Stephen Mangum

Cal­i­for­nia, USA, Con­stance, oil, 80 x 64"

International Artist - - Art Challenge -

My In­spi­ra­tion

To me, the pur­pose of art is to com­mu­ni­cate. Through my large-scale por­traits, I at­tempt to com­mu­ni­cate hope, to rekin­dle the hu­man spirit through a cel­e­bra­tion of real peo­ple. Con­se­quently, I am al­ways watch­ing for po­ten­tial sub­jects that demon­strate char­ac­ter and hu­man­ness. Con­stance is the host­ess in a restau­rant near the Whit­ney in New York City. My wife and I were hav­ing a glass of wine at the bar af­ter see­ing the Toyin Ojih Odu­tola ex­hibit last Novem­ber. I saw Con­stance across the room and was taken by her com­mand, con­fi­dence and the wild hair that seemed to ac­cen­tu­ate her bold pres­ence. I ap­proached her and asked if I could paint her. She read­ily agreed and sub­se­quently posed for dozens of pho­tos.

My De­sign Strat­egy

My goal is not like­ness, but live­li­ness and char­ac­ter. I want the au­di­ence to feel the pres­ence of the sub­ject as well as read their emo­tions. I de­sign the com­po­si­tion with a nod to Fi­bonacci while also em­ploy­ing di­ag­o­nals and pyra­mids to en­able move­ment and em­pha­sis. Color strat­egy cen­ters around the mood I am seek­ing to con­vey and to en­able the use of color tem­per­a­ture and light to bring the paint­ing to life. I strive for econ­omy in mark mak­ing, lim­it­ing de­tail to only key fea­tures or ges­tures. Above all, I want the paint­ing to be a vis­ual feast, which does not mean that it is abun­dant or loaded with de­tails, but that it elic­its an emo­tional re­sponse from the viewer.

My Work­ing Process

Start­ing with ref­er­ence im­ages from a photo shoot, I se­lect one and load it into Pho­to­shop for crop­ping and to ma­nip­u­late light and color to achieve the ef­fect I am look­ing for. I block in on stretched li­nen, start­ing with ba­sic lines and land­marks, then de­velop a monochro­matic un­der­paint­ing to con­firm de­tails, build vol­ume and es­tab­lish val­ues. I use the un­der­paint­ing as a value guide for di­rect alla prima paint­ing rather than a base layer for an in­di­rect paint­ing. Once I move on to color, I paint the back­ground first so when I be­gin to paint the fig­ure I have im­me­di­ate vi­su­al­iza­tion of the color rel­a­tiv­ity. Af­ter the en­tire sur­face has been re­painted in color, I’ll make cor­rec­tions and add fi­nal de­tails.

Con­tact De­tails


Web­site: www.stephen­

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