My Tudor period is still in full swing, although I am running out of additional reading material to explore. Whenever I go on a history binge, I like to put faces to the names of people I am reading about and, last time I was in London, I took a jaunt through the National Portrait Gallery, tucked to the back of the National Gallery on Trafalgar Square, with a list of Tudor subjects I wanted to check out up close and personal. Sure, my iPad satisfies my immediate visual cravings, but there is nothing like looking at a painting face to face.
I especially love portraits. A photo captures a subject in his or her reality while a painted portrait, or a sculpture, is mediated through the imagination, or sensibility, of an artist and the decisions he or she made while painting – what to highlight in a face, what to shade, which expression to immortalize. Portraiture through the centuries is also an interesting lesson in fashion and customs.
A while ago I came across a California-based artist by the name ofAndrew Myers. Andrew, who was born in Germany, raised in Spain and now resides in Laguna Beach (about an hour south of LA) draws and sculpts but also creates extraordinary portraits using screws.
Each work of art (which varies in size between 2’x2′ and 4’x6′) can take months to complete.
“First I do a drawing on wood. I then insert the screws at different depths and finally paint each screw head by hand. So it is a drawing, sculpture and painting all in one.” Andrew told Iheartartnyc (click to read full interview). The two-dimensional paintings achieve a depth of expression and a softness not normally associated with screws.
One of [Andrew]’s favorite memories was watching a blind man experience his work for the first time. As the man ran his hands over a large three-dimensional portrait tediously constructed with tens of thousands of screws over hundreds of man hours, his blank expression suddenly transformed into a warm smile. He could feel what others could only see (read full artist’s bio here).