I wasn’t one of those kids who drew obsessively. When I was younger I had a friend that I would draw with, but just before I turned 12 we moved away and I mostly stopped drawing. I still drew cartoons occasionally—I never really cared to draw anything else, but I guess I needed the push from my friend to keep it up.
Cut to my University days, when I did a degree in history. I did little drawings of all of my professors in the margins of my note paper. They looked exactly like them even though I hadn’t really been drawing for several years. They really show that I have a knack for faces, so I come by my obsession with portraiture honestly.
The drawings in those margins were definitely caricatures, not portraits. And that was okay with me, although thinking back, I suspect that most good caricaturists probably drew realistic portraits before they learned caricature. So I maybe I did it backwards? I’m probably a better portrait artist than caricaturist these days, if only because I haven’t practiced caricature in quite some time.
Anyway, what the hell does this have to do with my current work? I remember having a conversation with an artist friend around the time I started painting in oil and the subject of caricature came up. He said in no uncertain terms that I should stay away from caricature in my contemporary art practice. I won’t get into why, but I took that to heart. But then after doing somewhere around 50 Picasso/George Condo influenced portraits, I had a brainstorm? Why not try starting with a caricature? After all, Picasso and Condo are all about distorted versions of reality?
The first of these paintings are these two paintings of the same actor (Mike Myers), one where his nose is tiny (as Austin Powers) and one where his nose is exaggeratedly large (as Dr. Evil). I really feel like this is adding an extra dimension to the work and I can’t believe it took so long to get there! Check out my instagram feed tomorrow for the next one!