Remember me on this computer
Hillel Kagan
About this artwork
Title
Head (self portrait)
Materials
oil on canvas
Dimensions
h.76cm w.61cm d.0cm
Completed
Dec 1994
Artist

Hillel's Description: From time to time I use myself as a model, afterall I'm cheap and available.

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Comments
Kristina

Dear Mr. Kagan, since you are awake now . . . . I wanted to communicate to you that I am your fan, yes yes . . . . . even when you sleep . . . . .
I have been thinking which of your paintings I like most, so that I can say it to the whole world ! I can’t make up my mind. I like them all and each time I look at them I like them differently. In practice to communicate this I have make my choice . . . and here it is. I would like to think this is your expression while reading this comment (suspicious ….)

In Italian I would say “ma quanto sei forte???”

Hillel

Nice painting - did I do it?
Kristina, I am your fan as well. (Hint for those of you who haven't done it yet) As you can see, all it takes is a few admiring words and I will become your everlasting fan.
You're a good painter Kristina. However "strength" as you put it comes from construction. Draw an "S" freehand. Now construct an "S" - two interconnected circles, the base circle slightly larger than the upper one. Then draw the S on top of the lines of construction. Now draw the S without drawing the lines of construction underneath but feel them to be there. You will notice that the S drawn with the construction in mind is stronger than the first freehand S you drew.That's my lesson for the day.
"Just when I thought I was out... they pull me back in." Michael Corleone (The Godfather: Part III) Really, I just want to go back to sleep.

Kristina

Philip K. Dick would say to Michael Corleone:
“There is no route out of the maze. The maze shifts as you move through it, because it is alive. ”

Dear Hilel, I hope this email also finds you awake at least just the time to quickly say thanks for the lesson and to acknowledge this new reciprocal-fan-feeling, I’m sure it will take us somewhere.

As soon as I can I will upload my homework: my first “S”.

JP

First I must congratulate Patricia and Kristina on their success in evoking a response from you. I've been attempting that in vain for the past year. It seems you'll only answer when the ladies are up and about and curious, but sure we won't hold that against you. A second plaudit for Kristina for her choice of painting. This self-portrait is a real cracker, and will be there in testament when we're all long gone. And lastly for her willingness to challenge - I've the impression she's also serious about not letting you idle (the ladies hate it when we're being the lazy bums we are), so I'm paying for a front row seat in this particular contest. Go Kristina!

Kristina

Jp are you trying to join our fan Club?

JP

Kristina, I'd never even think of intervening between your artistic têtê-a-têtê, but I'm ever curious to see if you can manage to elicit a response from the man himself. I may be unfortunately mistaken, but I have the idea that you're prepared to stand up to the master, and challenge him directly on his own words. Personally, I'd love to see him take interest in this, and I do so want to witness the outcome. He obviously doesn't realize it, but it has great importance to many of us on this site - he being one of the one of the great protagonists, and the example for us all. Fingers crossed for him to give - yet more - and yet again!

Hillel

First Patricia, then Kristina, naturally being of a suspicious nature I felt the hidden Machiavellian hand of our fearless leader (he hates when I call him that). Perhaps I was wrong but no matter. When I made my simplistic comment about the "S" I was trying to steer the conversation back to where I think it belongs, the making and constructing of art, the pure discipline of it and away from the usual banal "I love it" comments. I would have thought that there would be an outcry communicating that everyone knows the very basic idea of constructing as easy a form as an S and what an arrogant prick this guy is and who does he think he is with his stupid lessons, et al.

But judging from comments and much of the work I see I think many people believe they can just buy material and push paint around and as luck would have it come up with images that express the depth of their souls.

Screw the souls and forget about feelings, learn to see and to construct and de-struct because that is what art making is all about. It's about taking apart and putting together in 2 dimensional form or sculptural form what is seen. And this is your ammo whether your into representational or abstract art. What makes art important or lasting in the end will be the depth of your soul and the extent of your feeling but it is not something that can be forced, it is either there or not.

So back to the S, as basic a lesson as there can be, but an important one, try it out, many people never have. Feel the difference between constructed form and willy nilly mark making.

I look forward to Kristina's uploads so we can move on to other aspects of art making like avoiding cliche and how cliche is the enemy of art. For instance the cliche of constructing an S with two interlocking circles.

Kristina

Dear Hilel, unfortunately I am real and our fearless leader didn't really plan this and more than that I don't even think he can control all this at this stage. So the S is really meant to come from somewhere .... Free or constructed deep or superficial or hopefully both.... Who knows.... I guess I now need some time to wake up ....

JP

I remember constructing S's (and a's, b's and c's) way back in history when lots of art students made money by sign writing names on shopfronts, trucks etc. It was all done freehand with a minimum of measurement. The perfection of computers killed off that industry in an instant. Pity. Nothing like a well crafted hand-painted sign to my mind. I wonder how all those fine art painting students earn a few bob these days? Anyway, never mind that. Kristina has been busy doing her S exercise here LINK. I wonder will the maestro return to comment on progress made?
I know it's bad manners to hijack someone else's discussion but I wanted to say that I think I'm doing a type of S too LINK. Ok sorry, that's not interesting, and this is Kristina's party after all, I know, I know.
Regarding fearless leaders - unfortunately this site is a bit of a headless monster, and sometimes I wish we did have that leader you mention. He or She might just be able to apply some drive and vision, and have us arrive somewhere a bit more significant than where we are here and now.
The real reason I'm writing this is because of that giveaway sentence of the maestro on cliché in the practice of art making, and how to avoid it. I happen to be very interested in this particular theme, as I see tired cliché in art all around, and would dearly like to avoid it in my own work.
So Kristina - please continue with your S's and move onto the next lessons so I can learn a bit too as you go along.

Hillel

I really didn't mean this to be some kind of lesson and it was not a criticism of Kristina's work, I believe she thinks it was but that's not the case. She said something about this (my) painting being strong and I was trying to answer her as to why some people find some aspects of my work to be powerful. Nor did I want her to start making S paintings but there are some interesting things that might come out of furthering the discussion. It's not just Kristina's party, It was my idea that everyone should join the discussion and JP's studio log project is certainly relevant. Once again I want people to feel how the constructed S (mentally projected) is stronger, that is all I wanted to get across.

I have seen Kristina's work studio log S painting where she has inadvertently brought up the figure ground problem into her work and therefore pictorial depth which is probably throwing her a bit. And as mentioned above I have taken a look at JP's art log project and will have something to say about both when I can think straight. Mean time I am trying to figure out how to do this on AP and get across what I have mind. So I will get back to you on the studio log pages shortly.

Kristina

Dear Hillel: lesson or not what you say is true, I simply take it as something real . . . the party is open to everybody of course, let’s hope to get drunk all together. And I wouldn’t mind insisting on the S at this point so I will wait to hear your “powerful something”.

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