There is no genre of art older than the nude study, the bare human form. It commands our attention and often makes some of us turn away, either in modesty or – more sadly – in shame. The question of its endurance as an art-form throughout the ages is an interesting one. To my mind, the nude is deeply symbolic philosophically, and elegant in its accidental eroticism. The nude is both attractive – and to many, uncomfortably attractive – because it symbolizes true vulnerability; exposed flesh presents a form with nothing left to reveal.
The nude subject is in its most confident and vulnerable state, achieving these at the same time. This cannot be found anywhere else, and that is why nude studies are so captivating, so mesmerizing, so subtly profound. We objectify and sympathize, simultaneously, and this duality forces certain truths to snake their way into our consciousness, about how we view our own bodies and how we use them.
I am proud to be both painter and subject in this genre, to continue this great tradition. In a media landscape that barely bats an eye at extreme violence but suppresses the most natural of sexual desires, I regret only that my artwork isn’t more filled with genitalia.
Art for art’s sake. Isn’t that the expression? We just like to look at pretty shit and say “hey, jeez, that’s some pretty shit.” Everything is beautiful, nothing is off-script in the production-house of life. We wipe the crust from our eyes every morning, slap the alarm clock, brew our coffee, and go about our lives. And everything involved in that process is pretty nifty when you get right down to it. I mean, there’s tragedy and frustration as well, but these things can also feed into a creative, evocative, and transcendent output.
All of that is to say this: when in down, artist friends, make pictures of naked women. It’s as old as cave paintings. I found myself sifting through old source material, looking for an excuse to make a painting, and the image above is where I landed, for lack of anything else to do. I hope you like it.
“Love is that condition in the human spirit so profound that it empowers us to develop courage; to trust that courage and build bridges with it; to trust those bridges and cross over them so we can attempt to reach each other.”
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Love is difficult to quantify, impossible to explain. I don’t possess the skill to describe the feelings of love that I have experienced in this short life. There have been moments of incredible intensity and tremendous pain, giddy uncertainty and unrelenting ecstasy. I’m certain that anybody reading these words will agree that passionate love is a glorious thing, that each of our experiences are unique and, somehow, surprisingly similar.
On this Valentine’s Day, I decided to forego with the condemnation I typically feel inspired to express. We have, all of us, already heard the arguments against the expense, the crowded restaurants, the expectations and the pressure. Rather than hammer-out a screed about the pitfalls of the holiday, I decided instead to nestle into the corner of a coffee shop and come up with a image of love that suits me.
This is the result, and I hope you enjoy it.
Happy Valentine’s Day.