Saturday, April 9, 2011

Portrait series 肖像画シリーズ

Back in the 80's I used to paint many portraits. I had a tremendous interest in people and in their inner complexity, and I painted people around me, famous people I had adored such as Gandhi, the Dalai Lama and Mother Teresa and people I had seen in my dreams. After many years I've begun having this urge to paint portraits again, and when I was thinking about doing a portrait series once more I got a commission offer to do a portrait of Tak Matsumoto, the guitar player of the Japan's renowned rock duo, B'z, by a good friend of mine who wanted to give it to Tak as a gift. Tak had just won the Grammy award this year. "How timely," I thought. I was thrilled to do his portrait, yet the last time I met Tak in person was over 10 years ago. Normally I don't like to use photographs to paint portraits. So I really had to depend on my imagination!

My friend who commissioned me the painting told me about recent Tak- how he really loves his family and his children, and so on. As I heard about this old friend of mine all these images came down on me. The eastern angels and the western angels were floating all over me with lots and lots of colors. The vibrant mountains firmly stood there among the delicate pink clouds... I began painting right away - I did not have to wait for an image at all.

As I painted Tak all those memories about him came back to me. We first met about 25 years ago in New York, and we were so young. He was so charismatic, full of ambition that I was almost intimidated by him. Yet, I knew that there was a very delicate side of him which he never shared with anyone. In this portrait of Tak I wanted to express that very private side of him. The face he would keep very private and personal. Something very vulnerable and fragile... that every human being has. The process was so intriguing. As I painted Tak, I saw my friend who commissioned me this painting and I saw myself in it. We were all in there somehow, as one. I experienced this amazing sense of connection of human beings and the universe... or something larger than life.




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