Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio
Caravaggio has long been a favourite artist of mine and a major influence on my work. He has been undergoing a renaissance of popularity over the past 20 or so years, and his influence on Western Art is only now being truly appreciated.
Being a gay teenager in the eighties, Derek Jarman's movie about the artist has a huge impact on me. While studying design, it led me to research more into Caravaggio's amazingly detailed and richly coloured style, in particular the paintings of youths in the persuit of creative and sensual pleasures.
I wonder if the current witch hunt into the portrayal of youth in art will one day reach these masterpieces, I hope not, they are truly brilliant.
While studying set design during this time, we had to choose a painting we loved to reproduce on gauze for lighting effects. I chose the one above.
Up until this time my tutor had said to me that I am 'not a very sensitive artist, Blair', in a gorgeously rich Polish accent, I hated her for that, but this painting had inspired me and before long she admitted that she had to change her view towards my work.
It was a watershed moment in my understanding of my own talents and where they could lead. So Caravaggio, I say thank you for the years of inspiration and artistic delight, one can only wish to attain your great heights and influence.