ANIMAL’s feature Artist’s Notebook asks artists to show us their idea sketch next to a finished piece. This week, New York-based graffiti writer turned artist Chris “CYCLE” St. John shows off his space-themed voyage from doodle to painting.

CYCLE has showed in fine art galleries and produced murals around the country and most recently, had a piece had a design piece inducted into the permanent collection at the MoMA. See his current show at Weldon Arts in Brooklyn through December 6th.

I usually always carry a sketch book with me in my bag — a 7″ x 10″, because it’s large enough to fit a good size basic sketch in, but travels nicely. I pick them up at the art stores when I go to get supplies. This particular book is an odd one-off. I did a promotional painting for Disney XD awhile back and they sent me a package of items they used my artwork on. Since this notebook had my artwork on the front and back cover, I’ll decided to use it as my sketchbook for the month. So, that explains why there’s the Disney XD Logo on top and the paper is lined.

The first little sketch is on the back of an envelope. I must have been doodling someplace and liked the idea so I stapled it into the book.

The concept is based around a book I was reading at the time titled “Death by a Black Hole and Other Cosmic Quandaries” by Neil deGrasse Tyson. It’s a compilation of his essays for Natural History Magazine.

In the ”Death by a Black Hole” essay, Tyson describes the process by which you are pulled apart by the gravity of the Black Hole — “spaghettification.” At the top of the piece you can see a distressed face and orange spheres coming off it, the molecules being ripped apart as the objects are being sucked downwards the Black Hole.

The Green Arrows represent chaos. The “voice boxes” are how the Universe speaks to itself. The eye is how the Universe observes itself. The paining is a bit strange, but I took some artistic liberties.

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