Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Bono vs Jesus

This image of Bono, of U2 fame, is part of a series of etchings inspired by readings from the Desert Fathers. While reading a portion of the Desert Fathers (4th century hermits who lived in the Egyptian desert) I was drawn to the concept espoused by one of these monks that we are each called to find the face of Christ in everyone we meet. This particular monk pronounced the ideal that, whether they are good or bad, we should treat everyone with the dignity and respect with which we would treat Jesus. I kind of vacillated on this. At first I thought that this was a great concept but not something that was humanly attainable. Then I thought that I actually DO treat the people I meet fairly well. Lastly, I realized that even if that is even partially true, it is only possible with the intervention of God’s grace, because we are all deeply flawed.
I tried to think of someone—anyone dead or alive—who would pose a challenge for me. The number one person popping into my head was Adolph Hitler. From there the idea grew quite naturally. The ongoing series is composed of twenty-five pairs of "portraits." There will be twenty-five images of Jesus drawn from art historical sources, paired with some of the best and worst figures from human history, with everything in between.
This black and white design is composed from the text from the Desert Fathers. I took an image of Jesus, Hitler, Bono, etc. and imported it into Photoshop. There I placed layers of the text over the photo and erased out the lighter values of the image. Once this was done four or five times I took the original image away and what was left was a similar image, but composed entirely of text. The images are transferred to a copper plate and developed with more traditional etching techniques. I’ll wait until another posting to explain just how the color process works and why I decided to use text to compose the images.

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