Where Portraits Come From

I painted this picture in the 1980’s because this boy was a very attractive little Asian-American child and I wanted to paint a picture of him.

But it became something else when I added the soldier’s helmet with the bullet hole in it.

It was the closest thing I ever did to something politically controversial. I was accused of making an anti-war picture… in Texas where you don’t disrespect a soldier. And the Viet Nam Conflict was still very much on people’s minds in the 80’s.

This is a Dickensian illustration. Bob Cratchit and Tiny Tim. The boy was actually the son of a school secretary and grandson of a math teacher. Bob was modeled after a stand-up comic that I had a magazine picture of.

This reptilian fellow appeared in my dreams when I was twelve. He didn’t actually pose for me. I used a National Geographic picture to help me get the head right.

Grade-school me was the model for this one. I made it from an old school picture.

This is actually a portrait of Manuel. He was a seventh grader in 1984. Seventh Grade Language Arts, A-minus student and excellent oral reader.

This sweet child was actually a green-eyed brunette and holding a tub of autumn leaves in the original photograph.

There’s a lot of portraits in this picture. They are all from photographs, except for three imaginary faces. Charlie Chaplin and Jackie Coogan were both in a black-and-white photo from The Kid. And the skeleton was made of plastic.

This is Black Timothy, dressed all in red. This is pretty close to what he actually looks like. Of course, he’s imaginary.

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Filed under artwork, Paffooney

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