Manuel Miranda

Artist Statement

For me, the process of painting and drawing is intimately tied with a close observation of the human character. I am intrigued by aspects of human behavior. The process of painting and drawing is set in motion through everyday observation. I unconsciously record visual information that will serve as the raw material for my investigations. When composing my work, I do not turn to memory with the intention of rendering a particular episode or recreating a specific character. My compositions are designed through a stream of consciousness approach; the nature of the composition begins to develop as I place the first line. I refer to this moment as the “present state,” in which past observations do not consciously dictate the aesthetic nature of the work. This approach to painting and drawing has afforded a type of freedom and creativity that I need to thrive as an individual in a reality where I see limitation. It allows me to freely interpret what I have recollected about the human conduct. There is a deliberate effort to reject literal associations with reality by turning to a metaphorical world in which fictitious characters generalize, represent, and express aspects of the human condition. Although not always evident, all characters assume a role and live by it; they become emblematic of a certain human quality.
A metaphor is constructed when the viewer discovers that psychological characteristics from my characters are relevant in reality. In other words, characters can give the impression that they belong in a fictitious world, almost as if they were the result of pure imagination, but their vividness and expressiveness as individuals can trigger associations with characters of the real world. There is a constant visual element that is found across my body of work; it is the fundamental building block of all compositions. I refer to it as the “line” and it functions as the starting point of every piece. The “line” represents an energy that is alive and re-experiencing what has been observed. The “line” is a didactic tool that experiments, searches, and finds solutions to my compositional challenges. The “line” is a playful and inventive force; I do not work with visual references. To me, dexterity in traditional rendering skills, does not necessarily reflect creativity; I see it as an instrument but not as an end. Academic discipline is important but it is insufficient for me. I need freedom. The path that I have chosen is experimental; it is a constant search of new visual and conceptual approaches.