The Work of Others

Being an art student has it prices. This time, it includes me spending the last month before classes have even begun attempting to plan and organize work to make for the semester. I’m usually such a heavy planner that the majority of my time is spent in that initial stage; executing the work is a much faster process for me than planning. So I’ve been doing all of that work on the front-end, in the hopes that I can spend more time perfecting the execution of these pieces.

A large portion of that planning is deciding upon imagery or symbology. I’ve recently been looking at a lot of illustrators’ works featuring multiple heads, faces, facial features, or expressions–multi-headed icons like Cereberus come to mind as well–and it all began with this simple drawing from Angie Hoffman:Angie Hoffmeister

I love everything about this–the simplicity and clarity of the linework, the effective use of multiple facial features to construct an uncertain expression, the minimal color palette. In some respects it feels like a more honest version of a portrait–constantly shaking, moving, changing–and in another way, I see it as a manifestation of the different facets of a single person’s persona. I’ve completely reconsidered the way I think about portraiture because of this drawing, especially in the way that I would like to use the human face.

Then, not long after, I stumbled upon this image on Pinterest (I spend a lot of time there 😉 ):Eugene Ionesco

As much as I can gather, this is an image of a performer from one of the plays of Eugène Ionesco, a Romanian/French Absurdist playwright who published work from the 1930s through the early 80s. His work sounds amazing and I will definitely be looking for a copy of The Killer and RhinocÊros. I love the boldness of this image and the seamlessness of the three faces. I sort of become mesmerized looking at it, honestly.

And, last but certainly not least, I found this image from Christine Wu just the other day, as if to complete the trifecta:

Christine WuI love this piece for similar reasons to the Hoffmeister: an effective but understated and sophisticated use of color, the spectre-like quality of the overlaying figures, the clairty of the faces and expressions…I love that every figure is staring straight through me, as a viewer, that I’m always being watched.

Another thing I love about Wu’s piece that isn’t present in the other two is her overlay of skeletal features onto the faces of her subjects. Those who know me can probably attest to my obsession with bones and teeth–it borders on the unhealthy sometimes. I especially love teeth, though. But these are simply extensions of my fears, the same fears we all have: of death, of losing part of the body, of feeling pain and being less than whole.

I have a lot done in the way of compositional studies and initial sketches, so I’ll probably post those next week. I’ll also be setting up a studio space at the university and choosing my professor for my advanced drawing class, so it’s a big week coming up! Exciting, though. I think I’ll pin these images up when I get settled in.