Making of Solipsistic Artwork – Part 2

The first part of this series Making of Solipsistic Artwork part 1 was published earlier in February. But now is the perfect time to publish part 2 because just yesterday, Saad Fanari the Solipsistic artwork designer published a beautifully illustrated article on Behance to tell the story behind this magical creation, and shed some light on the concept.

Solipsism is the extreme form of skepticism which denies the possibility of any knowledge other than of one’s own existence. People experiencing solipsism syndrome feel that the world is not ‘real’ in the sense of being external to their own minds.

Different sections from the Solipsistic Artwork
Different sections from the Solipsistic Artwork

According to the sign post, if we go forward down Amnesia Avenue, the buildings are nearly completed, the street is popping with life on many levels, we can even see a couple of newly weds are running across the street, but a small party of construction workers are blocking half of the road, mending and reshaping our worlds, refining our overall steps towards the future, the way we dress or talk or even think.

Redemption Road: To the left we see an apartment building, an asylum, Sane Asylum, a reference to all who had cracked, fallen, traumatized, suffered or simply couldn’t cope with the rules that govern our many lives. The kids on the floor drawing and writing are a reference to the state the mind remembers most during such crisis; one’s childhood. And even among the kids, a small boy keeps to himself in silence and solitude, to maintain the fact that alienation can begin in childhood, and the fascination of an early troubled mind with flight or birds..

Rivendell: The kingdom of the Elves, immortal, wisest, and the fairest of all beings.. The street or square on the right is complete, though the buildings surrounding it are still with empty fronts. Immortality would seem as the counter part to Insanity, from an alienated point of view. So the whole concept is revealed (once u take the CD out) with Time and the dead tree, a tree nevertheless that has apples scattered around it. Time governs all, from stone to flesh, all are infected with Time, and though we can’t remove it, stop it, or even try to think without it, we are forever helpless against it.

Solipsistic CD Tray with the CD off and on
Solipsistic CD Tray with the CD off and on


Making of Solipsistic Artwork – part 1

I want to write about the album cover and answer some questions, who, how, why?

The album cover and artwork of Solipsistic was designed by my good friend Saad Fanari. Saad is an amazing artist, I met Saad at a record store back when I was in Aleppo – Syria, and the first thing I learned about him is that he’s a huge Iron Maiden and Pink Floyd fan, he’s very friendly, funny guy, fun to be with and he’s very passionate about art. I have shared the most exciting trip of my life (so far) with Saad, when we took the bus to Istanbul back in 2002 to see Dream Theater perform live for the first time during their World Tourbulence tour.

Solipsistic - making of the cover
A girl walking down a pathway in a corn field, with the sky in the background as a wallpaper.

When I moved away from Syria, I’ve been disconnected from a lot of my friends, but thanks to Facebook I’m back in touch with them again. Last year Saad launched a website showing most of his work, my first impression when I visited his site was a mix of shock, excitement, nostalgia and goosebumps! I never knew he had such hidden talent. At the time I was in the middle of composing and recording the album, so I immediately asked if he’d like to create the album cover for my project, of course he was thrilled to help.

I had a couple of ideas in my mind for the cover, but before I revealed my ideas I asked Saad to create something related to solipsism as it was going to be the main theme. He came back with a few designs that I really liked a lot, but they were missing something, the “album cover” element.

Solipsistic - making of the cover
A man fishing in the desert
Solipsistic - making of the cover
A very “Falling into Infinity” like design.

So we went back and forth working on different versions and new ideas until I spilled the beans and sent him some sketches I made of the ideas I had in mind. One of them showed an embryo in the mother’s womb, inspired by the classic Stanley Kubrick movie A Space Odyssey: 2001.the fetus doesn’t have an umbilical cord on the blue planet and the universe in the background, all inside a human brain. Unfortunately Saad couldn’t recreate this idea since he had already created a similar cover for another book that was going to be released soon.

Solipsistic - making of the cover
The Embryo without an umbilical cord on the blue planet inside a human brain.

So we had to move to my second idea which showed a person walking down the street. From this person’s point of view everything looked normal, the buildings the trees the people on the street, but from the viewer’s side you’d see that all the buildings are nothing but facades, the people have winding keys on their backs as if they were some kind of automatons, crew working in the far background taking down some buildings and erecting new ones, in short everything else is fake.
So Saad agreed to build on this idea and he did some modifications and added a lot of new elements and tiny details with hidden nuggets (easter eggs) which is something I love about releases and covers.

Maybe I should make another post in the future, illustrating the creation process of the final cover design, as it took us a few weeks to bring it to its final state.

Read Making of Solipsistic Artwork – part 2