No, that’s not a self-portrait. This piece was an experiment in digital impasto – I don’t know of anyone who has explored this territory as much as I have – and has special emphasis on the illusionistic surface texture. This is an inversion of my more customary methods, because usually you have to zoom in to see the texture, where in this case you can see the texture zoomed out, and as you zoom in it only gets smoother. Below is what it looks like zoomed in to actual pixels [the original file is 30X30 inches at 300 dpi].
A lot of my art starts out as experiments, usually in switching up my approach to emphasize or hone a different strategy, but then I’ll take the image as far as I can and infuse it with content that’s on my mind. Here the head is something I just pulled out of my imagination, and you’ll notice curious things about it, such as that it’s glowing orange, or that the lighter side of the face also forms a profile. The darker side has a bit of a cyborg quality to it, especially around the eye.
The title merely refers to the techniques involved, though it does also suggest a quality of the figure as a sort of culprit in a mug shot, or caught somewhere against a wall. Oddly, at the same time I finished this, I’m working on three other pieces that involve no digital impasto, and one more in this same style, though the subject is very different. It was difficult to do all the fine details which can get quite laborious, because I’m now more interested in a another new style I’m working on. I’m working in three styles simultaneously. Incidentally, all advice givers on art I’ve encountered insist on NOT doing this. However, their objective is making easily identifiable commodities that can be marketed under a brand name. My objective is making original imagery.
Check this out – We are taught to value Jackson Pollock for his “radical” innovation of Abstract Expressionist drip painting, but then we expect him to stop innovating and just churn out endless drip paintings, or else! Doesn’t make sense. That’s really a characteristic, I think, of second or third rate art – y’know, genre art. One of the things that separates the Beatles from other rock bands is their continuous innovation and expansion of their music. So, from my privileged perspective of not being a selling-artist, fuck the market, and be true to artistic exploration. And if you aren’t true to your own vision, and your own version(s) of art, than you are a crafts-person executing someone else’s inspiration. At least that’s how I see it.
One more thing. I’ve often tried to emulate thick, impasto paintings, but in this image I’ve gone off in the direction of maximizing the inherent characteristics of “digital impasto”, which looks different from what paint does. It’s still surface texture, as this image makes really clear, but it’s a subtly different kind, which I don’t know of anyone else having done (others tend to use cheesy filters that produce cheesy results, and call it a day). There’s no question that the eye follows the lines created by the illusionistic texture.
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