So a few weeks ago I mused about the possibility of running a Kickstarter to to raise some money so that I can finish 2020 with at least 100 portrait paintings. I’ve pretty much decided that I’m not going to do that, mostly because I’m fairly certain without a proper count (I know, keep better records!) that I’m somewhere around 80 or more. I’ve mentioned before that perhaps one in 10 (or is it one in eight?) of my paintings is not all that successful. So I do want to make sure I have 100 good paintings. At the beginning of 2021, I’d like to do 10 Instagram posts all containing ten good paintings. If worse comes to worse, maybe I can bury a few of the ones that I consider just okay in there somewhere, but we’ll see.

One of the things that’s helping me to reach this goal is my George Condo/Picasso influenced style that, as I’ve said before, is largely becoming my brand. Although sometimes I feel like my practice is a little all over the place, in that I focus mostly on Pop Art paintings, but I also delve into political figures, animals, and of course the imaginary portraits that I occasionally experiment with. If you saw my post on Friday, you’ll know that I have also decided to delve into portraits of famous cartoon characters. It seemed a natural thing to do, combining the Pop Art with the style of my imaginary cartoon portraits. So that really is several ‘series’ of paintings that I’m working on concurrently. But of course all of these series are tied together with the concepts of Cubism and George Condo’s idea of Psychological Cubism which I like to keep in mind as the overarching concept behind the work, even if some paintings are more “psychological” than others.

Untitled, from the Panspermia series, 2018, oil on canvas.

Anyway, I was thinking about how before I started working in this manner, the idea of making 100 paintings in a year of any style would have been untenable. If you’ve been following my progress as a painter, you’ll know that I’ve done several series of paintings such as the They’re Ain’t No Moon in the Sky paintings, and the Menagerie paintings to name the two most successful series. But there have also been a few series that never really went anywhere. For example, there was a series of paintings I called the Panspermia series. If you don’t know what Panspermia is, it’s the discredited idea that as Wikipedia explains: “is the hypothesis that life exists throughout the Universe, distributed by space dust, meteoroids, asteroids, comets, planetoids, and also by spacecraft carrying unintended contamination by microorganisms.” And that this life likely exists throughout the Universe. It’s kind of the idea that Star Trek and other sci-fi uses to justify the fact that all the aliens are Humanoids. So I imagined some life forms based on combinations of humans and actual animals and put them on Mars, Venus, and who the hell knows where else? I think of these paintings are actually pretty successful, but it never really went anywhere.

The Kind of Mars, oil on canvas, 2018. with a NASA photo of the so-called Face on Mars, an example of pareidolia.

I also had an idea for a series of paintings based on the concept of pareidolia which is the tendency of human beings to recognize patterns, even if they’re not there. Like the Face on Mars, which inspired this painting entitled the King of Mars. I really like this one and it hangs in my upstairs hallway. The only other one I did was a painting that didn’t really work out based on the idea of seeing an image of Jesus on a piece of toast. The problem with this painting was that I thought I could mimic toast by dabbing paint on the canvas and in the end it didn’t read as toast. I like the concept though, but again it never really went anywhere because I didn’t know what else to do with pareidolia. I’d happily re-visit this idea though and maybe I will, who knows?

King of Kings, oil on canvas, 2018.

There are few other ideas that didn’t really go anywhere, and one other one related to Moon paintings that was mostly successful. Maybe I’ll talk about those next week! And maybe I should do a Cubist Jesus Toast? Nah…