Kenji’s Art Sundays

December 10, 2006

Every Sunday, Beats Entropy will showcase a painting of mine and I will describe the ideas, processes and technique I used to realize it.

Please feel free to comment; anything is welcome including criticisms.

Today’s Piece:

Title: Kenji & Kenji
Medium: Acrylic on Canvas
Size: Approx. 10″ x 20″

In June of 2006, I had a show called “All-Ways” that featured nine portraits of couples or friends.

This was the last portait I painted in that series, and I had decided to follow a long tradition amongst artists: self-portraiture. Since it was a show about couples or friends, I had to draw two of myself. The two versions of me stare into each other’s eyes, perhaps lovingly and respectfully, perhaps confrontationally. Their hair is slightly different; one is without glasses; this is the future looking back at its past, the ideal facing the real, the outside looking inward and the inside looking outward.

The whole image is composed in the way of those optical illusions featuring two faces outlining a chalice. In this case the chalice is actually the world, acting as a medium by which the two faces contemplate their beliefs and their actions. They each want to drink from the sky, the sun, and the earth; but they realize that the chalice wouldn’t exist if they didn’t see eye to eye.

The method I’d used for this painting was quite novel. The basic layer was undiluted acrylic paint applied sparsely, inspired tremendously by the Fauvistes (especially Andre Derain). Then I applied very thick swaths of acrylic to the inside of a plastic bowl, let it dry, and then soaked it in water. The swaths came loose in the water and I gently took those and laid them out on the canvas like fragile little worms or spider webs.

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Copyright 2006 Kenji Toyooka


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