> James O'Barr's Gallery

« Back to James O'Barr's Gallery

A Beautiful Darkness

A Beautiful Darkness

"A Beautiful Darkness"

8.5x14 piece of artwork with India Ink on Bristol Board

I've done quite a few drawings of this pose and I wondered why I kept coming back to it. It's really kind of an odd position, a person hugging themselves. Maybe a visual metaphor for loneliness if you think about it, for a good portion of my life I felt most alone in a crowd of happy people, eternally unconnected to anyone. They say that all artists are observers and not participants but if that is so it is not by choice and perhaps it's that very reason we become artists; to feel attached to something. While I am a romantic I'm also a realist and that allows me to see blinding beauty and indescribable ugliness at the same moment in time, which is why this drawing portrays loneliness (the self comfort of a hug) and defiance (his grim expression), even if these two ideas seem at odds.

I was really happy the way the figure came out and I tried to compliment it with a fairly ornate background. I kind of had "Eric in the Secret Garden" as my motif. I worked hard on the creeper vines that frame the main figure in a womb shape, though originally I had the backlight behind him in the shape of the Crow and it really detracted from the composition so I pulled the shadows around him tighter, and of course putting a cat in a drawing is always a nice touch.

"Oh to be a blind man
That would be a fine thing'
All the music would be so spacious
All the women would be so faceless

In a Beautiful Darkness"


[Editor's note: This piece sold on James' eBay store.]