About a week ago, I got an email from someone who went to my show at DCCP. They’d liked it, and asked me how much the work of the Pre-Raphaelites had influenced my work.
The answer is probably a lot, but like in the way that my mom has probably influenced me a lot. And while my mom is amazing and we have a loving, relatively uncomplicated relationship, sometimes when someone points out that I’m just like her in some way, I cringe.
The Pre-Raphaelites are one of the first groups or movements I got interested in on my own when I was about fourteen. As someone who has always had an affinity for artwork from the past, and related to it more easily than work from my own time, I responded to their work on a few levels.
Sometimes, when I revisit this work, I worry that it is too uncomplicated, that too much of the image’s power is put in its sense of old(er) world romance. They are beautiful, but very few of them have that kind of strange, complicated and layered beauty that makes you want to look at them for hours at a time.
Maybe what I’m really worried about is being just like them. Would that be so bad? Not really. But like a loved, often embarrassing family member, I feel like I know all their faults.