To inspire my ideas and project development, I did research into a range artists with a spectrum of styles and subject matter which I felt were relevant to my theme or could influence my concepts and ambitions for the project. I collected visual inspiration, looking into the context of the work as well, as information about the artists that I felt would be potentially the most influential and supportive in my ideas development, selecting eight artists to include in my sketchbook and annotations.
The artists I selected were mainly painters, with some photography, however all with contrasting styles, some more figurative while others such as Tracie Cheng were much more conceptual, and therefore whose ideas behind the work was the aspect I felt I could take inspiration from in this case. Artists such as Patricia March, Cesar Biojo and Davide Cambria all had really interesting, unique styles in their portraiture, each suggesting elements of distortion and abstraction, and expressing a lot of emotion. March and Biojo both introduce concepts of time in their work, it’s fleeting nature and therefore the importance of small moments, yet in very different ways. This was a main attraction to these artists for me in relation to my project.
Patricia March’s work allows lots of readings, unfolding with time, much like the concept I want to communicate in my work about the future and it’s uncertainty, yet to be discovered. I think the artists own interests in cinematography can be perceived from her work. Her work also has a static quality and presents lots of movement with the repeated figures in different positions, adding to the communication of time passing and the idea of the transience of time.
Cesar Biojo have a very personal language in his work and is interested in how human perceive ourselves as part of the universe, which I feel link to my own ideas of self-awareness and self-questioning about our place and destination. In his work he studies humans and their conflicts, nature and existence, producing a ‘perfect imperfection’ within his work by abstracting an initially figurative piece of work, creating and then destroying, which makes his work so individual and interesting. I love the blurry and static qualities to the work and in the backgrounds in particular in some pieces of work, which I would consider including in my own project to communicate to way people and come and go in life, drifting in different directions.
Davide Cambria’s rich and dynamic portraiture explores identity and the deconstruction of the face, layered with emotional depth, which I aspire to be able to express.
The focus of the work of Tracie Cheng is the layers and complexity of the unknown, communicating that there is more than meets the eye, which I feel is something to definitely consider regarding my project with the deeper meanings behind it, trying to show the thoughts and feelings of the protagonists in my work. Her work is a very different to style to the others I have looked at and I find it really interesting and beautiful, with the concept lying in what is beneath the surface and how what meets the eye is not always the full picture.
Kamil Mirocha’s portraiture exhibits another very original style with the portraits developing into abstraction and what looks like pixilation of fleshy colours, in her work Technology 1 and Technology 2, blurring what is more figurative painting in the other sections. I felt that her work could link due to this distorted quality as well as the emotion that is apparent in the paintings which I feel communicate distress and confusion, much like what I would like to show, this is another idea to consider of how to express this in a more abstracted way.
I looked at the famous ‘Las Meninas’ by Diego Velazquez (1656) for inspiration as it is so interesting as a painting with various contradictory viewpoints allow the spectator to interact and fully interpret the depth and many layers. The role of the viewer and canvas are swapped with a self-portrait of Velazquez himself even included, all from the perspective of the King himself who is seemingly being painted. Infanta Margarita, the daughter of the King and Queen is in the foreground, being fussed over by her maids “The meninas”, in front of her parents, who are reflected in the mirror on the back wall beside Velazquez, who is standing behind his easel to paint them. There is also another door in the background with a man entering. The scene appears almost theatrical with so much happening. I think it could really influence my project in the sense of creating a setting in my piece, as well as trying to include different perspectives or layers of complexity leading to other directions, including doors and other aspects.
In further research I was inspired by some of David Hockney’s paintings and photography (or “photograhic drawings’). I found that David Hockney’s work includes a lot of interesting, colourful portraiture, depicting a certain scenario or set up, beginning with his piece ‘My parents’ which I was first aware of. This piece shifts towards a closer study of human behaviour, exhibiting personalities within as well as including symbolic onjects and clues, much like an old master painting. Hockney shows his interest of people and their relationships in the double portraits, manipulating the picture to tell dual stories. He manages to set up a narrative within each piece and create a setting for his protagonists, which I would like to experiment with in my own work. His vision and composition in his portraits exhibit his abilities as a stage designer. I was intrigued by Hockney’s range of paintings and “photographic paintings” of card players and portraits of friends, playing with perspective and vanishing points of his settings in these group portraits.
Tai Shan Shierenberg is another portrait artist that I feel will be influential for my work. He has had a number of noted commissions, one of which being a painting of John Mortimer, which includes a portrait of the artist himself behind, adding something more to the piece, and I feel the piece has provoked me to further consider the impact of the settings and surroundings of a piece and how this could effect the atmosphere and aesthetic created overall. His piece ‘Venus and Mars has also influenced the way I will consider the interactions between others in a situation and how to communicate the thoughts and feelings of people, with the interesting composition of the piece and the way that the two faces interconnect.