Herb’s portrait was one of my very first commissioned paintings. While this kind of work is very important to me, there is another form my work can take as well. I paint portraits by commission and I also paint portraits of groups of people for the purpose of exploring a particular issue. I used to think that my conceptual shows served to promote my style and my name so that I might get more commission work. Then, at some point, I began to feel that my commission work was supporting my conceptual habit…!
In reality, both forms of my work are important to me. I love to know that my portraits are part of the fabric of an individual’s everyday life and tackling some of this world’s stranger questions is something I very much enjoy. In 2007 and 2008, these two forms of my work were combined by a client. Having read, an article about my show, Swollen, Jim’s wife decided to commission two portraits of him, one before his heart transplant and another a year later, after the transformative surgery.