Original Tete Paintings - About
I have passed through many people lives and they through mine. I have seen thousands and thousands of faces. Hundreds of expressions have been scratched on my heart. These expressions speak to me louder than words or the flesh and the personalities lying underneath. These expressions to me are the symbols of our collective unconscious. I think you know that feeling when you lock eyes with someone often a stranger. It is as if there are invisible rays of energy loaded with untranslatable knowledge passing back and forth. This encounter usually ends in a second with a genuine soft smile and an instant mental flash that there is no rational explanation for what that transpired.
My work evokes emotion. Emotions can be accepted or rejected. If accepted it can be deliberated if you want "this emotion" in your face. In other words not everyone wants to own my work. That is okay. That is what art is about.
I have been told my Tetes are children, males, masks, clowns, happy, sad, thoughtful, ugly, beautiful, self portraits, the same portrait and many other variations. A Parisian told me I made him happy as after viewing all the Tetes he felt handsome in comparison. I love to make people happy! The one experience that intrigues me to this day is when a middle age woman, after spending a long time looking at all the Tetes, asked me if she could bring me photos of her family. It took me a while to understand that she believed that these were real portraits of people and wanted me to paint her loved ones. I was astounded and touched as I realized that she completely absorbed my Tetes and saw and felt them to be real people.
I usually work on paper (acid free) and apply it (marouflage) it to stretched cotton frame canvas and paint the sides of the canvas frame black. I like the feel of the paper as it never seems precious. I coat it with many layers of varnish so it is protected from the elements. I sometimes work directly on canvas but do not have the same relationship with it. I have saved every scrap of paper I have ever painted on. Over 50 kilos came on a boat from France. I am still using this paper it for my Tetes.
One of the reasons I like acrylic paint is that it is also not precious. With oils you must think all the time, for example, placing fat colors over lean colors. This all requires a game plan. I prefer to be in a happenstance type of mindset when I paint.
Naming of the Tetes
Up until about 6 months ago I named all the Tetes. I choose exotic names that began with an A or E....Adam and Eve. I have now decided I want you to name the Tetes. Each Tete has a number and they won't have a name until you christen them. I hope you send me the name so I can finally give each Tete their identity.
The Shape and Size
I like squares. For some reason, during the last years my ideas fit into squares just as the image I am creating will only fit into squares. I am just going with the flow. Who knows one day I might only think and paint in circles.
For American Standards I work on very small formats. My Tetes can stand alone or be in groups or families. I like the freedom of working like this myself and like to give the collector the freedom of creating their own work of art. I also believe the flexibility in creating different shapes of Tete groups is exciting for interior design as you are never stuck with a frigid sized painting. Many Europeans told me they loved the concept as they could divide the Tetes for their children in their estates. Also I think people love to collect things and the Tetes are certainly collectable.
Why I Paint Heads
(Written in Paris in 2001)
I am often asked why I paint only heads. Why not a landscape or a still life? The answer for me is easy. I paint heads because that is what I see in the paint.
It all begins abstract as I follow my preferred artists: Pollock and Tobey. I live the violence as the colors explode, the ink runs and the globs form. I stop thinking.
It then becomes quiet and chaos begins to suggest an order. Here is an eye. There is a mouth. The head emerges with each added brush and finger mark.
I later look at the head and am in awe. I feel that it is more than just an eye. More then just a mouth. More than just a head. My awe is not ego related. I am simply dazzled by the force of creation.
I live with each head for a while. I give it a name and then let it go. Sometimes it goes to the "to be recycled heads pile" and sometimes it is chosen by someone to go somewhere else.
Yesterday I found a website with over 14,000 first names. What joy!
Why would I want to paint an apple?
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