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Friday, February 24, 2017
IMPORTANT Art Happening Now
For perhaps the first time in my life, I feel like I am watching truly important art being created. David Jon Kassan's Edut Project is exactly that. It is the experience of Holocaust survivors, told through
life-size portraits, filmed interviews and written profiles. It is a powerful, poignant admonition of the consequences of failed social consciousness.
I met David many years ago at a conference where he was happily drawing in one of the vendor booths. It was easy to recognize that this young man was destined to be a force in the representational art world. I've enjoyed watching his rise and have followed the Edut Project since he first announced it. Each portrait is masterfully executed with incredibly lifelike skin tones and textures. Backgrounds, if any, tell part of the story, but do so quietly, letting the focus remain on the portrait itself. Despite the dimensional, almost photorealistic rendering of the figures, they remain painterly. If you can tear your gaze away from the eyes long enough to examine the rest of the artwork, the viewer can visually dissect how each feature was executed. In close-up, the viewer can appreciate the myriad colors - sometimes just one small stroke's worth - lying next to each other to visually blend into the greater sum of the parts. Careful study of any of the Edut Project paintings is a workshop in itself for those willing to learn.
Earlier this week, David posted one of his latest paintings online, tentatively titled "Love and Resilience." (see it at the end of this post in order to allow the largest size image I can include on the blog). The fact that this incredibly accomplished artist could transcend even his own talent and infuse such humanity onto a canvas is absolutely stunning. I feel Louise and Lazar. I believe David has gone beyond likeness and taps into the souls of these people. Next up, David will be starting a life-size group portrait of 11 survivors of Auschwitz, an epic 18' x 8' in size.
The whole point of this post is this: Most artists at one point or another in their career engage in "passion projects." Few of us will achieve the social significance of the Edut Project but our efforts will be no less heartfelt or important to us. I am grateful to David for reminding me that our creative voices can celebrate human resilience, serve as a call to action, and record our collective history. It's one way to Live Out Loud.