The I Behind the Artist: What A Painting Means

November 19, 2014  •  Leave a Comment

The I Behind the Mask by R.M. FullertonThe I Behind the Mask by R.M. FullertonThis dreamscape reflects my love of tracery, pattern work, and using ridiculously tiny brushes and pen nibs to work myself into a near-blind stupor. My sense of time is erased, and I can't get enough of working down to the tiniest details. You can find something new every time you come back to it. Many works of art have a lot of ideas going on all at once, be they emotional, political, narrative, or historical. Just look at Jan Van Eyck’s Arnolfini Portrait or Maya Lin’s Vietnam Verterans Memorial and you can see art loaded with symbolism and feeling. It has become natural over the course of hundreds of years of art history that we then ask artists, “What does it mean?”

I get this question a lot, as I know other contemporary artists do, and in my case the art often contains a personal narrative. I guess I should not exactly say narrative. Sometimes there is a direct story line, but most of the time I’m just trying to express some complicated feeling about what it’s like to live, and work, and strive, and do, and yet just be human.

For example, one of the most commented upon pieces that I bring to art festivals and events is called “The I Behind the Mask.” It incorporates a lot of shapes and colors that I just happen to love, like paisley swirls and crisp, black ink details, but it is also meant to speak to that deep inner life that we all have. Thoughts left unspoken about what we would like to be in life. It’s the feeling that no matter how well someone knows us there is always be a part that is just out of reach or impossible to verbalize: the person behind that outside crust of body, speech, mannerisms, and actions.

We all have deep thoughts going on beneath the rolling stream of life. We go along in what we need to do each day and yet we’re all soulful, seeing and finding different meanings in our experiences. With this piece and the way it is titled, I hope it gives the viewer space to think about the “I” behind the person that we aren’t always hearing. It’s a place for the eyes to wander and think about that.


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