Monday, 4 October 2010

Portrait of Joseph Merrick

This is a portrait of Joseph Merrick (also known as John Merrick) who was a severely deformed man who lived during the Victorian era. I first saw this photo on a TV program when I was a little kid and it terrified me, I even had nightmares about it. My Mum had to comfort me by explaining that the man in the picture was actually a kind person. She also explained how he would have been mistreated by the people around him because of his unfortunate deformities. After that my reaction to the photo was more sympathetic than fearful. There is just something about Merrick’s blank expression that is slightly sorrowful. This is something I want to try to replicate with my self portrait/character design. I want to create a creature with all the grotesqueries of an insect but that is still fundamentally human and relatable.
Merrick was also a lover of music and poetry. This gave me the idea of depicting my creature drawing, painting, listening to music or playing an instrument just as a way of humanising him no matter how grotesque it ends up looking (although this idea could end up just looking silly).

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