Thursday, July 29, 2010

An Interesting Face

I painted this for an African American magazine some years ago. An interesting assignment, but I remember having to repaint it because I'd gotten the skin color wrong, which surprised me. I don't know whether this was the acceptable version or not. It shows how sensitive we are to shades of difference. I did art for a Japanese liquor ad once. I remember being very careful to get the Japanese face just right, clearly Japanese but short of stereotype. The client kept having me adjust features: the nose, the skin color, the eyes. Finally they instructed me to make the hair blond. I told them I was confused; didn't they want the person to appear Japanese? No, they didn't. But instead of telling me so outright, they'd had me remove the ethnic distinctions one by one, and I'd carefully done so.

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