John Alli MA, BA (HONS.) FINE ART
About the artist
In my work I attempt to describe and express the "inner self". I paint what I feel about the person and how I understand them. I attempt to connect with their inner psyche to display their true character and go beyond the person behind the facade.
My technique could be described as Oscar Wilde's attempt to view the soul in The Picture of Dorian Gray. A true artist will be unable to hide his true feelings for a person when he paints a portrait, as he paints instinctively, his brush strokes are initiated by his feelings and the physical technique of painting becomes automated, and unconscious.
I paint with colours that express a mood - looking to cool colours such as blues and greys, and intense and hot colours such as reds, purples and orange. The eyes are very important to me in any portrait, the cliche that they are the windows to the soul I believe are true. A moment of eye contact with a person can tell you so much about a person revealing their feelings - quite often unwillingly on their part.
When I start a portrait I always start with the eyes and work from this point, as the eyes are also very important in revealing the character of a person. The best portraits I have created have been where I know the person well or I have talked to them before I paint their portrait. I then have a better understanding of them and their personality, therefore I am better equipped to address the issues of their psyche.
Even realistic portraits reveal so much more than a photography. The angle of a brush stroke on the mouth or eyes can alter an expression dramatically. I have painted a number of celebrities of whom are probably not as well known as today's stars however, the portraits of Quentin Crisp and Yves Saint Laurent for example have always held some mystery for me. My curiosity steers me towards people that are highly individual and eccentric, as I believe in some way for them at least, they have achieved a purpose in their lives that is special to them.