Typography Portraits: Cris Wicks Paints The Words We Leave Behind

‘For this style of portraiture I thought about how when we die our physical bodies leave but our words remain in the minds of those we interacted with. I wanted to visually create this idea, that our words replace or perhaps transcend our physical form and allow us to still be seen and experienced after we’re gone’. Los Angeles based artist Chris Wicks explains how these portraits were made: ‘I began these paintings by gluing old newspaper articles and other paper memorabilia relevant to the subject’s life onto a canvas. I then stained the paper background with acrylic paint. To create the faces I began painting directly on top of the collaged background. I roughly blacked out a silhouette of the subject and then began painting the lettering, I started by painting all the letters in a shadow color, a deep red in the Tupac portrait pictured. The words used are from the portrait subjects, they are made up of song lyrics song titles, or quotes. From there I worked my way from the shadows to the highlights making small marks of color on the lines of each letter. until the face emerged. Once the lettering was done I used a palette knife to scrape in any parts of the portrait not made by letters such as hair, clothing, and parts of the body such as Tupac’s chest or Picasso’s hand. This gave the portraits a rough look that I wanted them to have’.

Typography portraits: Cris Wicks paints the words we leave behind

Typography portraits: Cris Wicks paints the words we leave behind

Typography portraits: Cris Wicks paints the words we leave behind

Typography portraits: Cris Wicks paints the words we leave behind

Typography portraits: Cris Wicks paints the words we leave behind

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