I'm lucky to have found my style after only one year of college level courses. I had only done one portrait before I stumbled upon the work of Minjae Lee. (If you haven't seen these insane, amazing, downright impressive portraits - stop reading this and look them up NOW)
Ensued the following internal commentary:
"Holy Shit these are cool"
"I can do this"
"I can totally do this"
"No way can I do this"
So I did it. I painted my first real portrait with this illustrative style. It wasn't great, but it was a start. From there I kept using Lee's work as inspiration but I started thinking more critically about what I was doing and two ideas came to my attention.
In critique sessions, classmates compared my work to both of these things. As, I progressed with the style I ran with the idea that I was "drawing" scars and tattoos on my portraits. I thought about how we all have scars. I have a scar on my thumb from a baseball bat when I was younger. I have a scar on my knee from a cut throat game of basketball with my brother. But I also have scars that no one can see. We all do. This thought was so intriguing to me (and still is) - that we have two types of scars and only one is visible to the world. So. I decided to paint both. How do you show the scars of being left? or the scars of being lied to? or the scars of losing a loved one? Well, that's what I've been trying to figure out. For a few years now, I've been painting with shapes and words and feelings trying to paint the whole picture of the person as if their life and experiences were as obvious as tattoos inked into their own skin.