I create portraits because people are the creatures I interact with. I find their ever-changing expressions and emotions fascinating. As a living portrait I am naturally drawn to portraiture. Every moment I spend with another person suggests a myriad of compositions and possibilities.
My aim is to portray character, through suggestion. It is not just a realistic representation of the person but as an essence that shines. I, therefore, do not produce a mere likeness of a person.
The process of my art work is to firstly make random colours and lines, and secondly find the right face/figure to fit the shapes. Alternatively, I find a photo/sketch which suggests a certain style of representation and demands to come into existence. To this end I use a variety of styles and techniques as dictated by the emerging piece. The use of contemporary realism to suggest forms, and complementary, often disparate colours evoke the person’s character. I enjoy watching a person’s character gradually come in and out of focus, and the gentle steering action required to bring it about.
The Body Presses are a natural extension of my portraiture. They dispense with tools, for the most part, and utilize the subject’s body to create the base forms. When you look at these works you know that, that is the actual person there, and if you look closely enough you may even see a pubic hair. I explore the nature of what constitutes a portrait with these body presses. I revel in their exciting, textural quality. The Body Presses have brought a new sense of physicality to my work.
There is a deeper interaction with the subject. Generally I liked to focus on the face though I am finding myself increasingly interested in more figurative, and narrative elements.
Ultimately the work should tell the story.
The first time I was approached to do a Trompe L'oeil project I had never even heard the term before, let alone how to pronounce it. As the client described what it was she wanted I kept saying "mural" and being told "No, a Trompe L'oeil is very different than a mural". Discovering the difference led me on a path into many varied and fantastical worlds, and just how entertaining the interactive element of a Trompe L'oeil is compared to the relative static nature of a mural.
Trompe L'oeil is a French term originating from the Baroque period, meaning; '(it) fools the eye'. Utilizing illusory perspective, finely rendered objects, with an emphasis on tactile and spatial qualities, Trompe L'oeil has been used since ancient Greek and Roman times.
Bringing these ancient techniques into the modern world is a very two-way process between the client and myself; from the initial idea discussion, through the design stage, to the day-to-day evolution of the final Trompe L'oeil. Often the introduction of real objects in conjunction with the painted ones aid in the illusion; to convince the eye that what is seen is real, no matter how fanciful, or 'out of place' it may seem.
There is such joy in seeing the excitement on clients' faces as the Trompe L'oeil gradually emerges from the flat surface; and from the look on a viewers face as they realise what they are looking at.
Once recognised as a 'painted effect' the Trompe L'oeil remains at its core, interactive entertainment. To walk through an 'impossible' space, or time, and revel in having been tricked, looking now to distinguish just what is real and what isn't.
Read Shane Bishop's DESTIG Interview here