Two Walt Whitman Poster Portraits

(L) Walt Whitman 1860s (R) Walt Whitman in 1854
“Walt Whitman, 1854,” 23 1/2″ x 22 1/2″, India Ink
“Walt Whitman, 1860s,” 23″ x 22″, India Ink

“Walt Whitman, 1854” is based on a daguerreotype portrait that was probably used to model the face of Whitman for the iconic, illustrated frontispiece of Leaves of Grass in 1855. It’s my favorite photograph of Whitman because it does not conform to the grandpa Walt archetype. My rendering of this daguerreotype tells the story of the terror of working with india ink, as well as its pleasures. Terror: the undiluted shadow on the side of his nose; I doubted if I should continue after that error. Pleasure: the pointed shape on the cheek, a spontaneous, and unplanned arc of ink that I could not make so well if I had planned it beforehand. For me, working with ink is about letting it do what it wants, to not force it. The pleasure of this kind of work is some unpredictability. “Walt Whitman, 1860s” is based on a Matthew Brady photograph that was probably taken in 1862 or 1863. I generally struggle with capturing a likeness of the bearded Whitman but beard textures and shadows are fun to explore with ink.

The rest of my posted pictures here.

“Coffee is Beautiful,” 1-3

“Coffee is Beautiful #1”, 6/23/21, 3 feet by 2 feet, India Ink.
“Coffee is Beautiful #2”, 6/23/21, 3 feet by 2 feet, India Ink.
“Coffee is Beautiful #3”, 6/23/21, 3 feet by 2 feet, India Ink.

I did this series for an art class I am taking with Jay Bailey. The prompt was to represent everyday beauty. I was interested in being as gestural as possible, to simplify forms and shapes, including my likeness. The whimsy of the “keep on trucking” spaceman is purely coincidental (I have a t-shirt with that image on it). I made 8 posters total but these three were the ones that seemed the most realized and balanced.

The rest of my posted pictures here.

India Ink Rock and Roll Band Posters

Let It Be (The Beatles) 30 1/2″ by 23″
Eminence Front (The Who) 22 1/2″ by 31 1/2″
“Eminence Front” underdrawing, with soundtrack.

India ink, straight outta the bottle on a brush is pretty exciting. I used to find it terrifying because of how unforgiving of error it is but I’ve come to love it. As with wet media, you cannot control it completely and what appears upon application radically transforms the underdrawing. You don’t really know what you’re going to get even when you’re happy with your underdrawing (or unhappy with it). For a year now I’ve been using cheap rolls of construction paper to make my posters. It somehow seems right, it works.