Consciousness and the body, and how they co-exist, has been a fascination of mine for many years. My drawing and painting practice has been engaged exclusively with portrait and figuration as a result of this compulsion. Spiritual practices and the influence of Descartes’ views of dualism have created a sense of mind and body as separate entities. Neuroscience and genetics increasingly find evidence that there is no separation. Identity exists in every cell, and interaction with the world not only affects us psychologically, but changes us physiologically as well. Mind and body fit together in a mysterious way that we as yet are unable to fully understand. Engagement with these ideas has led me to ponder my choice of and relationship to my subjects in portraiture. I am most drawn to odd or unusual people. There is something about the unique personality and unusual look, counter to popular culture’s version of beauty, that becomes very beautiful in painted interpretation.
The subjects of this ‘oddball’ series, in which I am engaged, responded to a call for models, knowing the premise of the project, and admitted that they self-identify as ‘odd’ or as ‘misfits’. They feel that they are most comfortable and most themselves outside of the mainstream. Robin was one of the respondents. I engaged with Robin through sketching sessions and chat. The space between subject and artist is like an interactive current. The intent observation required creates a peculiar, and perhaps artificial, intimacy that frequently leads to personal conversation. Vulnerability is inherent to the situation. One’s body image is such an integral part of identity, and the artist’s gaze and hand is allowed access to this very personal space. The resulting image of Robin developed through my expression of the subjective experience of our shared time and space.