Don’t laugh, but tonight I sent a friend request to one of my favorite living artists. Peter Doig the painter. Around ten years ago I had a chance encounter with one of his paintings Gasthof zur Muldentalsperre. It was in the Art Institute of Chicago and the painting had a major impact on me (this is not the first time I’ve written about it). The two figures in it were unsettling to me, and while I loved was the big sky, the trees are what knocked my socks off. They looked as if they’d been painted and then wiped out. Paintings with layers of paint applied were not unusual to me, but a painting with wiped out parts? Incredible. It affected me on so many levels.
Will I geek out if he answers me? This shouldn’t be a problem because I’m really not into the celebrity thing. He’s an artist, I’m an artist. He’s famous and a millionaire, I’m…well, not. I already follow his work on Instagram, although I’m not faithful to that particular mode of social media. During the same trip to Chicago, I met several contemporary artists at the workshop I was in. Do Ho Suh and Kara Walker were two of my favorites, but I found myself tongue-tied when face to face with Walker. Yep, geeked out. I once sent an email to the estate of Alice Neel and got a wonderful response from one of her daughters-in-law. Just so you know, that was for a class assignment, because you know I’m not into that celebrity thing.
So why contact Mr. Doig? Because I’m in a painting class at the local university, working on a new series. I hope I’m expanding my horizons, and pushing the envelope, stepping out of my comfort zone (sorry for all the cliches) with my new pieces. It takes courage – for me, anyway. But that painting in Chicago gave me the opportunity to think about how artists can take chances, break the rules, make others think. Maybe I should thank him for that, along with others who have been so supportive.
Sneak preview of one of the new pieces. The series (one of two – aren’t I ambitious?) is of portraits based on selfies and other photos of friends, family and other strangers (just kidding) on social media.