Flames of Confidence



The flames of confidence. They are what appeared upon my death. My death as an insecure person, desperately trying to disappear with the crowd around me. My death as as the one who had to face the reality of their true passions for other men. My death as someone who believed there was only one way to be in a relationship. These very flames transform me again and again. The first time I died one night in 2011, I was reborn into a man, now sure of his sexuality. The second time, I died in 2013, and was reborn into an experimental person, now accepting his feminine side and allowing it to be a part of his masculinity. The third time, I died as an amateur in my style, and was reborn with more secure tastes in clothing. With every “death” I go through, my rebirth brings me back stronger, with new viewpoints and abilities. I died not too long ago in 2017, and came back with a new view on relationships and how to better manage the dilemmas that are presented to me. Of course I can’t say what I’ve learned, considering that not everyone goes through the same situations. But if anyone were to speak to me about what they go through, they’d get similar, but not the same info. I modify it to their situation to avoid close-minded advice. But anywho, back to these flames. For this image, I got four different transparent images of the fire element. I took the original photo of me striking a pose mid air by setting my phone’s camera on timer, which automatically took burst pictures in order for me to pick out the best pose. I then kept the image the same, but added and positioned the fire images in a way that makes me look like I have fire wings spreading from my body.  added another ball-shaped flame over me to make it look like I’m about to make the flames burst all round me. I also used the fire ring image, increased its size, and positioned it around me to make it look like I’m causing a heatwave, which is a symbol of my confidence influencing others. Finally, I added the sunny filter to change the lighting of the entire piece so it looks more authentic. As usual, I put my personal symbol to let viewers know that I created the image. All of my transparent images were found on google images. From my point of view, the elements each represent a certain characteristic. I also see the elements more than just water, fire, earth and air. I see them as more specific kinds, as well as more varied kinds (because pokemon inspired me, so I see water, ice, steel, and electric as their own elements). The final piece is also inspired by Phoenix (Jean Grey), and the Phoenix five (Cyclops, Emma Frost, Magik, Colossus, and Namor). I found out about marvel characters such as these in 2014, and became inspired by their heroic art ever since. I’ve also always loved the idea of me being possessed by the cosmic flames known as the phoenix force, mostly because of the cool poses and abilities. My dash of heroic characteristics were inspired by marvel heroes and villains alike. The image I made can be loosely connected with my natural body heat, because I heat up fast and am more resistant to the cold than many people I know. And because I’m confident, it along with my warm body connects to the image I made as well. For my next post I want to play more with fire, and symbolize the consequences of too much confidence, giving myself a more “corrupt with power” image where I strike a pose that looks like I’m losing control while my flames run wild, hurting everyone around me. I’m not usually the overly cocky type, but I, like everyone else, have my days where I’m hyped up to the point where I have too much confidence.


Motivating Distraction

As the semester comes to an end, we scramble to complete our final assignments and study for our exams. Time seems to drag on as we hope for the days when our sleep patterns will return to normal. With one week left, the pressure seems infinite and our deadlines appear to be closing in on us. However, as we all know, appearances can be deceiving. As this is my last blog post of the semester, I’d like to dedicate it to all the Obscurians who can and will succeed. You got this!


In William Blake’s “Auguries of Innocence,” the speaker states, “to see a world in a grain of sand / and a heaven in a wild flower / hold infinity in the palm of your hand / and eternity in an hour.” This poem reminds me of all the different thoughts I have when I sit to do my homework.  I begin to fantasize about the beauty of the natural world and it becomes a welcome distraction of escape from homework. William Blake, however, used his observations of the world and his thoughts as inspiration for the poem above. With a little motivation, we can persevere and use our distractions as inspiration while we strive to finish the last few pages of that essay, or try to think of more effective ways to study. The speaker continues by stating, “the questioner who sits so sly / shall never know how to reply / he who replies to words of doubt / doth put the light of knowledge out.” Do not doubt yourself. You are in the final moments of the semester and you can succeed.


William Blake’s “Auguries of Innocence” reminds me to have faith in myself, and I hope that it will inspire all of you to have faith in yourselves. You have made it this far into the semester, and with just a few days left you have it in you to work hard, study hard, and successfully complete the Fall 2017 semester! Wishing you all the best of luck: until next time Obscurians!


~Arlinda Mulosmanaj

Cosmic Union


This is a manipulation I made out of pure imagination. When I make my art, I sometimes end up using transparent images that I never expected to become something else in the final product, and it turns out great in my eyes. I took the original photo of this woman and added a photo of a spacial sky with blue stars, a transparent image of black smoke, and a transparent image of a phoenix shaped outline. I used the space photo and changed its filter to the “Lighten” option for it to blend in with her, took the black smoke and used to to define her jaw, and used the phoenix outline, eraser the whole thing except the right wing, and positioned it on her left eye to give off that cosmic makeup illusion. I made this because I wanted to see what unlikely photos would create when united into one final piece.


These are the three images I just described. I enjoyed creating this photo because I am big on Unity and how different backgrounds cultures, and ways of life can come together to make a beautiful single entity. So doing this was, in a way, a representation of that idea. Three different photos come together to make a beautiful woman with cosmic make up, just like different people come together to make one new culture/idea/way of life. Also, the trident on the corner of the final piece is my personal symbol. I only place it on my photos if I actually made it. If it’s sharing someone else’s art, the symbol will not appear, and I’ll give credit to the artist.

Finding Balance: The Faun, the Shadow, and the Song

Whether we are chasing our dreams, running from our past, or looking for our futures, we are in constant movement through the unknown moments of life. Time is relative; it can ostensibly move quickly and make a day feel like an hour, or it can seemingly move slowly and make an hour feel like a day. With the semester coming to an end, time seems to be moving rather hurriedly along as we try to finalize our assignments and begin looking forward to a few weeks of relaxation before the new semester starts.

Oscar Wilde’s poem “In the Forest” always reminds me of the bustle that occurs at the end of the fall semester, with final exams and papers, and the excitement of the upcoming holidays surrounding our Decembers. The poem begins with the mention of a Faun leading the speaker through the woods by stating, “out of the mid-wood’s twilight / into the meadow’s dawn, / ivory limbed and brown-eyed, / flashes my Faun!” The imagery in these lines allows the reader to picture the speaker’s journey through the forest. The mention of the Faun is symbolic of a lost traveler seeking their path through life. The speaker then continues by stating, “he skips through the copses singing, / and his shadow dances along, / and I know not which I should follow, / shadows or song!” In these lines, the shadows and the songs can be perceived as a metaphor for distractions through life; will you follow the shadow and find the light leading to the fulfillment of your dreams, or will you become distracted by the temptation of fun and freedom contained in music. The speaker concludes by stating, “O Hunter, snare me his shadow! / O Nightingale, catch me his strain! / Else moonstruck with music and madness / I track him in vain!” If you allow yourself to be diverted by the music, you may lose your direction.

Oscar Wilde’s poem “In the Forest” conveys that balance is important. If you are constantly chasing after a shadow in order to stay on the path to your future, you will miss out of the fun aspects of life. Similarly, if you always allow yourself to be diverted by the music while forgetting to follow the path, you will become lost in the darkness of the forest. In order to succeed, one needs to find the balance between following the road to success and taking the time to relax and have fun. As this semester comes to an end, we are busy trying to find our way out of the forest, but in just a couple of weeks, we will be enjoying the holidays and some much needed time off.

~Arlinda Mulosmanaj