Before delving too far into my thoughts on the "Presence" studies I've been doing, I wanted to share this photograph from India K that I came across while writing this post.
Seven simple words that define who we are and how we got here. Yet, the search and evolution doesn't stop there. Some of us spend our whole lives wondering who we really are and what we should be doing. What started as just another portrait, morphed into something much bigger.
I began questioning myself about, what the faces I had been drawing/painting really meant to me. It used to be the expression that drew me to the subject, but as I kept moving forward, I discovered it was the 'presence' of the subject and the emotion they emit, that draws me in. This feeling goes beyond the surface, deeper than the displayed emotion.
I also started to question what 'presence' meant to me, and what it means in society as a whole. We as a people, seem to be growing away from one another. Rather than getting to know each other on a deeper level, we've become but a 'presence' in one another's lives. We're all guilty of it to a degree, there's always someone, somewhere, that we associate with their presence and what it brings to our lives. Whether it would be happiness or sadness, we tend to steer clear or pull certain people into our lives based on the mask they wear. Although, we never usually delve into what's really going on behind that mask.
This led me to my second study of 'presence'
Inside all of us, is a bit of chaos, some of us are a bit more chaotic than others, but we're all trying to figure life out. We're told what we should be, by the media, celebrities, and each other. Constantly shrouding the chaos within, with a face or emotion that is pleasing to the masses. Those who can't carry a happy facade and speak what's really going on inside of them, tend to get pushed to the side or avoided by those who would rather pretend as if nothing is wrong.
With this series of studies, I'm stripping away the obvious emotions we wear and showing the true chaos within all of us. Even the most stoic face, can be hiding a whirlwind of emotions just below the surface. We often take for granted the happy faces people put on day to day, until something finally happens, that shows a crack in the surface as to what's really boiling underneath. That's when a lot of people tend to look away, until that familiar face returns.
For my third study in this series, I knew it was time to break out my paints. Charcoal and pastels can only express so much, but I needed my paints to help carry my emotions and thoughts into my work.
It was with this study, that I really started to explore and understand what these colors and marks meant to the emotions I was transmitting. It wasn't only the subject's emotional look that I was trying to capture, I was trying to capture what it stirred inside of me. The connection between the experiences that I have had, made the subject's expression so piercing. This also brought to mind, that I don't spend enough time doing this with some of the people in my life. I work in a world of email and most people are just @ symbols in my life. It isn't until an @ symbol has an emergency or something along those lines, that they become a real person. I know this may sound bad, but if you really question yourself, you'll see I'm not alone.
Our world revolves around the next great post, picture, meme, viral video, media propaganda piece, but never about ourselves and how we're feeling. Feelings these days are just a distraction, something to be remedied and ignored with a pill. This creates a society of facades protecting their true selves. It's time to break those molds and show what's really going on inside.
With each one of these studies, I'm pushing myself to feel what my subject does. What do these feeling look like? How do they make me feel? How many people feel that I am just a presence in their lives? What does hate, fear, confusion, etc.. look and feel like? All of these questions and emotions are are a thing of beauty, to be displayed and discussed with those around you.
I apologize if all of these thoughts don't fully connect right now. I'm still discovering what each of these pieces really mean to me as a whole. A lot of this was written off the top of my head, trying to decipher what I'm truly feeling about this series. What I can say is, that I've done a lot of portraits so far, and these pieces ring the truest with what I've been trying to convey. So if nothing else, take the time to really look them over and see what you find for yourself. That's the beauty of abstract, I can't tell you exactly what to see, you'll need to experience it for yourself.
Stay tuned, I'll continue to write about this series as it grows.