Tom Byrne Fine Art
Based in Florence Italy
It should be difficult to describe the automatic portraits.
It isn't. But it may be difficult to accept.
Before elaborating on that, I'll describe a bit about the process. I create the portraits in watercolour as the inspiration occurs. Set them aside and when they inspire me to a larger concept, they are scanned and printed onto finest art surfaces. Sometimes I sell the originals but generally I use the impression of the original, which I then paint in bronze and various other metals.
Where does the inspiration for the faces come from?
When I was about 3 months old, I remember distinctly, a situation in which my life seemed to be put in danger. I was in a room with curtains pulled to keep out the sun, a tall stranger stood over me, he made some reassuring noises, swayed and almost fell on me.
That's the first time I became aware of the old man.
He was in my head, had very assertive language, spoke english, was not afraid to curse and was in charge of my body. In fact this is probably, the person, who was reborn into me.
I don't have any more recollections until a year and a half later. My personality was more 'blank' but I remember the next instance of awareness when my brother, who was 3 or 4 months old tried to box me into submission. As his boxing blows turned into jelly on contact, I watched his frustration and wondered, who is this?
Whomever was in his body obviously had agendas and intended to make them known.
So these paintings, dark and unfriendly as they may appear, may in fact be something altogether different. Not old men. But old people in new bodies.
I call them the watchers.
The first face appeared a few years ago, when I was working as the manager of an art gallery on the Ile Saint Louis, Paris. I had not planned it and was profoundly shocked at it's appearance. As the years have passed I've realised their fundamental part in my life.
Despite my studies with other artists I have never experienced anyone who creates in this manner. I've a great deal of respect for the artists I've worked with and saw the terrible pressures they went through to conform to the expectations of galleries and collectors. That is why I have waited so long to expose these works.
None of the paintings are planned or prepared. The faces just arrive. Sometimes there are months between each one. The process of creating the bronze backgrounds is my own developement. Please don't ask me how I do it.