I’ve been looking at artists that reference film within their work in an attempt to understand why I use film within my work and what role it plays within my work.
I know that I really like the idea of capturing a moment within a film and transferring that into paint. An artist that I found who does this is called Elly Smallwood. She is really effective at capturing that moment that can be felt within film and putting it into paint/charcoal. She primarily works with portraits from the shoulders up but also dabbling with figurative style. This appeals to me because I want to expand on my life drawing/figure drawing and I also want to include this more within my work.
The expression on the image above really attracts me. The pose, the mark making, everything about it suggests movement which also suggests a moment being captured.
As well as images like this, Smallwood also takes her inspiration from porn films for her sketches and paintings. This really intrigues me. There is something quite personal, intimate but also distant about using stills from porn films. You’re capturing an intimate moment between 2 (possibly more, depends what you’re into) people and that is quite interesting to me; seeing a person be so free in that moment. All they are is in that moment and nothing else matters, it’s largely uninterrupted by outside influences. I’m not interested in using the entire scene of the film, but rather cutting close on the persons face within that moment. We don’t know what else is happening in the scene, as I will only be capturing the person facial expressions within that moment, that is quite intriguing to me. Deliberately leaving out certain bits of the image, that could be crucial to the understanding of the image, so as to leave some room for the viewer to use their imagination in the understanding of the image. It’s quite important to me that I leave room in the image for the viewer to put themselves in the image, or to understand it in terms of their own knowledge. After researching the sublime for my dissertation, I came to the conclusion that this is a aspect to the sublime.
I’d like to try to achieve the sublime in my work, although I don’t really think it’s something you can achieve. I think exploiting certain bits of information in an image and ignoring others is a good starting point to exploring the sublime within my practice. And by using porn films/porn stills, films which have a lot of weight to them, it would be interesting to explore painting these films stills. Film stills, in any sense, inform my work to no end. The context of the scene, the colours of the still, the facial features of the protagonist, the position of the face, all factors into me picking a film still.