I was getting a little frustrated with the usual face shapes and really didn’t have a clear idea what to do next, then the brush seemed to move on its own and formed a triangular face. Once I finished the outlines, I felt sure it looked like something I’d seen years ago in a James Ensor painting. Suddenly, I realized that most of my masks and masked faces must be inspired by him. Makes sense considering the amount of times I’ve retired to reread the art books I have on him. It’s always a wonderful surprise.
There are surely other muses that poured out for this simple face, including Clive Barker Cenobites and several of the paintings from the collaborations between Neil Gaiman and Dave McKean.
Funny thing about realizing my inspirations, there’s always another voice cautioning me to avoid mentioning them, because some people might think I’m comparing myself to the masters I admire. I don’t feel I am, so maybe it’s ok. Why should I wear a mask of false originality when I know I make art that is inspired by the artwork I love the most?