I knew Sam while I was an art school student in San Francisco. At that time, he was trained to be a pilot in East Bay. Therefore, I had a chance to take his training airplane up to the sky, and fulfill my dream of being a pilot for several minutes. Unlike me, an introvert, he is an outgoing man of great enterprise. Though we have different personality, we went there for the same reason. Chasing our dreams.
This July, Sam told me that he wanted a portrait for himself as his 30-year-old birthday gift. Normally, I will turn down this kind of project because this is not what I am focusing on now. But first, he is my friend. And second, I missed the day I learned how to paint acrylic painting with our great teacher Kazu Sano. I took this project and met him in early August. We had lunch together in a very good Japanese restaurant in Taipei. While we were eating some delicious Sushi, we chatted with each other and discussed about what kind of portrait he wanted. He showed me Icarus painting from the famous painter Henri Matisse and joked about that it will be ok if I paint him like that.
After taking the photo, I started to think about what kind of the portrait I want to do. As an illustrator, I wanted to make it in narrative way(maybe I should call it Kazu's way). And I thought about Icarus. Why shouldn't it be a portrait of Icarus? In fact, both us are Icarus. We try as hard as possible to fly high. Don't care about falling! Because if we don't try, who knows how far we can go? I am glad that at least one of us reach the sky now.
So, it turned out this painting. I am happy that Sam like it, and expecting to see this painting soon when it is hung in Sam's new place. Now, let's end these words with a poem written by Anne Sexton:
TO A FRIEND WHOSE WORK HAS COME TO TRIUMPH
Consider Icarus, pasting those sticky wings on,
testing this strange little tug at his shoulder blade,
and think of that first flawless moment over the lawn
of the labyrinth. Think of the difference it made!
There below are the trees, as awkward as camels;
and here are the shocked starlings pumping past
and think of innocent Icarus who is doing quite well:
larger than a sail, over the fog and the blast
of the plushy ocean, he goes. Admire his wings!
Feel the fire at his neck and see how casually
he glances up and is caught, wondrously tunneling
into that hot eye. Who cares that he fell back to the sea?
See him acclaiming the sun and come plunging down
while his sensible daddy goes straight into town.