I just received the art book that I have two drawings in called Strokes of Genius 9, an annual survey of drawings. The two drawings are: The Lovely Jungian Analyst, an orange scribble portrait of my wife Laurel; and Mysterious Italian with Matches, a portrait of a young man drawn on black museum board. Both pages in the book have statements about the process of creating these two works of art:

Mysterious Italian with Matches
Colored pencil and oil pastel on board, 26-1/2” x 20-1/2”
     In creating portraits, I experiment using colored pencil and oil pastel on black paper. I react to the effect of color as it appears from the blackness of the drawing surface.  In this drawing the face is partially hidden from the viewer---not with a mask, but with a grouping of objects that sandwich the figure between the foreground and the background. I view the form of the paper match as an object that holds the potential for the shift from the latent to the active. The rhythm of the matches across the composition create a counterpoint to the static unmoving figure. The subject, secure behind the objects and what they imply, sits protected, though precariously, within the space that is defined by the objects in front and the shimmering scribbled wall behind.

The Lovely Jungian Analyst
Watercolor and ink on paper, 52” x 48”
     At one time I drew orange scribbles on faces from newspaper photos. These expressive marks, which I carefully outlined in black, thereby altering their character, have now become portraits unto themselves. I begin the process by projecting multiple images onto watercolor paper. By loosely sketching these superimposed portrait images as well as forms that have a close relationship to the subject over one another with orange watercolor pencils, I create a mysteriously composite, yet unified image of the subject. All of the marks are then carefully outlined in black ink and filled in with watercolor. The resulting scribbled portrait redefines the process of drawing and transforms the portrait into a flat abstract image.

No!: A 1984 Installation

As I went through slides of my early work to digitize, I came across a display case installation I did for the University of Michigan Residential College Gallery in 1984. I used various pieces that I had previously worked on, including a sculpted head of a young woman with a mohawk, a portrait of a friend, and four sculpted heads. I added scribbled drawings on mylar, pointed sticks, and a bunch of hanging used tea bags and create this assemblage installation, titled No!


David and Johnny

I initially wanted to do a scribble portrait of David Byrne (Talking Heads). After seeing a documentary of the punk guitarist Johnny Thunders (New York Dolls, The Heartbreakers), I re-imagined the piece using portraits of these two important musician/songwriters of the late 70s early 80s New York music scene. Two distinct personalities. Two musical genres (American punk and new wave). Maybe someday I'll do another piece using two British musicians from the 1980s. I loved that kind of music 30 years ago, and I still love listening to it.

David and Johnny     Colored pencil, watercolor and ink on board, 20" x 32", 2015

David and Johnny
Colored pencil, watercolor and ink on board, 20" x 32", 2015