Friday, October 28, 2022

Another one comes forth (removable face)

Another one comes forth (removable face)

People are very curious… lots of questions. "What does this mean, what do these portraits mean?" I don’t know for sure, but concerning the most recent crown portraits, perhaps it goes something like this... I’m originally from a democracy now living as a subject, under a new king with new prime ministers currently changing on a dime - with systems of power shifting- and I am in a country that wants to be independent. Also thrown in the mix are capitalism, wealth inequality, cost of living crisis, identity, daily life and worries reflected in news headlines. Just a hunch, but I think all of this factors into the work. 

The world is a mess and people need to make sense of it - I know I need to. Bright colours and faces seem to help. These portraits haven't just sprung up overnight (as social media algorithms may have you thinking). I have been working on these pieces since 2017. Recently, for the first time in over 20 years, I didn’t paint for a calendar year, and then when I started back, the faces jumped to the front of the queue and they are all I have painted so far in 2022 except for one abstract piece.

They are all self-portraits of sorts - fragments of self, various characters, feelings, and my thoughts captured in an impulsive charcoal line. These portraits are a more direct way to express the past 8 years of my life in the U.K.

Eventually, as I get to know the work better, I will know what’s truly going on. I need the work to be more easily felt or understood right now. The faces are fun for me to create and more obviously expressive and easier to swallow for some people. I can be free with them and show all elements of myself. Another factor in all of this is that I've been frustrated that at times it seems people here don’t always understand or appreciate abstract art (the work I have dedicated my adult life to). So here we are, portraits seem to fit the bill. I just have to show up and make what comes forth - and right now there are a lot of voices knocking at the door. 

It’s a personal expressive rebellion and one I am enjoying. I think that shows in the work. I’m an abstract painter who happens to be going through a portrait phase and maybe that's all there is to it.

Thanks to fellow artist and dear friend Steven Heaton for prompting this blog post with an impromptu interview of sorts. Follow him on Instagram: @steven_heaton

Until next week, keep fighting! If you missed my Tuesday Studio Video Visit: Find it here. 

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