Baller 1, January 2022
Mixed media on canvas board (unframed)
40cm x 50cm x .5cm
Baller 2, January 2022
Oil paint on un-stretched linen,
34.5cm x 37cm
My almost 14-year-old man child is a beautiful and scary unit. Full of himself and his newfound power over inanimate objects such as basketballs. Full of his own potential; the potency of his words and his implied physical power over other beings: friends, enemies, girls, or his own very small mother. Power for both good and bad implicit in his posturing. It’s all about attitude and attitude is what 14-year-old boys have.
Strutting and imposing, he can also be fun loving, empathetic, vulnerable, and grounded. And Oby is ‘one of the good ones’ or so I am told. I am reminded that all children (not just boys) can be both lovely and horrible creatures; innocent and caring and fickle and heartless.
And it has often occurred to me that all the trouble in the world comes from men between 14-25 years old (I would like to think they grow out of it, but I’m not so sure when I look at the world. Maybe they just get better at concealing and controlling the contradictory sides of their natures. Maybe that’s why the powerful ones are mostly hypocrites and liars? Or maybe power doesn’t corrupt but brings to the forefront these innate ways of operating?).
In these two paintings the figure of the baller and the context of the figure are therefore purposely vague. He could be my child, or anyone’s child. He could be your child. He could be holding a basketball or a bomb. He could be in my backyard, your street or someone else’s city (in Eastern Europe perhaps). Either way, he is the GOAT. In these paintings I was looking for a feeling of movement, overt cockiness and latent aggression rather than sporting greatness (writing this makes me reflect that sporting greatness and the aforementioned attributes often go hand in hand, but that’s another post/ painting possibly about women in sport).
I was also experimenting with surfaces, un-stretched and untreated linen in one, mixed media on canvas board in the other.