My fellow artist Travis D. Hendrix has recently completed an amazing portrait of a relative. To me, as someone who has walked the corridors of hospitals, this drawing powerfully captures the haunted look I have seen on many a patient’s visage as they face illness. There is a quality of both the deep knowing that comes from pain, as well as the look of a hunted animal, something at a more visceral level. The unravelling knitting is a great metaphor reflecting how illness and age unfolds the sense of self knot by knot. Having followed his work for a long time, and a bought a lot of it, I feel I can say that this is one of the best works he has ever done.
Unfortunately, it didn’t win the drawing contest it was in. I am used to seeing Travis’ stuff not win (although he did win best painting at the end of his fine arts degree). I am used to seeing many great artists never get the recognition they deserve. We could get into a meaningless discussion about objectivity in the appreciation of art vs opinion. All I will say is that I’m thankful that the magic of creating art can keep many artists going. It’s often enough to have a following and to sell your work. What still shocks me, however, is that hard-working artists who produce amazing work can be “forgotten” by the industry. It is just another reason I have A LOT OF TROUBLE taking the art experts and the art industry seriously. What I do value is the commitment of an artist to realising their vision. I for one will try to support artists who haven’t got the limelight.