Persona: An Inner Cast of Characters - 15 Original Drawings by Lorraine Shirkus

It could be said that all art has to do with self-exploration. For me, self-exploration is the subject itself. Whatever form my visual work takes, whether (loosely speaking) landscapes, portraits, figures, interiors, it is always an attempt to discover what the words, I, me, myself mean in relation to my perception of who “I” am.

For several years, my main “work” has been to listen to that silent stream of words that runs incessantly in my mind and record it without censoring it. I have found a rummage heap of petrified beliefs and judgments, formed long ago, yet they still retain their power to shape and define me. They often continue to influence my choices even now. When I’ve wondered throughout my life why my experience has rarely matched my hopes and dreams, why I so often stop short of fulfilling what I envision—the clues had always been there—at the top of my brain.

Miraculously, I am able to hold two conflicting thoughts at the same time and be unaware that I’m doing it. As I attempt to act on one, the other is simultaneously paralyzing me in that very attempt. It amazes me that this was always so visible yet remained so hidden. This small revelation has led me to question the voice and its endless chatter, discard the thoughts and expose the beliefs that no longer apply and possibly never did.

The Persona series began with no concept, no visual premonitions, only an intention to draw heads. It wasn’t until all 15 images were more or less finished that titles began to surface. It was only when I began naming them that I saw I was unconsciously identifying the “personalities” who carry on their monologue/dialogue within me. While all 15 images could be described as a collective self-portrait, I’m aware, now, that they are not the essential “I.” These Persona characters (and there appear to be many more) are a visual expression of identifying and understanding the inner life of an individual—one that we all call by the same name, “me.”

©2000-2002 Lorraine Shirkus. All rights reserved.

About the Artist
Order Online
Prices for Series