The truth is I’m a big Edward Hopper fan. I can’t stop myself from referring to his work when I paint solitary figures or light carving through dark streets. I even invoke his muse I n my Photoshop moments of play. You won’t be surprised that the title of this blog post contains a reference to my favorite Cape Codger. So, it’s only natural that if I’m going to be juxtaposing myself with another artist, it will be him.
When I look at this painting, which I call “Self Portrait as Edward Hopper” I immediately think of his painting “Morning Sun.” As I reach back into my distant past and conjure up my memories of Art History class, I can almost hear Professor Cox singing the praises of Hopper, revealing the loneliness he unintentionally and yet masterfully instilled into so many of his images, wondering aloud about his studies abroad and extolling the virtues of Hopper’s workaday ethics.
Even Hopper’s blank walls look lonely. Or, perhaps more accurately, alone. Maybe it’s just the observer who projects the melancholy onto Hopper’s paintings.
I wonder if I really want to know the truth about what Hopper meant for us to feel when we look at his paintings. In the end, does it matter what he wanted us to think? Isn’t it more interesting as an artist to allow the viewer to bring their own stories to the image? In other words, why would I want to tell you what to think and feel? I would rather have you hop onboard the Picture Train, furnished by me with all the details of light and shadow and setting and populated by a person or a bike or a shaft of light, but give to you the fun of breathing the story into it. Juxtaposing your story with my image is at the core of my artistic goals.