Illustration Friday – 80’s

Here is my submission for Illustration Friday topic “80’s”. This is a piece I did in high school (circa 1986). And like most old things, this painting has a story attached to it.

I forget what I entitled this painting. Unfortunately, all I have left is this slide, which isn’t great. It was an acrylic painting with a chunk cut out of the canvas. Behind the canvas there was a portion of a face sculpted out of clay with a tear running down the cheek. The sculpture was painted a chalky white except for the eye which was painted in realistic colors (The dark spot is a dark shadow in the photo)

The rigid, folkart-ish painting of the girl represented her stiff, proper exterior. The selves that we try to project to others. While the sculpted face underneath represented the emotions and feelings that we keep to ourselves. Even though we may be smiling on the outside that’s not necessarily what lays just beneath the skin. This was my statement, my art. I was quite proud of it.

It was displayed at an art show at my high school that coincided with the spring band concert. All my friends parents and grandparents walked by and said, “oh… um… that’s nice dear. Did you add that extra clay bit because the canvas got ripped?” Okay, I thought, these are parents and grandparents. I didn’t expect these people to really understand the depths of my artistic soul.

Soon after that show, I took this piece and several others to a portfolio review for the Pennsylvania Goverenor’s School. The Goverenor’s School is a program where they choose one student from each county in the state to attend an intensive summer art workshop in Harrisburg. Needless to say, I really wanted to go. And surely the Goverenor’s School judges would understand real art.

I brought my artwork to Smethport along with lots of other kids and we all spread our work out on long tables. We stood next to our art as the judges walked through the room reviewing everyone’s work. When the judge came to my table I was ready. Finaly a kindred spirit. Someone who would recognize my art for the great masterpiece it was. The judge carefully looked at my work. He lingered over this particular piece. Then he asked me, “Did you add that extra clay bit because the canvas got ripped?”

“No,” I sighed, “it’s suppose to be like that.”

Incidently, I wasn’t chosen for the Goverenor’s School. (I was the alternate for my county.)