If you need realism, you have come to the wrong address. Not interested. No need.
Or should I say “there’s already too much reality”? What I mean is when I look at some photorealistic artwork, no matter if done in acrylic, oil or pencil; my mind simply reels at the effort invested to create it. But that’s about it, I’m usually unmoved, and there’s nothing else that comes to mind, simply “holy cow – this took a pile of time”.
But then, sometimes, at the rare occasion the attention extends that far, I find myself asking: what were you actually trying to say? And did it really need this much effort to express it? Maybe it’s because I do a lot of sketching myself (and used to paint), so I have an appreciation about how much time it takes.
Picasso making a single line figure, and it capturing an essence – with expression – that impresses me. I value the artist who paints with a very few strokes of a loaded brush and is able to hint at something surprising.
There already is a great bunch or reality out there. It’s called nature. I don’t see any point in competing with it. I already have a camera. And yes I get the point that some imagery it is impossible to capture, so it requires an artist to create it. But there should be a point too it, other than the artists meditative exercise. What’s the point to for instance re-create every square of a chainlink fence suitably out of focus (including camera bokeh) through which something rather ordinary is seen.
I rather look at a point of view, something that stirs me. I’ll never forget being overcome by Lawren Harris’ painting “Mountain Feelings” I think it is called. Fully abstract, but does it ever carry a punch. I had to sit down, and deal with the feelings and tears, and the why. I can only hope for that kind of clarity, when I put the pencil to paper. I rather share something with you, and engage into a discussion, rather than wow you with the effort, complexity and time I engaged in creating something insanely complex and bland.
So my tools are economy of line, elegance, truth to the subject – am I doing justice to it? And there is also a bit of a game with rules, that sometimes develop as the work progresses. These days I’m ever conscious of the letterpress printing mechanics -to make the image by ink from copper engraving onto paper. The line thickness, the spacing, ink traps and so on.
This one is titled “Klaus”, for Klaus Kinski, a favourite theater and movie actor of my youth. Often played the bad guy, really crazily well. And he had a daughter who posed naked with a snake, really well. Hm, I remember that poster in my office, causing quite the stir in about 1982.