Multiple Personality Self-Portrait

July 28, 2009

Bravo MPD Self Portrait close up 1 IMGP0565

Multiple Personality Self-Portrait, image area 33″ x 42″ acrylic on 9 canvases

Bravo MPD Self Portrait closest up IMGP0569

Self-Portrait, 11″ x 14″ acrylic on canvas

Bravo Kevin MPD Self Portrait 6 IMGP0551

Kevin with his Multiple Personality Self-Portrait. The artist constructed and hand-marbled the frame, approximately 54″ x 66″ without “legs”

Here are a few quick thoughts on each face left to right and top to bottom, as I experience them. 1st row: Little Debbie Kay is a very sweet and feminine, white bearded lion-girl, who will seem young and innocent even when she is 75. She loves to groom herself meticulously and look pretty. I adore her because she makes me feel happy and warm. Noel Coward Lee Lion is one of the most mysterious faces and one of my very favorites. I “found” some of these faces by sea-sponging textured color onto the canvases and then peering intently into the random patterns until faces emerged. That was the case with Noel Coward Lee Lion. He materialized out of the chaos. The more I defined his face, the more compelling he became to me. I think of him as a lion-man who has lived most of his life in ignorance, misbehavior and doubt, albeit striving for understanding, stability and answers. We see him at the moment of Enlightenment, when all his suffering, anguish and hard-living suddenly and finally give way to Total Awareness, and the entire universe opens up before him. The Cowardly Lion becomes Leonardo. I find this portrait very absorbing. Next is Marg (short for Margarine) the unabashed drag queen who thinks of herself as a rich 1940’s Rosie the Riveter with power — all brash fun, irony and out-there self-expression with no apologies. She’s a Type A transvestite with a shitload of attitude and an agenda. Ouch! Watch out! She’ll seduce you, make love to you, eviscerate you and publicly trash you, all at the same time. That’s the top row.

 2nd row: The handsome young Latino man, let’s call him Antonio, is very idealistic and innocent, but intelligent and articulate. He believes in great possibilities for his own future and for humanity. Then there’s 60-year-old Kevin Miller in the mirror. What can I say? My attempt here was NOT to create an idealized self-portrait by any means, but to paint a somewhat abstracted composition that would see inside the mirror and reveal more of the truth than the glass does. I like the results. It is disturbing, colorful, and piercingly focused all at once. This face seems to look deeply into the viewer from inside the painting, and to know what is going on in the observer. That suits me. The Young Entrepreneur is next. He represents the internal attitude I always adopt when working with corporate groups. He’s appealing and likeable, but there is something that is more than a little plastic and insincere about him. I suspect he may be hiding something…
 
3rd row: Maybelline is my beautiful, if somewhat vacant, vulnerable and innocent inner woman. She’s a model. She does not show emotion, although she feels entirely at the mercy of the manipulations and attitudes of those around her. Her only defense is remaining silent and walking away with the aura of her intimidating beauty in tact around her. Next is Ooloo, the alien princess from another galaxy. She literally has a golden headdress and silver stars in her eyes, and, obviously, she can see twice as much as we can, because she has four eyes. Finally, there is Zulu, one of my favorites. He is a strong, virile, African warrior-prince — the next king. He knows Magic. He knows the Truth. He is profoundly powerful. He sucks all the oxygen out of every room he enters and commands total attention. People don’t cross him. I especially like the way all the lines on the top 2/3 of his face converge in one point between his eyes.
 
I tried to arrange these images around my “mirror portrait” in a way that simply provided some balance in color, style and impact for the entire piece. But, having written these descriptions, I realize that there are 3 distinct vertical columns with a completely different themes for each: Column 1 — Little Debbie Kay, Antonio and Maybelline — is about innocence, idealism and vulnerability. Column 2 — Noel Coward Lee Lion, Mirror Portrait of me, and Ooloo — is about deep vision and enlightenment — arriving. Column 3 — Marg, The Young Entrepreneur, and Zulu — is about a powerful public persona and the control that comes from projecting the right attitude. Hmmm… Interesting… Weakness and vulnerability on one side, enlightened vision in the center, and public power on the other side. I’ll have to think about this. Understanding art is like interpreting dreams, especially when it’s my own art, because I’m too close to it.

 

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