Tuesday, February 23, 2010

The Late Great Martin Doheny

I was commissioned before Christmas to make a portrait of my friends granddad who sadly passed away last year. I had no intention of taking on anymore portrait commissions as I am always asked to change style or fit a certain look to suit the client and this is something that really bothers me. But I have known my friend Martin for years since school and as long as I have known him he has never been anything but a gent. In this regard the same is said for his grandad who the portrait is of, so I felt it a privilage to take on. I only met him twice in his life and I always remember he had a really colourful presence. He wasnt a man who stood quietly to the back, he had a tough shell built around a massive heart and anytime I met him he was always leaning on a wall or gate with one arm drapped over it. Like a true granddad!
I never met any of my grand parents, they fled hearing the news I was coming into the world knowing I would be demanding toys and sweets. But I always wish I had met them and I always envy friends who still have them in their life. Im most likely gonna end up stealing friends grand parents so be warned.
I think reflecting on this absense in my life made making  this portrait a little more special and not like the rest. I saw a lot of my dad in the lines as I drew them out and the whole creating of the piece put me in another place.
Its a strange feeling getting to know someone you met briefly through drawing their portrait. Working from photographs and word of mouth. Finding out who they were through someone else. None of it is direct so you have to really imagine what it was like to know this person. I always think a real portrait is not in the likeness of the face but in the body languge. How a person holds themselves, where they put their hands, their stance. Also its the envirnoment around them. It reflects who they are in life. Thats why I hate those street artist portraits. So stiff and sucked of life and feeling.  I always think they are like how your mind who quickly draw a portrait after bumping into someone in on a busy street, you only take in so much. Why anyone would have their portrait drawn on the street is beyond me. Take a photo its much better and less of a tacky novelty. Your asking a stranger to draw you as you sit very self concious and uncomfortable on a busy street looked at the passing flocks. How the hell is that meant to result in a picture that is in essence a true you? I say fuck that! OH MY GOD...That guy drew Johnny Depp and Brad Pitt wit a wonky eye ...i want him to draw me!!! Nahhhh its like funfair art.
I sat in my studio one night for hours looking at pictures of this man trying to find out what he was about. He had a grandchild who was in every picture with him and it was clear this was his little king in life. In the finished piece i put a little bird with a crown beside him to represent his little king who also passed away before his granddad. I know he loved his horses and working away on his land. He took pride in what he built for his family.

I think its a Dohney trademark to have the shirt collar wide open bearing some mean chest hair and this Im sure has been passed down from Martin Snr. I composed the piece so he is almost leaning out from the frame to show his presense is still strong. Got a pretty funky horse in the background(I havent drawn a horse in years I found it pretty tough) and of course I had to throw in a subtle wheely for which an empire is built on.
I wont be taking on anymore personal portraits as I am dedicating all my time to my personal work and the Little Ghost Gallery. Julien, Jasmin & little Lila do not worry your picture was started last night. Julien you just keep looking like Fox Mulder so I keep changing it up. Damn you!!!

My posts aint usually this long Im just in a typy mood today. Hope ye dig the piece and enjoy it as much as I did making it.