Last year, grade 12 student Premnath Singh completed his final art project, creating an eight page portfolio on a topic of his choosing. For his topic he chose to focus on distortion of the face using self portraits with a healthy dose of surrealism. He chose self-portraits as he enjoys portraits and was inspired by the self-portraits of Francis Bacon, Picasso, DaVinci and Rembrandt. He was also inspired by Salvador Dali and surrealism, which allows you to create something that looks real but that cannot be found in nature but only in your imagination. In his words, “I enjoy creating something that doesn’t exist anywhere else in the world.”
Premnath put an incredible amount of work into the project, spending 12 to 15 hours on each of the drawings and 40 hours on the final acrylic painting.
Distortation of Face
Playing with distortion, inspired by Picasso’s final well known self portrait.
Development of ideas – between trees
While doing an outside study of trees, Premnath had the idea of a cloth hanging between the trees, which turned into a surreal portrait. Sat Darshan Kaur was his model.
Experiment with media
Experiments with charcoal, pencil and dry pastel. On the left, working with three emerging faces.
Basic anatomy – pool of tears
Working with bone structure and distortion on the left; muscle structure and distortion on the right.
One of Premnath’s influences, the artist Francis Bacon. In this exercise, Premnath replicated three self portraits of Francis Bacon in oil pastel, learning a lot in the process. “In these portraits Bacon used a complex colour palette that I had a difficult job to recreate. I’m happiest with the middle portrait.”
The Man with two noses
‘There’s a little monster in all of us!”
Working towards his final piece. . .
This is Premnath’s musing on the relationship between time and space and human’s place in that relationship. In this piece we get a glimpse ‘under the skin’ and see the human going back to the universe. “As humans, we look where light is and we look at eyes, so in this piece that’s where the focus is.” The eye is surrounded by skin but we also see underneath that to the essential energy.
“I never liked my art before this year. Going through this process, I’m starting to like my work and other people are noticing. Now, when other students have trouble with their art, they ask me for help and I really love that. I love art and I love helping people.”