“The great advantage that an artist has is that he can pursue what he has not yet understood. It is the opposite of what professionals do where you develop a reputation for what you already know and you keep doing that over and over because that is what people want you to do, until you lose interest in that thing and you go into cruise-control mode. Milton Glaser
I’m always talking about being a professional artist, you know, making a living doing what you love. What’s wrong with that, right? On the other hand, Glaser’s definition of the trap of being a professional as the death null for the artist, is very confronting for me. It’s as if I’ve somehow commodified my talent. It’s true, people can depend on me to do a Maniscalco portrait when they honor me with a commission.
Like most artists though, I’ve always thought of my creativity as a work in progress. I present myself with challenges, sometimes technical, sometimes creative. I solve problems. I engage in an adventure. Art is a growth process. Stagnation is the opposite of creativity.
I’ve been experimenting lately with using my portraiture chops to create compelling imagery, combining surreal with the real. The NETI works ask the question, what if a splat of paint could become real? What if it came to life? What would happen to it? What would it say?
This recent portrait of Maija is an effort to merge the genre of portraiture with the fantasy world of Neti. There are more of these works coming soon. For Maija, who is very spiritual, the question was how might I express her power, her grace, her hopes, her pathos? I’m fascinated with the idea of being one with the Universe, being part of something larger, connected to everything at once. Maija encouraged me to do whatever I wanted. And this is what I came up with. Thank you dear friend Maija, for encouraging me to experiment, as I evolve in my artistry.