THE FACES OF ARTIST PROJECT TORONTO 2013: Ivan Alifan

Oil painting of white woman with red earrings and red stiching detail in her blouse
Images provided by Ivan Alifan.

I believe a good work is work that makes the viewer “nervous”, a work that haunts the viewer, to me that is beauty.

In the history of art if you could paint a realistic portrait of the person then you could paint anything in the world. That notion is still believed today, because a “face” is the most complex object in the world. One wrong stroke of the brush and the face is no longer representing the model and it is believed that the artist has failed.

That intense difficulty is what first got me interested in portraiture because I love giving myself hard tasks to accomplish. I did a replica of the “Girl of the Pearl Earring” in 12th grade. At that point I felt I had achieved the realism that I had always wanted. Now that I’m 23 accurately representing a face was no longer my main intention. I have realized that those imperfections or mistakes that artists make are beautiful. Because regardless of whom you are painting in the portrait, you are always painting a portrait of yourself. It is those imperfections that make up your character in your art.

Oil painting of white woman with scarve with red folk embroidery

The portraits that I paint say more about myself than they do about the sitter. I think this is also the main reason why I believe portraiture is still relevant today – this intensity to the relationship between artist and the sitter which produces a different meaning or aura than photography. So today my goal is not to paint accurately but to push portraiture to a new level.

Oil painting of androgynous bald woman with white painting dripping erotically down her head

My quest for traditional beauty is slowly disappearing…I believe a good work is work that makes the viewer “nervous”, a work that that haunts the viewer, to me that is beauty. If my work creates a physical or physiological tension or drama for the viewer then I’m doing a good job.

Oil painting of androgynous looking bald white woman with white paint dripping down her face holding a rose in her hand seductively as though she is about to eat it
Images provided by Ivan Alifan.

View more of Ivan’s work on his website and his blog.
Follow Ivan on twitter @IvanAlifan or Facebook.

Get ticket info for the show as well view all the participating artists at www.theartistprojecttoronto.com or follow along for updates @TAP_toronto & #TAP13.

logo for Toronto Artist Project 2013 in dark blue with image of woman in profile with veil like cutout over her eyes

THE FACES OF ARTIST PROJECT TORONTO 2013: Artist Christine Kim

mixed media collage with paper cut outs around black and white pencil drawingImage provided by artist Christine Kim.

“What’s in a face that makes it the nail on which we hang our ideas about people?”

My work speaks to themes of uncertainty, tension and unease that come with being uprooted, confronting borderlines, and questioning your place in the world.  In my illustrations, I focus on androgynous figures because of their position – they fit anywhere and nowhere. They are shrouded in mystery and ambiguity. So much of our understanding of others hinges on the face and the gesture; however, I am interested in what we do not know, what is hidden.

This body of work is inspired by Nathanial Hawthorne’s short story entitled “The Minister’s Black Veil”; his writing investigates a minister whose dark, inner struggles have materialized in a black veil.  It becomes a symbolic reminder of the darkness within everyone.  In this series of graphite portraits, I am interested in exploring the contrast between light, fragile lace and the gravity of darkness. Figures are concealed in black lace, which is worn like fleeting shadows or permanent tattoos.  Usually worn at funerals, black lace is a symbol of death, mourning, and sorrow.  There is mystery created by the concealment; the lace is a fence that prevents outsiders from entering.  These faces are obscured, ambiguous, but they may yet be known.

Various works of drawings of androgynous people with paper cut outs around the work and hanging down from ceiling
Artist hand holding cutouts of some of her drawings of a little boy
Woman holding up a piece of paper like a veil with her profile as a shadow behind
Above black & white photographs of Christine Kim and her studio by Leah Snyder for Mixed Bag Mag.

I’m interested in portraiture because of how much hinges on the face. I’m inspired by what is seen by the viewer as well as what is hidden. One quote comes to mind –

“And what’s in a face, anyhow, except the uncomplicated story of a man? What’s in a face that makes it the nail on which we hang our ideas about people?” (Rick Moody, The Black Veil, 6)

Pencil drawing of androgynous figure surronded with collage of butterfly wings, cut out black bird, chairs and Japanese paper prints.
Image provided by artist Christine Kim.

See more of Christine’s work on her website and her blog.

Series of four watercolour and ink self-portraits of artist sleeping
Image provided by artist Christine Kim.

Get ticket info for the show as well view all the participating artists at www.theartistprojecttoronto.com or follow along for updates @TAP_toronto &  #TAP13.

logo for Toronto Artist Project 2013 in dark blue with image of woman in profile with veil like cutout over her eyes