I could feel the need to create building inside of me all morning, until I got to the point where i was desperately grabbing paint, brushes and stencils like i was some drug addict, preparing his equipment for his next hit. I mean seriously to me painting is my drug and if I go a few days without doing something I get really moody and irritated.
I had all of this energy inside of me bursting to get out (sometimes I fling paint brushes out of hand because I can't control the energy flow).
Having worked on a few plexiglass artworks recently I kinda stumbled onto a little painting formula which i quiet liked. So I wanted to test it out on something a little larger to see how well it transferred.
I really believe intuition can be taught through repetition and practice. I think if you do something over and over enough times, eventually you will automatically do it without even thinking. I think painting is exactly like that, the more you do it and the more you focus on what works, the better at painting you will become.
So I started this painting as I do every other painting with just laying down random images. So I glued down some old Norwegian dictionary pages from the 19th Century and then began to add some of my own imagery. At the moment my work features forgotten unknown people (The female image with the faded face was a photo I took at a cemetery in Australia. She had no name and her grave had deteriorated to the point that it was almost non existent). So I feel by using her image I am breathing life back into her forgotten image. Now those of you who know me well enough, know that I like layering and adding images in 3's. I like odd numbered things. So hence the 3 different images with all slightly different proportions and compositions. All the images were placed randomly and if you want to try this technique but are scared and don't know where to start, I suggest you put on a blind fold and start gluing things on randomly.
There are 2 kinds of artists, those who plan out an artwork before hand and those who 'go with the flow'. I'm the 'go with the flow' type of artist. I generally like to build up layers and start playing with the composition first. I find that my mind begins to create the story as the painting progresses. It is like when you start out, everything is fuzzy, there are no real boundaries or things set in concrete. Then as you progress, the painting starts to come into focus a little, until finally you arrive at the 'AHA' moment when the idea pops into your head.
So I was working initially from this formula I had come up with, and it seemed to transfer quiet easily to a larger scale. I mean painting is really just like constructing a big jigsaw puzzle, you just keep shifting the pieces around until they fit. That is why I have no problem removing images and relocating them to another part of the artwork. It is all a game of problem solving at the end of the day.
For many of you, the image of this quite intense looking old chap is familiar, but for those who don't know who it is then check out the painter 'Francis Bacon'. As many of you know he is one of my idols when it comes to painting. He is a very interesting man both in terms of his subject matter and also his personal life. I've always thought that if we met then we would either get on really well or we would hate each other (I am inclined to think we would get on).
So why have I used him in this particular work? I think because I kinda feel connected to him on some level and I also believe that he had a lot going on inside his head. You only have to read 'Interviews with Francis Bacon' to understand how complex he was. So symbolically for me he represents so many of us artists who have lots going on in our heads, we constantly have ideas and thoughts bubbling up and the only 'escape' as it were, is to paint. Painting is our escape from our own thoughts. Hence the reason for the Portal above his head (which leads to another dimension or realm). Because as artists we are always trying to get to that 'place' where it seems time and all thoughts stop. I know some of you would have experienced it and others not. You know when your in the zone and time flies so fast that four hours feels like ten minutes and you almost stop thinking and just go into a trance like state, that is the other dimension, that is where we all want to be. We all want to escape the real world, the stress, the pressures of family, commitment, etc. Creating for many of us, allows us to have our own 'portals' to escape to a place of quiet and solitude. Hence the reason I have left the insides of the portal clear and whiteish, to represent that calm tranquil trance like place.
So the other things going on in the painting are representative of the order and chaos we all deal with. The uncertainty of life, the randomness of accidents, the awareness of our own mortality, the realization that one day our own image, our own existence will become a faded memory in time and in history. The different sizes of the imagery dictates to the length of time some of us will be remembered (Larger images represent that some of us will be remembered for centuries and others of us will be forgotten after we die.)
I decided to call this work 'Portals to Nowhere' because that is a place where I want to reside, and it is a place I can only get to by being an artist! Portals to Nowhere is an escape from reality.
Below is a video I made of the process from start until where I am now....enjoy!