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According to Wikipedia, when questioned about his inspiration for the song “In the Air Tonight“, Phil Collins said “I wrote the lyrics spontaneously. I’m not quite sure what the song is about, but there’s a lot of anger, a lot of despair and a lot of frustration.”
I think I could honestly say the same about the piece ‘Hallows Eve Master of Ceremonies’. While this picture is ideal for Halloween, the finished painting is dated September 20, 2016, I technically started conceptualizing him August 10th. If you go to my personal Instagram, you can see an early sketch of him.
He came to me like most of my inspirations do: while I was showering. For me, when I do art, I ask myself what I’m feeling and how can I show that to a person and have them know exactly what is in my heart even if they don’t know my language. I revert back to some buried part of me that I excavate from at time where man communicated through crudely drawn pictures on cave walls.
I was in the shower and feeling a lot of things. I was currently in the middle of fighting what would become a very long and traumatic fight with the USPS that resulted in almost daily stalking, harassment, and fear. I still have a pending court case against them. The emotional unease this brought me was indescribable. Saying that I’m afraid, or hurt, or angry really didn’t describe the depth of the emotion I felt. So I started to ask myself, what would this look like as a wordless image? And, as most of my really good paintings do, it flashed fully complete in my mind. I saw him. I saw his eyes which read those emotions of intimidation, of thinly veiled anger, of instability, and in my heart I heard my inner voice say, “Paint him.”.
So I started sketching what I wanted. I often referred to pictures of the self proclaimed “Zombie Boy” Rick Genest. He aided me in giving “Hallows Eve Master of Ceremonies” that not quite a skeleton yet not quite a human look. I think you actually see another person if you focus on that black upper lip. Somehow, by showing that, I feel you start to see the spirit like thing that lives under the mask of the skull. That unnamed thing that I was feeling.
I particularly like this painting because it’s one of my most expressive. It’s one of those pictures where the eyes follow you, stalking you, and hopefully allowing the viewer to feel that nervous unrest that I had been suffering with during this time.
He usually lives in my office as the first thing you see when you walk in as if he’s guarding the place. During the month of October however, I display him over the fireplace in my living room to observe the chilling festivities. If you would also like him to watch you, I have several prints to offer at my Etsy store.
If you would like to purchase a print, but it’s sold out on Etsy, please send me a message. I have a printer very close by and can get a print made just for you!