Over the last five years of drawing I’ve been hoping somethings would just sort of rise out of the effort.
Work in the pop-surrealist school tends to be filled with elements that carry the weight of meaning without revealing any. Instead of the specific foods on Da Vinci’s Last Supper table, we have four little girls having tea with animals on their heads and a bird’s nest of babies in Mark Ryden’s Allegory of the Four Elements. The symbols emerge from the artist’s subconscious, and often are not explicable, but they work. They sit as though meaningful.
I’ve wanted to grow a set of visual icons that can layer my own work, but I’ve never thought of that as something I could deliberately invent. I’ve been drawing for five years in the hope that some might emerge, the substance of which might even be opaque to me. Some of these are appearing now.
It’s my birthday, so a good time to pause and review the time just past…
Here are the best of 2011:
Here is the set of promising in-progress pieces for 2012:
And here are two things finished on commission from earlier this year:
It’s been a really good year for this so far. There should be another show before it is out.
More and more these look like they belong to something.
I’ve been working with chalk for so long, I forgot how difficult wet can be.
That was Wednesday. For some reason the best of these I do is with this specific model.
It was a good session. I got this out of it:
And the main piece with her is really shaping up. To give you the lead in, the first time I showed it to you it looked like this:
After Wednesday it looks like this:
Soon it will be something else.
I took the day off work Wednesday because I was starting to crack. I needed the sleep, and the space, and to draw. All three were accomplished.
Tonight’s work. Let me walk through my process.
When working with a model, I’ll generally schedule a 4 hour session. Starting with very quick poses, like a minute or two minutes, I draw over and over quick scribbles to get a sense of shapes and weight and movement. I call these things scribblesheets – they don’t look like much to anyone but me, but I find bits in them.
Then I’ll move on to five or ten minute poses and use botches of watercolor with ink to do slightly more realized sketches. These also are not usually for public consumption, but they help me start to get a sense of features, the unique quirks of presence in bodies. These I call splattersketches.
Finally, I’ll turn to full pastel drawings. These are generally done in a sequence of 20 minute poses, often doing 20 minutes, and taking a break, then going back to the same pose. Sometimes I’ll alternate and do two or three different poses, and thread them so the model doesn’t cramp up keeping the exact same position over and over. It can take multiple days of sittings to get these to come together. Here is the very rough beginning of one of these. This is about a half hour’s attack.
The first picture in the post is another one from tonight, a little further along, probably a bit more than an hour or so of work.
So that’s the way it works. By late summer I should have another set of 6 or so finished pieces.
On the drawing board tonight, some letters.
These are going to be the font of the logo I’m designing for the big web-presence remake, in anticipation of transforming my online identity next year.
Self-reinvention is a thing I can’t stop doing. I’ve never really figured out how to be myself. In many ways I don’t know who I am at all. I keep refining the character, like an art director with an impossible brief.
2011 will be defined by activity and outward directed engagement. Maybe I’m out there, somewhere.
Here is what’s on the drawing board today. This creature is probably about 5 hours of work so far, but spread out over a year. It’s been accreting. Persistence is over half the key to getting anything done for me. Some day this will be done, and it will kick ass.
Or, I guess an octopus can’t really kick.
Some day it will slap ass.