As part of the décor for the banquet room in our goddaughter’s Restaurant, Characters Gastropub in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, I’m beginning work on a new over sized portrait. The restaurant is decorated with many of my old Super Real powdered graphite and pencil drawings of motion picture characters from the 1980’s, as well as one 4’ x 10’ painting of Marilyn Monroe’s eyes. Now, Meghan has redone the banquet room and it is conspicuously without a single character.
I’ve spent several days thinking about the who/what/when/where of the new character, and after considering many of the male leads of the 1980’s to the present, I’ve decided on Leonardo DiCaprio. DiCaprio makes the most sense to me because he has managed to graduate from the male ingénue teenager and twenty something heartthrob to a genuine male lead in his middle years. And, he has not done the typical “bang-bang-shoot-um-kill-um-blow-it-up-blood-&-guts” genre that is the staple 21st Century American Hollywood motion picture. Instead he has chosen vehicles that require more thought on the part of the viewer, often images that portray nuanced characters in our history, and/or are the subjects of great literature.
I also know that I can use only photographs that are under copyright. I do not want to go through a lengthy process of contact, rejection and perhaps receiving permission for use. So, I will alter the images through many creative processes that allow use because they are too far removed from the original. I have about 40 images I’ve been playing with, and I will put some of the resultant altered images on this blog in order to demonstrate some of the playfulness involved in the creative process of one particular artist, "yours truly."
Playful image #1 is the compilation of two images. I used one of DiCaprio as J. Edgar Hoover, and another of him as “The Great Gatsby.” I put the two images into Photoshop and began removing chunks of each while layering them over top of the original complete images. I will also put these through other processes even though I’m quite sure I will not use the result for the actual painting. Though it has provided amusement it doesn’t portray either character very well. In fact, it is a bit frightening, which has nothing to do with the actual person, Leonardo DiCaprio. That being said, it is part of a process that will eventually result in the actual image I will use for the portrait.