ARTIST OF THE WEEK | NOVEMBER 19, 2016
In portraiture, do you think it’s important to be true to the idea of capturing an accurate likeness or “inner essence” of the person? Or is a final result that looks good as a painting all that matters.
In my work, I feel that if I have clearly documented my subject matter in a way that accurately represents that person physically and in personality, my work has been successful. It is important to me that my work be genuine. A way that I find sincerity in my work is by taking painstaking care in documenting the features and details of my model.
Of course, there are many other factors that make up a painting that is good to me, such as composition, craftsmanship, good rhythm, not just likeness. But to me, it is never necessary to change or alter the features of your subject matter in order to create a good looking painting. Composition and rhythm can be unified with the true features of the subject matter, and I would much rather do that than the other way around.
Do you feel your painting is documentary and/or anthropological? If so what are you capturing, recording and telling us about these modern humans?
I consider my work to be documentary. It is my goal to accurately represent and document the subcultures and countercultures that I am a part of. As a part of the punk movement, I feel that it is important to be a contributing member of your society and culture. My way of doing this is by making paintings. I paint in order to mark these cultures down in history. By doing that through paint, it creates a new way to understand these cultures that they may not be familiar with. At the same time, it builds on the unification of these people within the subcultures.
Dick Hebdige, in his book: “Subculture: The Meaning of Style” talks about how important fashion (like punk garb) can be to social movements and modern tribes. What is the role of fashion in your paintings?
I like the words 'fashion' and 'tribal' a sentence together. Fashion is completely tribal. In many subcultures, fashion is a way to non-verbally identify another member of that subculture. Subcultures are modern tribes, and fashion is one of subculture's most unifying factors. In my work, fashion is a way for me to represent the individuality of a person. When creating a painting, I would never tell a person, "Wear this." or "Don't wear that." I want them to be completely themselves in the painting. Fashion plays a huge roll in a person being themselves.
Web site: cheleviathan.com