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 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.
There is something to be said for intent of the artist though. If the intent is evil and only done to make a profit, then the dead have every right to be pissed off at me. But these portraits are not for sale and never will be. I create them because.. because... well I'm not really sure why. Why do we as artists do any of the things we do? If its done only for profit, then we are not creating art for the right reason. So perhaps the reason isn't as important as the intent.
Only the dead can judge
You can view more portraits of both the living and the dead at: The Phantasm Portraits