Monday, December 21, 2009

Additions to the never-ending project

Art is a type of universal communication. When you pair fine arts with the human form you have a direct and unmistakable way to communicate with current generations and those to come from all around the globe. Take the work of Michelangelo for example. Even though the artist was from centuries ago, and even though he spoke a different language, his sculptures speak distinctively to all viewers. Without the use of linguistics, the notion behind each of his sculptures is instantly recognizable, The David is proud, The Pieta is sorrowful, and Bacchus is clearly inebriated. Like Michelangelo, all globally renowned artists have breached the linguistic barrier through emotion in their work. Emotions are universal. They are our rawest and our most instinctual form of communication. I have always found visual images of human emotion inspirational. This is why I choose to work with portraiture and the human figure. As I hope to spend a lot of time traveling, it’s important for me to make work that can be globally understood, emotion is the key. Emotional communication is the broadest aspect of my work.

My concept then spans in a wide range of undertones including environmental activism, global events and travel. I’ve always had draw towards uninhabitable environments, particularly the Himalayas. The mountain range itself isn’t the only curiosity, but also the people found there. I find the relationship between wealthy foreign climbers and the native Sherpa absurd. It also seems that in that region of the world, the land alters us more than we alter the land. The naturally harsh environment affects humankind in physical and psychological ways. The bitter cold bites at human skin, we receive frostbite and windburn, and we develop a pre-maturely aged, leathery appearance. The high altitude and thin oxygen also affects our brains in ways we still don’t understand. What a strange idea for our environment to abuse us, instead of us abusing our environment. I’ve continued on a series for the last several years that addresses this curiosity. My work consists largely of black and white portraits of adventurers who have braved these harsh environments. The emotion of each individual is not readily obvious; it is hiding behind an abused complexion. Although, perhaps it is the skins complexion, rather than the expression that offers the most information about the individual. Like calluses that build up on hands, the skin on ones face can also be very descriptive. The texture and color shows the intensity with which one lives their life. Texture, along with age lines and wrinkles all contribute to the eye catching, multi-layered composition that I strive for.

The medium of choice varies from oil paint, to charcoal, and also digital drawing. When working with portraiture, the idea of photography is tempting, but it doesn’t offer the control that is required to do justice to these select individuals. Texture is a very important element to the compositions, and it’s more effective to create texture by hand. Plus I thoroughly enjoy the process.

human form project

The goal of this project was to create accurate representations of the human body
from memory. I began working by hand, then scanned the images to be re-worked. I really wanted to test out different lines while keeping everything as simple as possible.
At first I tried rendering a male body, but ultimately I decided on a female body because it was the most familiar. I'm going to need some more practice before I'll be able to do this with a male body. Goal for J-term?!