How do you get to a certain image?
It’s as if you see someone walking with arms wide open, arms folded, eyes closed, ears slightly propped up. A single shadow is cast on the canvas, an expression. And the artist puts a note of his hand underneath.
But when you actually try to draw a person, it’s completely different. For instance, I took a series of photo scans of people standing in a line at a train station. (You can find the first one here.) Each picture, in its own way, was very similar — some pictures had the same shape, some were more symmetrical. But I never used the same people.
It took two years for me to get that portrait. I tried a lot of different subjects: tall men with a thin torso, thick men with thick arms. But I always took the same image. The first person has to be a reflection of your own personal vision of the person. But you’re not a real person if you use your eyes all the time, without thinking, or not taking an interest in the face.
You have to concentrate on the expression and body language of the person, and not just your eyes.
I was trying to figure out what exactly you want at the moment. What do you want it to look like?
You can tell whether someone is a serious or a joke figure. If they seem more serious, do they have more dignity? Or is the person who is a joke more serious than you are? For instance, in one case this woman had been in jail for a long period, and the way she was walking looked a bit tired. She looked sleepy even though she had a huge belly. It didn’t seem like her smile was smiling, and her eyes were closed. So I decided she was a joke figure.
When I see a serious figure walking, my heart gets heavier for a couple seconds. It causes the muscles to tense up. But after that, I put on a face that is a different face. In that case, your face becomes a little bigger for everyone. If I see someone who has more energy and a more confident face, I can easily take a piece of him.
Can you draw people on the inside, without the canvas?
I think I can. I think I can make up a character, an individual, who has an inner life, because there are some interesting elements I couldn’t depict yet on the canvas.
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