I was kind of having a bad day, maybe even a bad week, and so I decided to paint one of my favorite writers. It being Franz Kafka’s birthday, I chose to paint something that he would possibly like. I mean, most people can’t refuse a portrait of themselves.
When I painted Allen Ginsberg, I felt as if I was growing closer to him. The same thing has happened with Kafka. I love his writing, but I had never had to be so intimate with his face. Painting his sharp features and dark suit made me feel as if I knew something secret about him. It could also have been how miserable I was feeling, I wanted to cling to something.
More About Kafka
Kafka was a German speaking Jew born in Prague. From what I have read he struggled with this identity; at times he felt close to Judaism and other times he resented it.
On a side note: I have Jewish heritage, but I consider myself an Atheist.
Kafka was also a little sex crazed. I don’t know…who’s to judge really?
Franz, I think we are on a first name basis by now, passed away in 1924 of tuberculosis. He was only forty. He was also never famous during his lifetime. I can’t really say that this gives me hope; that when I die someone will discover my work – I’ll be dead. But in terms of Kafka, I am still thankful that he was discovered. The world would be sorely lacking without his stories, and novels.
A bit about the piece.
The bug on his jacket is a cockroach, if you couldn’t tell. It symbolizes the insect that Gregor Samsa turns into in The Metamorphosis. I think this piece turned out fairly well. Although, I am not too jazzed about the cockroach as it turned out rather cartoony.
On a last note.
After I finish Notes From Underground, I have decided to read a book about Franz Kafka. I probably have one in my bookshelf.