Painting heads has been a decade-long project with over 650 extant examples. I call the pictures “heads,” as they are not true portraits, but representations of types, or the impression that a sitter or observed person projects. They range from informal sketches to wildly abstract versions of the real and imagined.
Most of the head paintings were made on iPhone or iPad using various painting apps. The impetus to use digital mobile devices to make art came from Mr. Harris’s longtime friend and colleague, Patricio Villarroel-Bórquez, a legendary musician and artist based in Paris.
The book Painting Heads is a teaser for a more complete volume that will contain the cream of over 700 heads made over the last decade.
Porcelain Sculptural Teapot. Sculpture and dress design original. Handmade using slab technique. Painted using custom mixed Coyote underglazes, sequins are “dots” of slip. Two firings at cone 11. Signed on the sole of her shoe. 15″ tall.
After Ki Woon Huh, my Korean master ceramics teacher accidentally broke my laboriously constructed and painted piece, Bouteille de Parfum, he made a copy from my drawings. My version was slab made, Ki Woon used the wheel and expertly bent the clay into the complex shape. The result was a much lighter piece which has been drying for five months in the studio.
After I finished painting Kneeling Woman, he asked me to decorate the new Bouteille de Parfum. Because the porcelain was so dry, it was not possible to make a wet transfer from a cartoon drawn on calque, I had to draw the cartoon freehand directly on the clay with a pencil. The drawings are different than the first version and are derived from newer pen, ink & wash drawings from my Night Book series. Below are the four views of the new Bouteille de Parfum with the cartoon drawn on the clay. The piece is a little smaller than the original. It is ~12″ wide and 16″ tall.
Here is the piece painted. It still needs a bisque firing and then a firing with the over glaze.
I go to a Korean Master Potter’s twice a week for two hours and make porcelain objects. (Many examples on this blog.) In April of this year, I designed and constructed a large, 20″ x 24″ oblate spheroidal vessel, ironically named Bouteille de Parfum. It took about eight hours to construct. Since it is totally asymmetrical, it was not thrown on a wheel but painstakingly constructed from 1″ wide slabs. When nearly finished I took a photo of it in the studio.
After some discussion, including not painting or decorating it at all, I was pressured to cover it with drawings from my Nightbook Project. It was a laborious process, which I finished about a month ago—July 2017. Last week—August 11, 2017, my master gave it a preliminary bisque firing. I found many places where the paint needed touching up. I spent last Tuesday doing that. Last Friday I was ready to finish touching up and then apply the overglaze. Before I started painting, my master, said he wanted to blow the dust out of the inside of the piece. Alas, when he put the compressed air hose in the spout of the “bottle,” it blew out of his hand and smashed on the stone floor.
He was devastated. I was upset but kept up a jovial demeanor saying, “Well, master, all pottery eventually breaks. Some just sooner than others.” While he was walking around feeling bad, I gathered the shards and took this photo of the resulting assemblage. A cubist Bouteille de Parfum.
I telephoned him on Saturday and told him I wanted to take the pieces to make the above as a real 3-D sculpture. He said he’d already ground them to dust. I am now double bummed.
I have added ink pen to my drawing tools. I am using an Arts Hybrid Technica 0.3mm pen by Pentel. I’ve also rediscovered my Shaeffer 585 gold nib medium-fine fountain pen. This pen was a gift from a music composition teacher. For years, even after e-mail, I wrote 90% of my correspondence with this pen. Shaeffer black ink. (Not permanent).
There’s a certain harrowing esthetic with all the dark lines that I’m enjoying at the moment. The subject matter remains at the intersection of sleep and wakefulness where images, (erotic, mundane, and terrifying) meld into a surreal gumbo of lines.