Grieving Mother Finds Comfort in Digital Art

After the traumatic loss of her son in a terror attack in Barcelona last year, an Australian mother found solace in composite superhero artwork created by a total stranger. 

Julian Cadman's hand was ripped from his mother's as terrorists in a van plowed through a crowded walkway. His mother, Jom Cadman, begged rescuers to find her son as she was in immense pain from her own significant injuries. Jom woke from a coma several days later to find out that her son had been found, but he had not survived the attack.

Julian Cadman wearing a Marvel Iron Man mask

Julian Cadman wearing a mask of Marvel's Iron Man

Coming to terms with such an unspeakable loss is never easy, but Jom found comfort in what Julian loved: Marvel's superheroes. For years, Julian loved the Marvel universe of characters. He had a Marvel-themed playroom filled with Marvel toys. Marvel comic books, movies, and Legos were all played with for hours on end. It wasn't uncommon to see Julian dressed as the various Avengers, especially his favorite, Ironman/Tony Stark. Julian especially loved Tony Stark because he used his brains to create his superpowers. 

Jom came across photo after photo of Julian dressed up in all the Avenger costumes and wanted to find a way to honor Julian's memory and his love for the Marvel's Avengers, so she came up with the idea of a movie poster. Julian loved all these movies so much that a movie poster of Julian would be the perfect tribute. Jom began looking for the right person to create a movie poster of her son. 

Melborne, Australia-based digital artist Karen Alsop specializes in portrait art. Through a photograph composited in Photoshop with a background and other elements, she is able to create surreal images that wouldn't be possible to do in camera. When Jom found Alsop, she wasn't sure if she could work on her photos, since Alsop works with photographs she takes. 

Composite Movie Poster of Julian Cadman in Marvel's Avengers costumes

Julian Cadman digital art movie poster created by Karen Alsop

But when Karen heard Jom's story, she accepted the project at no charge, creating Julian's masterpiece as a gift for the Cadman family. Karen labored to take the pictures of Julian in various Avengers costumes and create a movie-style poster out of it. When she was finished, she gathered friends to record a song as tribute to Julian, then flew to Sydney to deliver the finished product to Jom. 

You can see the tribute video, the presentation of the poster, and a time-lapse of the creation of the composite poster of Julian in the video above. 

Images used with permission of Jom Cadman and Karen Alsop.

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2 Comments

Studio 403's picture

My heart goes out to her. May God in his Mercy be with you.

Michael DeStefano's picture

Great article, I'm glad this got covered.