The High Renaissance was an era in art history when artists revived the classical past by referring to antiquity and saved arts direction from the Gothic Dark Ages. Artists like; Leonardo, Michelangelo, Raffaello, and Durer gave strength to uplift spirits and provided hope to citizens during economic crises and disease epidemics by creating images of man as a divine character based on Greek or Christian Mythology.
As an undergraduate, I created self-portraits, drew from sculptures and reproduced works from the old masters, and I did all this to work as a Renaissance artist worked. During critiques, commentators viewed my art as unoriginal and suggested that my art should be more conceptualized. As discouraged as I felt towards making conceptional art I knew I had to react to this comment.
I created a themed body of work called the Birth of the Jester, with the depiction of myself as the court jester performing for a King. At first, the jester character was to a statement of individuality by masking my identity to please a social group for acceptance. However, as the work grew I decided to target a youthful population that also felt unaccepted to their social groups due to bullying, poverty, shyness, ugliness and mental disabilities. Two years later I explored a new theme that speaks about wisdom, purity, and health that was influenced by my visit to a retrospective by Michelangelo.
That following winter I attended the Michelangelo Draftsman retrospective at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. I felt the presence of the Renaissance artist due to the imagery of humans as spiritual beings, and at the same time, I reflected what my teachers stressed during my years at school which was pushing arts representational boundaries. I felt that this experience had given me confirmation that a great artist is not one that needs to be the next new modern theorist but one that pays tribute to artists that come before him and creates with a positive tone.
I started a new body of work, a theme of my interpretation of reading the Holy Bible. These works comprised of drawings, oil paintings, and intaglio prints. I call this theme the Garden, which illustrates my interpretation of the garden of Eden. In this body of work, I depicted myself as every character; Adam, God, the serpent and Eve. I created moments frozen in time that illustrates imagery of temptation, regret, disappointment, and judgment. I plan to continue this theme and incorporate video work and performances, with the content of me dressed up as the Renaissance artist at work and talking about what is an artist’s purpose in the year of 2018? Is it transforming his or her art to please a contemporary social group? Alternatively, does it mean to be humble and follow the studies left behind from the old masters? The Renaissance was considered contemporary in their day, and I plan to be contemporary in my day as long it pays tribute to a classical era.