(This is the third in a series of five posts describing my aesthetic or artistic sensibility in more detail.)
My aesthetic is Multi-Ethnic
My painting reflects my fascination and enthusiasm for the human face. Even though I use a simple, stylized formula for the face, I am amazed at how slight variations in the basic forms can evoke various ethnicities. I can broaden or lengthen the rectangle nose. I can slim or make fuller the circle of lips. I can shade raw sienna into burnt sienna or add a red highlight and I have another race, another place!
Originally I set out to paint figures with no racial identity. Just people. Just humans, in order to celebrate all humans. Slowly though, over years of painting, my faces and figures developed beautiful variations and now represent all racial identities rather than no racial identity at all. It’s the same end with different means.
There is a difference between the terms multi-ehnic and multicultural. My work does not have a multicultural agenda per se. My purpose is not to promote understanding between cultures or preserve cultural differences or religious values within our diverse society. If I accomplish these things in a small way, all the better. I am simply interested in using figures from a variety of races and cultures to embody basic truths. (See my previous post: It’s Iconic)
The beauty of universal truths is best pictured using the truth of universal beauty.
Still, like the disconnect some experience with the name Tornillo Fine Art and my name, Pattison, some are taken back when meeting me after seeing my paintings. Looking at a body of work largely representing people of color, most people expect the artist to be a person of color himself. As if any artist would be interested exclusively in painting people from the same genetic makeup as himself! My work is obviously not illustration of my travel or reportage of various cultural milieu. It portrays diverse human experience using reference to other cultures (in composition as well subject matter) but it is not cultural appropriation. It is one person making paintings about all people portraying many kinds of people. Multi-Ethnic.