Posts Tagged ‘lie’


I brought in photos of soldiers taken before, during and after their tour of duty in Afghanistan and suggested that the face studies be drawn on one page. The emphasis was not to be on realism, but to allow the drawing process to get messy so that accidental marks and smears would possibly bring out greater expressiveness. Messy is difficult, believe it or not. Students most often want to produce neat drawings that will please others.

Here were faces of men in anguish and doubt. They could, of course, be drawn academically as a study in how features change over time and in different 14Soldier4Facemoods. But the photos invited an approach that in itself carried the expression of their torment. I gave a demo(right, click to enlarge), using the Stabilo pencil on gloss paper.
Though the photos came in sets of three, I suggested that there be four faces drawn on one page, with a fourth being synthesized by the artist.
This assignment came the week after our trip to the Wilmette Library to draw Michelangelo’s David. The David is idealized, he’s beautiful, perfect and worth studying. But perfection is not expressive. Perfection is momentarily satisfying and restful, but, as you can see from the David example, perfection Soldier3Faceinvites parody. Perfection, really, is a lie. To approach a feeling of truthfulness, you have to allow yourself get gritty.

(Drawings by Gabrielle Edgerton, Katherine Hilden and Barbara Heaton)
For more photos of soldiers to work from, see http://news.yahoo.com/photos/soldiers-portraits-before-and-after-war-1368743423-slideshow/
All contents copyright (C) 2010 Katherine Hilden. All rights reserved.

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André Carrilho, in his late 30’s, is a caricaturist of the highest order. He’s Portuguese, lives in Lisbon, where he’s a national treasure.  His work frequently appears in The New Yorker and Vanity Fair.  His daring is breathtaking.  There are no clichés in his work.  Every drawing I’ve ever seen by him has made me jealous:  I wish I had done that.

His work deserves close study, his gestures, his radical departure from anatomy, his mixture of drawing techniques, his psychological insights.

For now I just want to focus on the fact that he frequently dismisses the eye as the carrier of expression.  Rudolph Giuliani, for example (above), doesn’t have any eyes, just a darkish smudge.  To pull this off, you have to be very advanced in your art.  Go to http://www.andrecarrilho.com/ and immerse yourself in this work.  But be warned, you may lose track of time, miss your train, quit your job, and neglect your household chores.

Funny thing about the eye, the “window to the soul.”  That expression probably can be traced to Moroccan bazaars, where haggling over the price of a rug was made easier if you were so close to the other guy that you could see the involuntary twitch in his pupils every time he lied to you.  In general, I think, soul-talk is obfuscation.  The “soul” in art doesn’t just have a window here and there, but is more like a drafty place, a wide open canyon.

Imagine my delight as I’m looking at store mannequins and find that they have no eyes.  Where does this come from?  What happened to “the window to the soul?”   Is Maybelline suing?  Is this inspired by André Carrilho?  I wouldn’t be surprised.  The Art of Caricature is not silly or trivial at all.  It’s the brain’s preferred way of seeing.  Simplify, simplify.

All contents copyright (C) 2010 Katherine Hilden. All rights reserved.




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