Over the summer, a friend of mine had his birthday and I promised I'd paint him something between then and Christmas. When I asked him what sort of art he's in to he said, "I have no idea."
That sort of thing always makes me a little sad; who doesn't know what sort of art they like? Well, I suppose, lots of people. I'm a bit of a spoiled art junky I suppose. I was lucky enough to grow up a short drive from New York City and spent countless hours wandering hallways and getting lost in the works found in the art museums there. Also, I love art books: history, pictorial and otherwise.
Tangent aside, I poked and picked at my friend until he finally said he liked bright stuff with big bold colors (especially yellows) but had nothing particular in mind subject wise. Which honestly, works great for me - I prefer working by taking a general suggestion or preference, mixing it with what I know about the person and then just letting my intuition lead the way. Not all of the people I've painted for love it and some say they don't "get it", but that's neither here nor there. ;-)
Since Riddle and I have similar tastes in music, I decided that's where I'd start. There's something tremendously moving about painting to music for me, like it pushes me to really let shit out on to the page. Silence has the opposite effect and tends to murder a piece before it's even really begun.
This painting began with Nine Inch Nails, Chevelle and A Perfect Circle for company but progressed in to the Tool discography. The figure transformed and grew on the canvas, he released his energies in the form of lights and colors in paint as I moved with the music. I let it drag myself and the color palette deep for a bit then followed it back to the light, bringing brightness to the space.
Sometimes, for me, painting is sort of like dancing. You have to trust your partner, move in sync with them and sometimes you're going to fuck up and step on someone's toes. But there's a rhythm and an energy to it that's graceful and satisfying when you find your pace. This piece is one of those ones that once I hit on the perfect musical inspiration, came together incredibly smoothly and much more quickly than I had expected.
All in all, it's approximately 12 layers of paint from the deepest background to the brightest highlights and took about 14 hours to complete. If you're in to technical specifications, he's acrylic on 18"x24" on stretched gessoed canvas. I left him untitled so my friend can name it based on hat he sees in it, should he feel moved to.
P.S. I have no idea what Riddle actually thinks of his painting, I gave it to him in a time crunch so I could get it to him before Christmas and what he had to say at the time was, "that's awesome." I'd be curious to know how he feels about it now that the initial reception is over but think it'd be annoying to pop over and ask.
Edited 8/6/13 to add:
It's been a few months since I posted about this piece. During that time, Riddle told me that he not only liked it.. but LOVED the piece and had hung it in a place where he could look at it every time he walked in to the room. He and his roommates all spent an inordinate amount of time staring at it (his words) and trying to name in, but came up with nothing. So that's awesome news.
On a downer note, our friendship seems to have run it's course so now, like so many paintings that have gone to live with other people, I won't be seeing this one in person again.