How much of the artist is in a portrait? How do you make a portrait of someone you’ve never met or don’t know? These are some of the challenges inherent in making a portrait. Understandably, there must be a sensitivity to the subject. Portraiture is not a genre. It is a way of thinking. Coming very close to someone else but staying outside of them at the same time.
What I am doing is projecting an idea about the person. The artist’s point of view is inescapable. I look for a general quality that goes through the individual while striving to make the portrait as individual and mysterious as the person himself. I am unveiling to the public the person’s private self.
If the subject is not available for sittings, I spend considerable time looking at photographs and video of him or her. Video especially gives me an understanding of the dynamic shape of the individual in three-dimensions. Close observation always precedes sculpting.
I am not interested in sculpting buttons and shoelaces and veins in forearms. These details are not necessary in bringing forth the individual’s character. My goal is to work within the tradition of classical sculptural language, of form and plane, to create a work of visual strength and power.
– Geemon Xin Meng