Much of your sketch work involves a meditation on the human face, one not unlike your own. What made you choose this subject and how have your sketches evolved over the years?
They are much more complex now, and contain so many lines, marks, and crossroads that some can and perhaps should be read as maps — soul maps, ghost maps, spirit maps. Others are masks. Many are trees, or visions on cave walls. All are self-portraits — every last one of them. They are also poems and journal entries. From the beginning, the process has been entirely organic. By that I mean spontaneous and unschooled. Each drawing is a response to the moment. But I don’t try to draw the moment. The moment draws me. I am a participant, and also a witness. The brain does what the brain does, the hand does what the hand does, the eye does what the eye does, and I sit there and watch. Each session builds on those before it. The mind harvests, discards, and combines earlier results and technique as it sees fit, solving and creating new riddles as it goes, thereby moving the work forward. That’s also what I mean by organic. It has a life of its own.
From “Bricklayers, Buglers, and Veterinarians”
an Interview with William Michaelian
A Listening Thing
Tenth Anniversary Authorized Print Edition
March 4, 2011
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