If a picture is worth a thousand words, then a portrait is worth a thousand stories. My characters come to me the way a novelist's characters do: they form themselves through the creative process and tell me who they are. I strive to make each face unique and convey the life that that person has lived, solely through their look and expression.
In my current work, I paint on worn paintbrushes, many which have been donated by other artists. The faces are inspired by Roman mummy portraits, Old Master paintings, and any other source that speaks to me. Each face is unique and not a copy. These fun little paintings have the charm of hand mirrors, reflecting back our deepest selves.
Painting soft faces on the hard tools, like axes and cleavers, underscores our humanity. The intended purpose of each tool, juxtaposed with the portrait, alludes to inner motivations and social roles. The "old souls" on shovels, remind us of mortality and resurrection. Each of my personae has a set of dreams, disappointments, psychology and baggage. In other words, they are us.
An Interview with Alexandra Dillon.
Who and where are you from?
I am Alexandra Dillon and I was born in Los Angeles, California.
What brought you to Art?
I started making art as a little girl and I never stopped!
How did you come up with the idea to do portraits on paintbrushes?
When a fire consumed the studio of a fellow artist, other artists were invited to make art from the burned remnants for a show. I took the burned paintbrushes. As soon as I painted a portrait on one brush, I knew I had created something special.
Where do you find your objects to paint on?
I comb through flea markets for old tools and other objects. The dresses come from the local thrift stores. Most of the paint brushes have either come from my own studio or have been donated by other artists.
How do come up with the portraits you create on paintbrushes?
I am a classically trained artist, and I can do actual portraits, but I prefer to let my imagination take the lead. My imagined portraits probably resemble people who have lived, now or sometime in the past. My characters come to me the way a novelist's do: they show up and tell me who they are. I don't begin with a fixed idea. As I work on each face, a personality emerges, and I try to imagine what kind of life they lead. They are all strong people who have resolve. I have always been interested in painting the human drama and I strive to make faces that convey a sense of the intelligence, desires and personality of that person. When the piece is done, they tell me their name.
What is your driving force?
I just have a need to create everyday. Otherwise I would be bored.
What techniques do you use to make the art?
I work in both oils and acrylics, sometimes both depending on my mood.
You call your style “psychological realism” What does that mean?
The psychology I refer to is both the psychology of the viewer and that of the characters I create. The intense gaze of the paintbrush portraits is engaging, and their shape is reminiscent of a hand-mirror. In that way, they become a reflection on self-hood. The tools, as I said are about hidden emotions.
What do you hope your audience will take away from your work?
I hope that people find my work to be provocative, amusing, beautiful and life-affirming. I like taking something that has already had one life and giving it a new one. All the rust, old paint, and other signs of its use, are like the scars we all bear, both psychologically and physically. They show a life that has been well-lived.
Tell us more about your thought process.
I don't start with a fixed idea, I just start painting and the characters come to me.
What art inspires you?
I love art from all ages, especially the Roman-Egyptian mummy paintings, Baroque portraits, Renaissance and 19th century works. Aside from just loving the style of those paintings, old portraits show us that human beings are essentially the same as they have been for centuries. I like that continuity. And I adore very ancient art. One of my most cherished memories was visiting the cave paintings in Southern France. I am also inspired by outsider and folk art, which comes from such a pure place in the human soul.
Your work on axes, cleavers, locks, and other tools is beguiling. Can you tell us more about that?
AD: I think the juxtaposition of the face on the metal tools points to the unseen motivations of those personalities. Sometimes a pretty face is really hiding a sharp and aggressive emotion, or an eye reveals the feeling of being locked in relationship. It’s the combination of the tool’s intended purpose, plus the portrait that creates the meaning. I'm continuing to explore this area of my work.
Please share with us the one modern artist whose work you find Interesting and why?
There are so many incredible artists!!! I hate to choose. I like the paintings of Ryan Mosley They are full of character.
Website :- http://www.alexandradillon.com/
Instagram :- www.instagram.com/alexandradillonartist
Facebook :- www.facebook.com/alexandradillonart
All Images are copyright by: Alexandra Dillon