A Portrait
In Fourteen Pieces

Artist's Statement
Animated Poems
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A Portrait
Eastern Traffic

This is a statement literally about a body of work, paintings of tattoos, piercings, and other body ornaments belonging to Susan Humphries, a friend and a wonderful performance artist who, too seldom develops group shows at King’s in downtown Raleigh. (Far too much of her time is spent as a social worker and administrator, a specialist with autistic adults.)

"Sideway Snowflakes." 24 in X 24 in, acrylic on canvas

The title-piece of the series, “Spiky Flower,” was her first major tattoo. It is a rendition of an early lithograph by M. C. Escher; his conception of neurons in the brain circa 1920. The title is his. Susan has the image tattooed on the back of her head. It was published in the Independent Weekly  (with a nasty caption), their 11/30/05 ed.

'Spiky Flower," 24 in X 24 in, acrylic on canvas

“Tri-Julia Set (Osama’s beard)” refers to a fractal, and a reference photo, a beautiful oil portrait of Osama bin Laden from a New York Times Magazine cover that I used to replicate pubic hair.

"Tri-Julia Set," 24 in X 24 in, acrylic on canvas

Others in the series are of piercings.

"Labret." 24 in X 24 in, acrylic on canvas

The rest of the pictures mostly reflect Susan’s eastern, Buddhist bent. One arm is of rememberances, in snowflakes.

I started using an airbrush with this series, influenced by Maude Gatewood’s work in acrylic. I haven’t yet been able to replicate her beautiful stippling effect, but find the airbrush still quite useful for under painting and painting soft edges. The piece, “Lacy Snowflake,” shows it best I think. It’s also a good example of how I struggled sometimes with the square format, to leave enough visual cues to orient the subject to the background, in this case, the tattoo to the body. "Lacy Snowflake," 24 in X 24 in, acrylic on canvas.

"Shiva" and "Lacy Snowflake"24 in X 24 in, acrylic on canvas