Joe Mostly Recovered From the Accident, 2011 (study)
The model, Joe M., was a student at the University of Arizona in Tucson, where Jack and I spend winters. He’d recently been in an accident, the nature of which I should leave to him to disclose. I thought this image conveyed something of his climbing out of that circumstance and of his natural beauty, which, as the viewer can see, remains intact
Hardly Boys: Still Waters (#511), 2010, a collaboration between Wes Hempel and Jack Balas
How About Now? (study)
I was initially drawn to the Vermeer interior because of the extraordinary quality of light. But I’m also playing around with the contemporary painter George Deem’s campy idea of How to Paint a Vermeer (title of a book of his paintings). So the piece may be humorous on various levels. And yet I think there’s a poignancy lurking underneath that has to do with the portrait on the wall (the same person as a boy?) and the way the young man presents himself now.
The female figures are taken from Maxfield Parrish’s 1912 illustration for the Sleeping Beauty fairy tale. In the original story, the prince kisses Sleeping Beauty and awakens her from her trance. But this particular “prince” (our model Sye), having arrived late on the scene, seems to have trouble making up his mind what to do next. A decision seems to be in order, but it’s left to the viewer to imagine what is going through the young man’s mind as he squints into the distance, clenching his hands.