Self Portrait 12; Vision

30 May





Sorting through forgotten back files I came across this, I can only just remember doing it but since there were no notes at the time, my thoughts when I made it remain a mystery.

Perhaps, looking at the general stygian appearance of the picture, that is as it should be. My lovely wife, ever disrespectful, (and that, perhaps is also as it should be) said that I’ve given myself a tall hairstyle that looks like Marge Simpson – I like to think it looks more like Elvis, but there you are all is in the eye of the beholder.

The mountainous shapes in the foreground are taken from large granite boulders on the rocky shore of Magnetic Island; the picture was cut back and drawn out to resemble a Japanese wood-block print.

The face in the portrait is rather blackened like a coal miner. Both my family, and my wife’s, come from mining stock originally; copper-mining and coal-mining respectively. Derbyshire coal-mines were often small, cramped, and dangerous. Many miners were tattooed by falling lumps of coal that cut and marked their face, hands and shoulders. I was fortunate never to have to go down the pit to work, though I visited my father underground in the copper mine in Zambia on more than one occasion. The copper mines were much larger airy places, but just as dangerous and from time to time falling rocks would kill miners, and a mud-rush in 1970 killed 89 miners.

The chest X-ray in the background was from a miner with early pneumoconiosis – a disease that was rife amongst people who were forced to spend many years below ground in unsafe conditions breathing silicon-laden air causing fibrosis of the lungs leading to emphysema. Of course smoking was common at that time, and the combination with fibrotic lungs contributed to a high rate of lung cancer in that group of the population.

I have called it Vision because the face with red eyes emerging from the darkness, into the light appears to be seeing life anew – perhaps seeing into the future.

9 Responses to “Self Portrait 12; Vision”

  1. leecleland May 31, 2014 at 12:01 pm #

    On my first glance at this image I saw angels wings, which I don’t associate with you, Tony! No offense. Maybe to do with the danger of the mining industry. A strong image and love how you have incorporated family mining meaning into it. The eyes say it all (vision), and the Marge Simpson hairdo I see as a miners helmet with the grit-red eyes of a miner.

    • Xraypics May 31, 2014 at 11:20 pm #

      Thanks Lee, no I don;t have angels wings – yet – give me time. Glad you saw the point of the picture though, much appreciate your thoughts. Tony

  2. burgessart June 1, 2014 at 8:25 pm #

    Good one Tony…….Interesting to see you say you did not write any notes on this one. I never write notes and all my art is a mystery…….that’s what I love about it. All art is a mystery and we should embrace “it”……..throw out our logical mind and just let “it” flow!

    • Xraypics June 1, 2014 at 8:53 pm #

      Yeah, all art is a mystery and all mysteries open to interpretation. Your interpretation and mine may differ substantially and both are legitimate. But when I’ve completed a picture I like to write down what I can remember of my thought process – part of my scientific training I suppose. Cheers mate, great to hear from you. Tony

      • burgessart June 2, 2014 at 4:11 pm #

        Your right Tony……always do what you feel is right for you!

  3. Playamart - Zeebra Designs June 1, 2014 at 11:40 pm #

    i like the symbolism in this one that links to your family’s history. how lucky that you never had to taint your lungs from that kind of work. z

    • Xraypics June 2, 2014 at 1:24 pm #

      Amazing, isn’t it, how one’s own history penetrates and is visible in art – inevitable I suppose. If I’d been brought up in another time and another place I may well have been working “in t’ pit” as they say in Derbyshire. Lucky, — yes! But those guys considered themselves lucky to have had job of any kind. So all things are relative. Thanks for writing. Cheers, Tony

  4. elmediat June 3, 2014 at 5:49 am #

    Very effective & eye-catching image. 🙂


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    […] meaning or are we revealing the inner codes and conventions of our perceptions of reality ? Tony of  Xraypics has been exploring a similar line of creative expression through is manipulation of x-ray […]

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