Sunday, July 25, 2021

Resurrecting the Faces of the Dead (The Resurrection Series Index)

There is something infinitely satisfying about resurrecting faces from the past. Out of all the art I create, this touches me in a way that no other art form can.

To work with the face of a person long dead gone in a photo, is almost like time travel. I am both transported back to the world of that face, while at the same time I am grasping that persons spirit and tugging it gently into the future.

It is the goal of most artists I think, to evoke emotion in those that view their art. But I think what is equally important is evoking emotion within the artist while the art is created. That piece of art cannot but help be changed by those emotions.

When I first began creating surreal portraits from very old photos, I was afraid it would be a violation to the person. But I quickly shifted my thoughts on this when I considered how I would feel if someone in the future took an old photo of me and created new art from it. Would I be upset? Was I upset? No, I was actually a little disappointed that I would never see it. 

I know all of this is very ephemeral. What I create, what others may create is but a moment in time. If these spirits can be resurrected for even a moment of time, then its worth it. 

Only the dead can judge

In 2021, at an estate sale, I came across a box filled with over 100 tintype photos from 1800's. These were all taken in New Orleans. I knew immediately that I needed to create a series of new art from these very old photos. While I am sure I'll add others in the future. The resurrection series begins with these portraits. I've posted both the original photo and the final surreal portrait. 

Saturday, July 24, 2021

Southern Pride (What We See - What We Imagine) #8


This man jumped right out the Civil War. Everything about him screams I am a Confederate. When I found the tintype photo bearing his image, I couldn't help but imagine him in vibrant wave of color. Those somber, hard eyes staring out at the future in angry defiance. I imagined a whole life in the blink of those eyes. Sons lost in the war, Yanks on the streets, the day those eyes filled with tears when word of Lee's Surrender came. 

The words of an old Alan Parsons song fill my head "Some other place, somewhere, some other time".

Friday, July 23, 2021

The Imaginarium Gallery Presents Faces (The 2020 Chaos Sessions) #33


The Cemetery Abstracts (Index)

 Death is an abstraction. Its neither black or white even though we sometimes desire to make it so. Our desire to compartmentalize our lives strays also to our deaths. Its either heaven or hell, afterlife or oblivion, bringing new life or reliving old mistakes. 

This series is dedicated to seeing death as an abstraction of varying shades of gray that may or may not be what we were taught as a child or think we know as an adult. Its a wild frontier which will truly be the greatest adventure of our lives and deaths.

Thursday, July 22, 2021

I Don't Want to Go Home in the Dark (What We See - What We Imagine) #7


There is nothing like wandering the City of the Dead at 4am. For a surrealist it is the absolutely best time to capture the imagination of the artist. I don't think I saw the reality of anything this particular night. It was all so surreal and illusory. I've never done LSD, but I suspect that this is the closest to "tripping" that I will ever come. 

There is nothing to fear in these places. You may see strange sights, faerie lights just on the edge of your vision. Or you may hear the occasional creak that reminds you of someone slowly casting back the cover of a casket. But there is a peace here that lets the wander transcend into the edge of the spirit world for just a few moments in time. 

Tuesday, July 20, 2021

Dancer on a Cosmic Plain (What We See - What We Imagine) #6


I walk the streets of the City of the Dead and I open my eyes to the surreal. I close my eyes to the real and I wait for the spirit world to speak. 

What do you see when you walk the streets of the spirit world? Oh! You've never walked in such a place? You'd be surprised. You walk them every day. You just keep your eyes tightly shut. They are all around you. 

Monday, July 19, 2021

An Angels Embrace of Death (What We See - What We Imagine) #5

The miracle of photography is that whether it was taken yesterday or 150 years ago, its eternal. As long as someone keeps the photo or restores it, its always there. In the modern age, photography stored on hard drives is as perfect as it was when it was originally taken. I've amassed over my life, somewhere exceeding a million photos. 

You would think that a photo I took twenty years ago would be forgotten in the archives of my life. But nothing is ever complete. Every photo I've taken is ready to be transformed into something new. Only my lack of imagination holds me back. 

The photo above was taken for one of my first photo shoots called Nameless Faces. It was a serious look at the life and times of gay male from all walks of life. Of the dozens of models who played a part in that series, literally there were 10,000+ photos taken. Only a few which became part of the series. 

When I came across this photo recently, the first thing my imagination thought of, was that it was "angelic". And that was what it became. Imagination is a funny thing though. The subject matter is not always light and fanciful. It can also be dark and rather foreboding, as this piece attests to.