Each portrait is an artistically rendered representation of a person’s likeness intermixed with a set of words, statements, or questions that reveals their inner dialog; words with a deeper significance – thoughts that bubble up to the surface from deep inside, the gears in their heads that don’t stop spinning.
Painted words partially show through, while some are partially covered by the figure. In a way, this visually represents how thin skinned we can be. Alluding to the idea that sometimes we believe others can see right through us, that they can read our thoughts... even if that isn’t true.
With this series, I want people to stop and take notice of other people they might never have given a second glance to in passing. My hope is that audiences will come face-to-face with these portraits and do more than just look at them; I want them to get to know each person.
In thinking of how to visually represent the subjects, a thought came to mind: people tend to look at others and judge by what they see on the outside - looking at hair, make up, color of the skin, or clothes - and make a snap judgment, one that doesn’t look beyond the surface. That realization influenced my decision to use non-descriptive colors for physical characteristics.
Viewers will have the opportunity to learn about each person and why the words (thoughts) depicted on their individual portrait paintings are so powerful. would their first impressions be fair?
If folks really took the time to know that person, if they delved deeper, they may realize their impressions missed the mark. Perhaps, realizing that there is a much more complex story waiting to be discovered inside of each person. Not just in the people in this series, everyone everywhere.
That is why I interview each individual before painting their portraits because they are the more important aspect of this series. A story (in the subject's own words) accompanies each painting. In order to get the story, I interview each person and, in that interview, I get to know them on deeply personal levels.
My Hope, in sharing the stories along with the paintings is to allow the audience to better connect with the people in the portraits. Possibly creating a culture of empathy toward others in the community. I’m attempting to reach out to the public, showing how diverse we are, yet, possibly finding threads of commonality too.
You are invited to take a moment to think about these paintings - and by extension the people represented within them - in a new light; to ponder the words and phrases (the voices) each subject chose and why; to take interest in their story, if only for a moment.
“JLW” & “TLG” are the first 2 portraits in this series I have now titled “Soul Searching”. I first used the working title “Voices” for this series because the aesthetic comes from that original painting [“The Voices in My Head”].
The style of the portraiture paintings are a modern mashup of pop, contemporary and street art on 24" x 24" gallery wrapped canvas.
A portion of each sale will be donated to the charitable organizations that support the communities of people who allow me to use their artistically rendered likenesses, words, and stories.