I have a short attention span and forget what I’m doing, so, here’s a recap of my Hunert Faces Project. We’ve gone through the whys, the hows, and the what the hell are you talking abouts. We’ve touched on boy-bands, beef carcass, marriage, existentialism and clichés. So what’s left? Not much, really. Life. Death. Idioms. And one more example – third time being a charm and all – of adding some creativity and meaning to your life, or at least your portrait.
Perhaps making these portraits “mean” something is a little overwhelming. I can dig it. The questions, the answers, all the oniony layers and double entendres in the images – you can get lost in meaning. My advice is: Don’t. Remember the old engineering principle: Keep It Stupid-Simple, yo. The painting above is an example of simplicity: one person, one object, a title. That’s it. Three simple pieces that combined take on a life of their own. Here’s what I mean:
We’ve got two elements: one person and the remains of another. And we’ve got a title: Two Heads Are Better Than One. Keep in mind that that’s it, it’s pretty simple stuff. It’s a literal (and slightly macabre) take on a common idiom. But I want people to ask if there’s a meaning. I want people to take a closer look and begin asking questions. What’s up with our slightly androgynous model? What’s the model wearing? The toboggan and the coat with the furry collar and cuffs give the impression that it’s cold. Does that matter? Is the model presenting or receiving a gift, or stroking a precious pet Golem-style? And the skull? Man, woman? And what’s up with those teeth? Are they crooked, broken? And why?* Or perhaps this unknown is the point – that when the great equalizer’s silent hand dials Ma Bell to reach out and touch someone, we allz the same.
*One thing’s for certain – they can’t be American, ‘cuz we Americans would give up our first born and take out a home improvement loan to make sure those dentures were straight, abnormally-glow-in-the-dark-white, and maybe had a little gold in ’em. How we gonna get on tv and be famous otherwise?
The key is what questions does the picture invoke? That’s why these paintings are (hopefully) interesting because they (hopefully) make people wonder, ask, and think. A picture paints a thousand words, but they don’t all have to be yours. You don’t have to have all the questions or the answers. And guess what? Most people are going to come up with their own with or without you. Think of the lyrics to the songs you love. You probably love them because they mean something to you personally, not because of what the artist intended them to mean. And solving the riddle of their meaning is half the fun. In this example painting, there are two people, a mask, and a title. There’s an intended interpretation, but it’s probably different than yours. Or check out the comments people wrote for this painting. All have their own take on what it means, perhaps it’s what’s intended and perhaps not. So what? I’m not worried about that, I just want it to invoke questions and answers from others. These games can be as simple or complicated as you like as long as they’re interesting (and not cliché).
For those of you who are tired of listening to me, have used the cheat sheet, and are ready to send me something, send away. If you’re almost ready, but you’ve got questions or want to run an idea past me first, no worries, contact me and ask away – this is meant to be collaborative. For those who are on the fence, interested but still uncertain, I’ll be talking more about the project and showing more examples as I go. And for those whose only interest is to see how this all plays out, welcome, the more the merrier.
What are your ideas on the painting, what it does or doesn’t mean, or the general method to the madness? Go out on limb and leave your idiomatic thoughts in the comments section. To this boy, it’s icing on the cake.