Ego mania?

So, the year is 2003. Until September, when I’ll start my first good job in Quebec, Canada, I was pretty much depressed and weird… Even if, curiously, this depression did not make me helplessly void but rather creative… I was drawing a lot, I was painting a lot. Mostly, quite bizarre things but not only… I did some self portraits too… I’ll show you two of them, two drawings: both, in a way, style exercises. The first it’s me in an ink – frottis technique. (I was quite fond of china ink at the time and in my search for an existential solution I was reading a lot about the Zen bouddhism; in fact, these readings helped me a lot to overcome my depression, to accept more gracefully my fate – as long as I could not change it…)

Autop frottis

That’s why the 2nd self portrait (the one I use as an avatar) is an interpretation of a zen bouddhist monk image (Ryokan?). I’ve combined some of my features with the original (funny) zen portrait… Was this persistence to draw my portrait an egomaniacal characteristic? Van Gogh has a lot of them. Some of his most famous paintings are self portraits. There is one, especially, in which he has very short hair and looks, after his own recognizance, as a zen monk, as a “bonze, worshiper of the eternal Buddha”. He exchanged it with Gauguin, in the months before their disastrous cohabitation in Arles ( October-December 1888). Gauguin reciprocated with a self portrait, also known as “Les Miserable”, after the novel by Victor Hugo. Cezanne, also, did a lot of self portraits… Is this ego mania? Well, beside the fact that a self portrait take advantage of an almost always ready to pose model, interrogating his own face for answers is as essential and as old as art. I’m not sure the answers are there, in our face. But we try to get them anyway…

Me zen

vincent bonze

And, when I draw a weird clown and write my thoughts on that composition (often enough my writing has also a compositional role, it gives a direction, it makes a “rappel” with other lines, etc.) it is not exaggerated to say that this clown is also a self portrait. Just like Flaubert was Madame Bovary…

me clown


11 responses to “Ego mania?

  1. Those two portraits are really skillful–just sweeps of the brush. I like them both. Are those real Chinese ideograms?

  2. More like Japanese… but I cannot guarantee they really mean something. I try to imitate them. Unfortunately, I don’t really know more Japanese than Konichiua and Arigato… Glad you like them.

  3. GREAT post, Danu! I especially love the portrait you use as an avatar, I already told you in the past. Nice to see it bigger now!
    And the clown self-portrait says, I think, so much about you… so much more than any of the other ones… am I right? At least I recognise there the very< special Danu I sense behind all the paintings and the writings…
    For myself I hate to do self-portraits… the reason might be that I don´t like to look at me in a mirror. Not that I don´t like what I see, but I kind of don´t recognise me when I see my mirror image. And a self portrait without mirror? Somehow it doesn´t attract me. Strange because I love to do portraits, generally.
    But I don´t believe that self-portraits have to do with egomania.

  4. Thanks, miki! Kind as always! And yes, I doubt too that self portrait = ego mania. that’s why I put the ? sign and I’ve included the clown also… I think a self portrait, even one like the clown, without mirror gives you the posibility to make a bit of fun of yourself. But I know that women are less inclined to this kind of exercise…

  5. I am not only kind Danu, I really mean what I say.
    I guess you are right with the comment about the women. Concerning myself, I make a lot of fun about myself all the time, but I really never had the idea to make such a self portrait. But I think it is a great idea. One day it would be a Cafe Crem theme anyway, self-portraits in paintings, words, music, etc…, and I will try then! I am sure it is a lot of fun!!!

  6. I know you mean it, miki. Never doubt it (that doesn’t make you unkind)…

    Yes, it would be a great theme!

  7. ovidiu stanomir

    DaNu-le, pretine, intr-atit de mult il iubesti pe Vincent incit ai inceput sa te identifici cu el… E bine, e rau?

    De bine, de rau, eu unul cred ca e important sa ai un reper in viata, insa, cindva, trebuie sa ajungi sa fii tu insutzi !

  8. Du e asa rau cum pare… Am pomenit doar in text portretul lui Vincent “ca un bonz” si mi s-a parut firesc sa arat despre ce vorbeam… Inca nu mi-am pierdut reperele, monser… Am auzit c-a murit Ovidiu Iuliu Moldovan, 66… Dumnezeu sa-l hodineasca!

  9. ovidiu stanomir

    Ai dreptate, iar Vincent Van Gogh e un reper dintre cele mai importante in istoria picturii universale.

    Precum este si Ovidiu Iuliu Moldovan pt. teatrul si cinematografia din Romanica.

    Dumnezeu sa-i pomeneasca pe amindoi in Imparatia Sa !

  10. Da, Ovidiu, Dumnezeu sa-i odihneasca!

  11. love them… another Van Gogh inspired artist? Just so happens that I am kicking off my career as a (self-taught) arist – by making van gogh portraits – (everyone needs a muse)

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