Tuesday, February 23, 2010

My Totem Portrait

I recently visited the National Museum of the American Indian, part of the Smithsonian Institute, and a national treasure trove. I have always been deeply moved by the art of Native Americans. The work of the tribes of the Pacific Northwest have a special appeal for me.

After that visit it's been on my mind to try some totemic art, working with the essence of the item depicted, trying to illustrate its spirit, communicate something of its deeper meaning.

Half humorously, half seriously, I combined this urge with another self portrait... I don't think this is a good literal likeness, but this does capture some of what I'm about, from the laughter to the bowtie, from the monobrow to the fish (a visual lark I like to slip into paintings). And naturally my image would have paintbrushes and eyes to look even when mine are closed.

4 comments:

linda said...

this is really cool, steve, looking lots like the totems i have seen but like you and your work as well-- also a great likeness--i don't know how you do it! ;)

Odd Chick said...

this is so humorous and twisted- you would have made our red brothers proud!! You have such a great face - I've loved watching what creative things you can do with it.

Pagan Sphinx said...

I love how the strands of your beard look like paintbrushes. Neat surprise.

susan said...

It's a very nice piece and definitely something I'd never try :-)