Face Making

Le blog de l’artiste peintre franco-américaine Gwenn Seemel. Les articles sont en anglais et en français, et souvent ils sont bilingues.

I won’t shut up.

2017 . 09 . 06 - Comments / Commentaires (8)

We may like to think we can control other people’s behavior, but we can only ever control our own.

Art is both communication and self-expression, but, like many artists, I am more comfortable in one mode than the other. I’m a communicator; I listen to my audience a lot so that I can fine tune the way I communicate with them.

To make my Tiki torch Trump portrait, I went away from my usual mode—something that I talked about in this video about the making of. And though I’m glad I made that piece, I’m excited to now be making a presidential portrait that will allow me to communicate more. 

Trump as a Tiki torch

screenshot of Facebook conversation

Art is not in the interpretation—or, at least, it isn’t solely in the interpretation. Rather, art is in the intentions of both the maker and the appreciator.

In this case, the appreciator is someone who feels betrayed by me. They supported my art for years, but in that time they failed to actually see who I am. Instead, they cast me in a role, and when I deviated from that role they freaked out.

To truly love another person is to help them be who they are, not who you’ve decided they should be. A lot of Trump supporters don’t understand this. They need to look again at the way they “love” others. Because if you are just trying to help everyone fit neatly into the boxes you’ve decided are correct, you are not loving people: you are damaging them.

Trump as a Tiki torch

Gwenn Seemel
Light of the right
acrylic on canvas
24 x 18 inches

The original Tiki torch Trump painting is available for $1500.

Trump as a Tiki torch

on Redbubble

As soon as I published Light of the right in my Redbubble shop, someone bought a couple Trumpy notebooks. I hope that person as well as anyone else who uses this image understands and agrees with my intention for it, but I know I cannot control them.

The soul of an artwork exists in the space between the artist and the audience, and that fact fuels both the deepest joy and the bitterest heartbreak of every artist who shares their work with the world.

- The fine art of burning bridges (and building new ones)
- On being picky about who buys my art / Choisir qui peut acheter mon art
- On hating the straight white male

CATÉGORIES: - English - Feminism - Portraiture - Practice - Process images - Video -

Gwenn Seemel sur Liberapay     Gwenn Seemel sur Patreon

(8) Comments / Commentaires: I won’t shut up.

-- Libby Fife -- 2017 . 09 . 06 --


Well, I hope I understand you! I thought what you had said about making the portrait had to do with expressing your ideas about Trump and his support of something that was wrong; that the portrait was a form of expressing your emotions.

I have friends and family members who voted for Trump and who are now, no doubt, trying to justify that choice somehow or live with it or are perfectly happy. I don’t know. I do know that I caught on to what you wrote about allowing people to be themselves even if perhaps you don’t agree. We all have to help each other to actualize.

I bought the two notebooks-one for me and one for my friend. I hope I understand why you made the portrait and am honoring that intention. For me, the image reflects how I feel about Trump’s actions so far to date. I see that image as being a very “Dorian Gray” kind of image: the inner actions now match the outer appearance. So, I guess in my own way, I am guilty of appropriating and “re-intentioning” your image.

I always hope I understand someone’s intentions. It’s learn as you go I guess:)

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-- libby fife -- 2017 . 09 . 06 --


And I should add that had you made a “negative” image of someone that I admired, it would be much harder for me. I would be saddened by your choice perhaps but would have to concede that that was how you saw things, right or wrong. It goes without saying that I wouldn’t buy something with that image on it. That would be my way of not agreeing with you. I certainly wouldn’t challenge you on it. I don’t have to like things but have to accept that people are expressing themselves. (If that makes sense.)

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-- Gwenn -- 2017 . 09 . 06 --

@Libby: I don’t have a problem with anyone who’s critical of Trump using the image to be critical of him. I have trouble with the way Trump lovers have decided that this is a beautiful representation of their daddy-god. Because your interpretation of it as a Dorian Gray kind of image comes pretty close to my intentions and I’m having a hard time understanding how Trump lovers can love the evilness. This is what keeps me up at night—not just with regards to my painting, but generally.

And I don’t think we need to allow everyone to actualize everything they want for their lives. I don’t think we should help murderers actualize, for example, and white supremacists either. We have to set up boundaries in society, or else we won’t have a society.

Finally, I hear you re: being saddened. I have had that happen to me with artists before. And, like you, I don’t feel the need to troll them or tell them to shut up. I might try engaging with them to understand better, but I wouldn’t lash out. It’s this malicious behavior (that I believe comes from the top down) that is so terrifying in what it says about the state of our country.

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-- Gwenn -- 2017 . 09 . 06 --

@Libby: Also, thank you. smile

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-- Linda Ursin -- 2017 . 09 . 06 --

Keep being true to yourself. Those kinds of people (the ones who try to pressure you) will always be there but hopefully, they’ll get fewer

Personally, I live where I don’t have to deal with Trump followers on a daily basis but I have friends in the US so I see some of what they get up to.

I hope you get a better president asap

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-- Gwenn -- 2017 . 09 . 08 --

@Linda: Yes, better President NOW! smile In the meantime, I’m very grateful for your encouragement!

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-- Joan -- 2017 . 09 . 20 --

Hi Gwenn, Interesting and powerful image. Thanks—Joan

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-- Gwenn -- 2017 . 09 . 20 --

@Joan: Thanks for stopping by on my blog and for your encouragement!

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