An Egon Schiele Homage of Mine


I’ve been going through some of my old artwork to pull pieces for a show I am having at Barbara Mendes Gallery (opens July 17th 2012 – facebook event here.) I came across this piece which I still like, which I figured I’d share here (though I don’t plan to include it in the show):

Michelle Mascarenhas and Self Portrait, ink and watercolor on paper, 20 March 1999, about 9″x12″

It’s a portrait of Michelle, my girlfriend at the time, done with inspiration from this piece below. 

This is one of my favorite pieces by one of my favorite artists:

Drawing by Egon Schiele, 1910

Egon Schiele (1890-1918 – pronounced SHEE-leh) was an Austrian expressionist. If you’re not familiar with his work, please check it out. Charged, tense, often erotic, voyeuristic, it’s some of the boldest and most confident lines in any art. I don’t necessarily consciously copy Schiele all the time, but I am very influenced by his work… and would love to draw more like he did. He did a lot of portaits which included hands – so I’ve ended up often including hands into my portraits (for examples.)

Schiele’s 1910 drawing of a nude, her reflection and his self-portrait is… well… crazy wonderful. I love that the mirror is understated – not really depicted, except that it’s where the self-portrait has to come from. He’s sitting fairly close to the model, which makes for dynamic differences in scale between her, her reflection and him. Having the model face the mirror makes it somehow more dynamic, too. His self-portrait shows him working, drawing… so it’s sort of self-conscious – an artist doing art about art.  An all too common theme, and not often done well.

What a great Schiele piece!

In comparison, my drawing of Michelle and myself is rather staid. Having her face me means that her reflection in the mirror is just her back, so, while it’s there, it doesn’t lend much to the composition. It looks more like two people, where Schiele’s looks like three.

Nonetheless, I still like my piece – and it still is about both the model, Michelle, and my process of drawing her.

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