In which the artist rediscovers her roots:
When I was in high school I was fortunate enough to be in this great program for a couple of years which allowed me a now-extinct thing in public schooling – art classes.
I used to carry this great, black sketchbook about the halls on my head, covered as it was in stickers and Sharpie and some made up runic system I’d devised for encoding some of the more personal things I wanted to say in it. And amid all the self-absorption and angst, I actually learned a few things.
One that stuck with me quite strongly was the knowledge of Francis Bacon and his meat-paintings. I copied his Study after Velázquez’s Portrait of Pope Innocent X (above) on black paper with chalk to what I considered to be outstanding results.
Sadly, I no longer have it today to confirm this, but regardless of the quality of my homage, I had a great time making it and learned a lot about drawing, which is what counts.
Now that I look at his work, especially Three Studies for Figures at the Base of a Crucifixion, I see a lot of H R Giger, which I suppose is in reverse, seeing as how Giger was born in 1940 and Three Studies came out in 1944. But either way, there you have it. And I appreciate both artists so this should not surprise me that I see similarities there, even if the only true similarity is the great shadow of Death.
Fashion Illustration class is what brought me back to Bacon. I’m gearing up to start and complete an 8-outfit mini-portfolio over the next two weeks and after screwing around with some markers last class realized that my style is better expressed with a mix of details where important and a rougher hand where not. And some personal stuff this morning brought the inspiration of a Self-Portrait piece with a half-creamy-skin, half-charred-skull type of treatment.
Which in turn led me to think of the old Bacon Pope Innocent homage and I thought “Hey, why not do this up fine arts style? Why not use this opportunity to practice this self-portrait-decay-from-within concept and go all McQueen with this project?” To which a voice replied, resoundingly, “YES.”
So much for Deus Ex Machina.
That’s my great internal struggle, aesthetically speaking. I want so badly to be color and light and the sartorial equivalent of champagne colored currants in a turquoise bin. And then Maynard Jame Keenan and Trent Reznor call me up for a play date and it all goes deliciously black.
So, making peace with my warring selves, what else is new? I think the good news is that artistically speaking this is a gift. To be drawn to both the sweetness and the sorrow in life in equal measure means that hopefully my look, as I work to hone it, will show that kind of joy-mixed-with-pain, will celebrate all aspects of life.
But for this project, the skulls cometh. Gotta start somewhere.