3² + 1

About two and a half years ago, Elise and I commissioned a painting by the director of our office and friend, Thorsten. This weekend he invited us over for dinner and the unveiling. After so much time had passed, I really had no idea what to expect. All of the suggestions that I had made for theme and color combinations were irrelevant since the approach had changed a couple of times.

Three-Squared Plus One

For the first time in quite a long time, I was genuinely surprised by something that I was given. Remember as a kid how you were always surprised at Christmas or on your birthday at the gifts that were given to you? Now that I am supposedly all grown, if I want something, I research a good deal, save my money, and then buy it. There’s no real room for magic there. However, two years of waiting and not having a clue to what it might be like other than its dimensions made for a truly childlike sense of excitement.

The painting is physically a one meter by one meter acrylic on canvas work. To truly appreciate it, one really needs to see it in proper daylight. It really explodes with color, which is something that Thorsten is really proud of and hopes to reproduce in future works. He had it under a spotlight Saturday evening when I came over for dinner to show me how some of the layers of color are hardly noticeable without sufficient light. I only realized how true that was when I hung it in our living room the next morning with the sunlight flowing in and saw that there are no blacks in the picture, but blues and violets. And the reds are quite multi-dimensional as well and incredibly warm. It really reflects the personality of its owner. I am a real fucking sunbeam.

Thorsten (left) and his brother, the famed industrialist and philanthropist Douglas McKenzie (right) ca 2003.* Image from Wikipedia under the Creative Commons License

As one can see the painting is made up of nine squares, each of which has its own theme. Some of which are quite old and some quite new relative to the painting process. The colors and patterns range from warm and organic, to serene, severe, cold, and cosmic. The unifying factor being  the vibrancy of the colors, which nearly assault the person at first as well as some of the sharp lines. However, in all cases as you look into the painting, the layers start to emerge and you start to notice subtleties that were not immediately obvious.

Thorsten is not a schooled painter or artist. In fact, it is something that he just picked up thinking it might be fun about four years ago. This in some ways I feel show in his paintings. Not in the sense of reflecting the quality, but rather reflecting a bit more honesty and passion, far from snobbery. As he himself said:

“I once read ‘Beauty is at once the ultimate principle and the highest aim of art.’**  Can you believe that bullshit?  What kind of pretentious prick says something like that?”***

I am simultaneous thrilled and honored to have this painting. I really proud to display it in my living room, but at the same time I know that it was hard for Thorsten to part with something he had worked on for so long.  For this, I am very grateful.


* Not actually a photo of Thorsten
** Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
*** Not actually spoken by Thorsten

One Comment

  1. HI,JUST READ ABOUT THE PICTURE AND SAW IT. IT IS PROBABLY FORTUNATE THAT HE DID NOT GET SCHOOLING FOR HIS PAINTINNG SKILL. MANY TIMES THE CREATIVITY AND SPONTENAITY GET TRAINED OUT OF THEM.

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