self evident that they are universal. Every human on any corner of the earth at any point in time inherently understands the power, magic, and divinity of water.

Perhaps because of this universality, or perhaps they are just to intrinsically linked to ever untangle which came first, but either way, psychologist Carl Jung identifies water as the collective universal subconscious. Water is the dream state. The unknown and unknowable but beautiful alien realm. And that’s no wonder either, since whether we are daydreaming of a day at the beach,  or fighting night terrors of floods in our basement, water is the stuff of dreams both wonderful and terrifying.

The subconscious is a place to sort out the things that we know but we don’t quite know we know, or don’t yet quite understand. Much like the process of making art, it is chaotic, mysterious, and when it’s wonderful, it flows magically.

underwater photography art composite

For all of these reasons (plus my own personal divine Moana-like calling to the sea), I cannot think of a better realm in which to explore my work than in the flowing, brilliant, mysterious, fantasy land of dreams, the subconscious, and the divine that is the underwater realm. A better marriage of subject matter and setting would be difficult even to dream up.

And besides, as everyone knows, if there’s magic on this earth, it is definitely contained in water.  

 

To support my creative journey into the waters of unknown and light, visit my Patreon. 

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Why My Art?

Dear Creative Soul,

Welcome, welcome dear brand new blog reader, to my own personal Neverland: Lusicovi Creative; here there be mermaids!

My name is Elise, and I am an Enchantment Photographer. Capturing wonder and creating enchantment is my specialty. I am a giant nerd and am fascinated by stories, the sea, the stars, and exploring questions like "why are we here?" and "what is the human condition?" and "why are we all still SO universally drawn to fairytales?"

My artwork is always literary inspired with a bohemian feel. I believe that both fantasy art and fantasy writing are incredibly important, because they allow us to explore very real problems in a safe space. Voldemort does not exist, but Hitler did. Evil Queens and step mothers don't (usually) exist, but surly bosses and prickly landlords do. And as CS Lewis once said, "Since it is so likely that they will meet cruel enemies, let them at least have heard of brave knights and heroic courage."

I have a lot of other people’s thoughts (and a few of my own) on the value of art in general (For more on that, read my first ever blog post here.), and that is all well and good. But still, a curious brain like mine, which is always asking “why everything” cannot be satisfied without also answering why this art in particular?

And the most honest answer is actually: I don’t know.

Or maybe, I don’t know yet.

Or maybe I do know already. Somewhere on some lower level that I cannot properly express. Because, in truth, the ideas just come to me, usually almost fully formed. And usually formed in ways that I don’t consciously understand how exactly to create them when I start out in the process of creating them.

I don’t always know where they come from, but I have noticed that they do usually come from other art, stories, and myths. They come from archetypes. Maybe, actually probably, in a lot of ways, they are themselves archetypes. The Pandora Series that I created as my college thesis certainly was archetypal. (Stay tuned to this blog for more on that later!)

Archetypal or not, they call to me to be created, like the sea calls to Moana. And just like her, the call isn’t out there at all, it’s inside me. I just have to trust that following the inspirations will bring me to where I need to be. And so far, they haven’t been wrong yet.

This is why, above all, I believe in the value of art to inspire and challenge us, children and adults alike, artists and viewers alike, readers and writers alike.

And I would like to think that my art, by exploring these big ideas about who we are as humans, why we do the things we do, and what amazing magical things we are capable of, can inspire others to re-examine what they think they know about the world and about themselves, and that together we can all learn and grow a little more.

I believe in spreading magic, beauty, love, & light, so that together we can inspire and empower the world, and I cannot do this work without your love and support. I appreciate more than words can say the support, the encouragement, and anyone who believes in this same mission, and I honor your part in allowing me to continue spreading this inspiring message and truly living my artistic life.  

To support my ever evolving artistic career, and to help me create the inspiring visions that come to me, please consider supporting me on Patreon, or check out how you can work with me as an artist or photographer here.

And of course, stay tuned to this blog (or subscribe to my email newsletter here) to see many more art pieces, and to read many more thoughts and musings about the value of art, the process of my art, magical stories, and many more exciting projects that I have in the works. If you have any feedback, I would love to hear it. Just send me an email at lusicovicreative@gmail.com.  


Love and light, always,

Elise

 

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