This painting looks pretty straight forward and it is. I've gotten brave enough to attempt human/ human-like beings.
It's a painting that came from a dream I had years ago. The dream didn't look like the painting (I have a habit of doing that apparently) the people in the dream did not look like these people, but the basis of the dream was that someone I knew was in danger. The gates of hell were opening and they were being sucked in. I had to go in after them and walk through this dusty, ash-filled environment. People were unrecognizable, tethered in chains and screaming out on crosses. They were red from being skinned alive. It was painful to look at them, but not scary (this was my reality in the day too). My dream-time self knew the landscape from my experiences in waking life. I knew where I was going, what to expect, even which demons I was likely to encounter.
Eventually I found the friend and we were running to get back out of hell. Behind us the ash was rolling up like an avalanche, the world we were in was curling up like a scroll. We were racing towards the exit.
Back on the street. It was night. The moon was bright white, everything else had a blue tint. We held onto each other still gasping from the escape we had just made.
In the painting the people are naked. In the dream we weren't. The nudity here represents vulnerability, because in the dream there was a connection that went beyond skin. It was an experience of anguish that no one else would understand, it was also an experience that showed the dark spots of the soul.
None of that mattered, we were safe. That was what mattered and that was what I wanted this painting to say.