Saturday, July 6, 2013

New painting: “Rotten or Redeemed”

Here is my latest piece, just in time for the Easter-ly themes of newness & life! Phooo, this one took longer than most because of all the intricate tattoos. :O I actually did them in watercolor pencil so I could be precise, and then added careful little washes of water to give the watercolor effect. The large kanji character is gilded in real gold leaf.


I know tattoos (even full-body ones) are common in the West, but in Japan, you are only tattooed like this if you are a member of an organized crime gang (Yakuza.) I wanted the male figure to be instantly identifiable as someone who has gotten up to some pretty bad things in his life. His stooped pose suggests that he is weighed down with the huge feeling of guilt for the people he has irreparably hurt or even killed. The large golden kanji is “kusa(tta)” or “rotten.”


However, intermingled with his tattoos on his body is the character “agana(i).” It means “redemption.” Also, he is surrounded by lilies, which represent a pure new life. Is a person with a dark past beyond help? Or can he be changed?



All too often, I am quick to judge someone as “totally worthless” by their actions or appearance. So, I created this painting partially to remind myself (and anyone else) that every person is valuable, and that no-one is rotten beyond hope. Every person can embark on a new life if he makes the choice to do so.

“Rotten or Redeemed” | Watercolor, acrylic, & colored pencil on board | 20 x 30″

 This piece is for a 2-person show in August 2013.
Contact me if you are interested in reserving it before it goes on sale to the general public.

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