Brooks Kossover

My current body of work is an ongoing exploration of the effect that the net generation I am a part of has had on the oldest form of art: painting. In this particular series my focus is limited to the scope of portrait painting. Portrait painting in the 21st century is often time labeled as kitschy, or denoted to simply being a commissioned craft. Through my process I attempt to defy such stigmas by approaching an archaic technique in a fresh way. In a world where information is hyper-accessible and communication is an addiction, we’ve begun to witness the creation and transformation of otherwise normal individuals into new age icons through such outlets as Facebook, Tumblr, Twitter, Youtube, and other social media/online blogging sites. With this in mind, the first step in my process is extensive research. I read and study about each individual, and then begin the long and often stressful undertaking of getting in contact with them and setting up a photoshoot. Although aesthetically my approach to capturing the image of each figure is directly inspired by 18th century French nobility/royalty portraits as well as early colonial itinerant American portraits, these portraits are never commissioned. Importance is imposed onto them in a way that it would be any celebrity, and it is no secret that one of the key elements to these paintings is the absolute glorification of the featured character. By working from compiled digital imagery, drawings, observed spaces, and imagined moments, I strive to create a cohesive image pertinent to the style and personality of each of the different iconic individuals. My ultimate goal is to end up with a highly confrontational work that becomes not just an image of a person, but an embodiment of a personality that could never be captured or recreated in any other medium.

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