portraiture for the new age

Throughout the summer and most of the fall I was working on this last portrait.  It is oil on canvas and 41×53″.   james

In this project I was able to explore my ideas around art and specifically portraiture having a talismanic role in a subject’s life.  The content and composition of the piece was inspired by symbols in the subject’s natal astrology and tarot, personal artefacts that hold deep meaning and inspiration for him, esoteric healing symbols and representation of an ethereal atmosphere.  My philosophy is that because the  fundamental spiritual movement of human culture appears to be toward self knowledge, self revelation and enlightenment-ultimately self united with the divine– that portraiture and particularly commissioned self portraiture is a natural support.  In the hands of a spiritually conscious artist, one who is aware of the capacity for art to be a channel for healing energies the artwork can become an intimate sacred object or a focal point for meditation. The portrait may be seen as kind of “vision board” for experiencing higher self consciousness, self reflection and revelation and finally affect healing on a quantum level.

In a recent television show an artist commented that oil portraiture of oneself  was “a bit of an antiquated thing”.  Hearing this I realized that people may actually believe commissioned portraiture has lost it’s role or meaning in contemporary culture.  By some secular perception portraiture might appear true, but certainly through the ever growing contemporary spiritual perception personal and intimate forms of artwork like portraiture have absolute and invaluable roles to play.