March’s artist over on Patreon was Man Ray. I learned a lot this month. I always thought of Man Ray as a photographer and so I learned that he was so much more. Of course I began my research with a family tree.
The idea for Dead Artist Society began with Austin Kleon’s climbing your own family tree and so it is just so fitting to begin each month with a family tree. I also love this diagram from MoMa and it inspires me to somehow put together all these little family trees that I’ve made over the last couple years.
I always need little organizers for all the things I uncover and these were the two big things I found for Man Ray: his loves and his homes. Man Ray had five big loves in his life and so it was helpful to look at the his work in relationship to them. Man Ray lived about half of his life in Paris and half in the US so it was also helpful to break down his time in each location.
My very favorite thing this month was learning about Man Ray’s Revolving Doors series. It’s definitely the most colorful thing he made and totally up my alley. I collaged together some pieces from that series with some silhouettes of Man Ray.
And then I turned that digital piece into an analog one. I made a few changes including going with a metallic paint. Unusual for me, but a title came pretty quickly: (R)evolving Ray.
I came back to this older piece I did of Marcel Duchamp in drag as Rrose Sélavy. It’s based on a photograph taken by Man Ray. There’s some things I still really like about this painting that I want to continue with… the simplicity of shapes, the hard edges, the color. I always work from photos and when I work from a color photo I pull colors from it. When I work from a black and white photo I’m choosing the colors all on my own. That can be both good and bad. :) In this case, I’m really happy with the colors.
And then I worked on a portrait drawing of Man Ray. It’s been difficult to get a good likeness of him but it’s been a fun exercise. There’s parts that I like of each of these so I think it’s just a matter of sitting down and combining them.