The Internal Portrait

'Beautiful Beloved'
©Zian Silverwolf
When I used to paint portraits, the clients always wanted to see themselves and loved ones in a specific emotional environment or state of being. Every now and then, I'd get lucky (like the portrait left) where I got to choose how to portray them, what feeling and essence would be instilled in the work. For example, this painting 'Beautiful Beloved' was commissioned by the girlfriend as a gift for the boyfriend. I saw this as an opportunity to 'bless' their relationship, and used the most eternal bond in fantasy that there is - the vampiric mythology - to depict them as soul mates in the most potent sense of the word. Needless to say, they are now happily married with children.

In recent times, I'm not as passionate about portraiture that is about the outside - seeing one's own face in a certain way, in a certain setting, yes, we all love being able to view ourselves through a particular lens, we all want to see what everyone else sees. But what about the qualities that no one sees?

Fantasy art has always been the metaphor for human existence - so many things in the emotional and spiritual world that are explored uniquely through fantastic imagery; images that inspire, reflect, drive and motivate others in a fashion that is completely about the individual. Whether it's about the inner child, feelings they relate to, experiences they want to have, or the story that drives them into a new personal future - I see this an opportunity for real portraiture - imagery chosen by the client to reflect their internal world, and thus the eternal in them.

Every person who has ever bought art from me, bought it because it meant something to them - there was a  profound recognition of themselves in the image that was impossible for them to be without. At times, I have even gifted some of my work to someone who wanted it so much but didn't have the means to acquire it, because that's the main motivation behind my art - images that inspire the sense of self.

It's that look in their eye, the way the face simply glows with personal recognition - the kind of recognition that will never be found on the outside from ordinary life;  the way we all strive to appreciate ourselves beyond the judgement of the world. The most powerful way for me to show someone themselves is to share work with them that is relative and relevant to them personally, emotionally, spiritually.  To me, that's a magical kind of portrait.

Unless they want one of their dog.....
'Mother and Child'
©Zian Silverwolf