Although I paint primarily portraits, I do not consider myself to be a portrait artist. While traditionally a portrait artist would strive to capture the likeness and essence of the sitter, I am instead painting psychological concepts; traits that I admire, have within myself, or wish to cultivate. My works are not renderings of people, but rather character traits, and emotional substrates.
My paintings are a way for me to contemplate human psychology. I have always been fascinated with the inner workings of the mind, and use faces as the most direct method to deliberate and convey various traits and strong characteristics, for example, determination, thoughtfulness, wisdom, or kindness.
I’ve always felt that the eyes truly are the windows to the soul, therefore, I usually place a great deal of importance on the eyes, and most of my portraits are painted with direct eye contact aimed at the viewer.
I work in acrylics on canvas, adding 24k gold leaf on occasion. I paint using only black, white, and the three primary colors. I decided on this very limited color palette because the use of minimal colors reduces distractions and keeps the focus on the features of the face. The majority of my paintings have black backgrounds for the same reason: to keep all the focus exclusively on the face, having these faces essentially exist in a void.
I usually use stock photographs as references, but I create composite faces, so that most of the faces I am painting are not real in a conventional sense, but created specifically to bring out the specific characteristics I am aiming for in each work. Though quite often the characteristics shift and evolve during the painting process, to create something more than what was initially intended.