Rambling about Portraits and Wallpaper

There lies a balance somewhere between intimacy and aloofness or naiveté which must exist between the painter and his human subject or model. Intimacy or extreme familiarity creates conflict between what the artist has seen of the subjects soul and what he actually sees with human eyes. A battle ensues and most often the painter loses, is never satisfied, because the painter cannot paint the soul or essence of a person. The same applies with the self-portrait. The painter seeing his image in a contorted two-dimensional mirror, struggles with the sense of how he appears to others and the distorted view of his soul. This explains the painful process I have gone through in painting myself. A certain detachment is required. The opposite extreme being a purely imagined character with no similarities to any model, friend or figure the artist has viewed before. My point or theory being that the most moving portrait is of someone that captures the essence of humankind; one that any viewer can feel a sense of intimacy and mystery in the same moment; a picture that contains bits and pieces of the painters experience, existence and memory as well as current references and models.I suppose this theory is my goal and when I have achieved it in the past, it is quite apparent. People feel so intimately associated with the painting and yet are left with so many questions. People need to be left with questions, but these questions bring me to another related point: Answering these questions about my paintings is completely pointless and devalues the paintings worth, not only for the buyer, but the viewer. The collective human experience creates a sense of kinship with all people, but when art (in any medium) is specifically defined by the artist for the public, the viewing public has lost its need for art. The music becomes something to fill the air, the theater or ballet a place to fill a social quota or impress a date, the painting is then something to fill the space on the wall. This sickens me, because I know that most of the paying public is spending their money on art for these exact reasons. If there is a title, a description, a definition of every specific piece of art, then there is no naiveté, no mystery, there are no questions, no underlying connection and beauty. Then art ceases to be art; ceases to be priceless and becomes worthless.

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