What started as a portrait of my fiancee, turned into the creation of red headed raven demigod. The major transition took place after I came down with a cold, which I stubbornly ignored, and continued to stand and paint for hours on end. This led to overworking everything, especially the face. Frustrated and disappointed, I let it sit for a week before returning to it with sandpaper in hand, and completely removing the head. I then replaced her head with that of a red raven, and added more tattoos than she actually has.
The tattoos have become a new focus since my piece “Prodigal Return,” which depicts a fully tattooed woman. The question comes up routinely as to whether or not she actually has all those tattoos, to which the answer is yes. Although I am still interested in painting portraits of tattooed models, it is the combination of my story telling that I’m more interested in. The “collaboration” of the models, the tattoo artists, and myself will add an entirely new and interesting layer to the mythologies I am creating.
The raven is a recurring character based on the Trickster of North Western Native American mythology. I grew up with my mother reading me stories from all over the world, but she was particularly fond of those of Native American cultures. The raven always stuck out in my mind, and continues to be of great importance in my life. My raven remains the Trickster, present in many mythologies around the world, another aspect of the self. It is responsible for pushing us beyond our comfort zone, despite our realization or not. It is neither good nor bad, but never fond of banality.