Irma May Series

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A few years ago I saw a call for submission for illustrations for winter recipes of our own. I intended to explore it as a side project, but each illustration grown into a world of it’s own until I found myself developing a new series, Irma May. The name came to me arbitrary, the last name is my birth month.

The character of “Irma May” sprung from my grotesque paintings and a mélange of personal experiences. Now I realize the series is an optimized autobiography created by my subconscious as though I was looking back at me from the future; an autobiography I yet have to live. Irma gave me a frame to share my most intimate experiences and she gave me a license to expand in themes and form of expressions.

The call for illustration inspired a switch from

painting on canvas to work on paper. I solely used drawing for sketching and I felt very attached and private about them, my drawings felt as intimate as pages of a written journal. Irma broke this chain and demanded to be told in intricate graphite drawings silhouetted with a painted environment.

Behind the veil, nor here nor there

Since my best friend’s untimely passing I feel that everything in life is momentary; nothing is more important than THIS MOMENT.

Filled with confusing emotions of her almost tangible presence mixed with the innate emptiness that she left behind I let these paintings outpour of me. Right after her passing I visited Rome for the first time where my eyes became saturated with marble heads thru times… I saw stones, ruins and heads and more stones and some more ruins… and even more marble heads.

The faces on these paintings are just starring with wisdom, experience but also in a state of shock and curiosity. They blend into the environment but also keen to escape from it. 

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Works with Light Source

In my art in general the imagery is erected from memory, imagination and idealization. More and more often I ran into the challenges of my fading memory of the surrounding world of my subjects. I often would remember some details of physical shapes, angles or abstracted moods. As my story is always about the person, I started to put these experiences on loosely woven linen or burlap as the support of the painting.

 

Only the character is painted with uninterupted paint, as a result the surrounding was left without paint at places, where the light can go through.

These paintings are designed to be displayed off-the-wall, to allow the light chages be seen, the painting also changes, just like a memory might, while the character remains the same the circumstances around him or her find new forms.

 

Paintings with lightsource start with a charcoal scetch on plain linen, followed by a primer only under the character itself and only partially around his or her environment. The surrounding is left without solid paint where the remaining areas the light can go through. The changes in the background of the painting creates new viusal expreineces, it mimics different versions of our memories of the same event. 

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Details of the large scale drawings from the Irma May series.

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