This week I decided to dip back in to the sketchbooks again. I realized I've done an awful lot of drawings of myself over the years, almost always as some sort of cartoon or distortion. So here are a few.
I can remember what I was thinking when I drew some of them, some I have no idea. The drawings below are separated by several years, but seem to hang together thematically.
This was a vague idea for a comic starring my dad and I. He passed away when I was 11, so I tend to always see him as 44 and myself as a young kid.
A painting I finished last year. 84"x48", oil on canvas. The figure is my friend and former professor, Mitch.
In this painting, Mitch is standing in the doorway to his office. I had been wanting to paint a life size figure, but the figure ended up being almost an afterthought. I was drawn to this view of his office space, particularly the jumble of objects and the postcards on the wall (all of which have aged faded to some version of the same cerulean tone).
I've been spending studio time the last few years trying to figure out painting.
Oil on linen. Approximately 36"x24". As someone who feels compelled to paint representationally in the 21st century, it modes of representation sometimes rear their heads in my thinking. So in this self-portrait I set up a triangle of direct observation (self-portrait), photography as mimesis (the trompe l'oeil photo of my deceased father) and mechanical reproduction of an image originally made as a painting of a directly observed object (print of one of Rembrandt's late self-portraits). Every time I paint representationally I struggle with the problem of this old technology and how can it carry meaning in a way that is physically embodied in the paint. And of course I still struggle mightily with technical issues, trying to have some kind of compelling surface emerge.