Demi Raven
Oil painting portrait of a man with a fist going into his mouth

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Monster v.4
Collection of the artist

Through my current, in-progress, body of work, which I have been calling “Monsters,” I have been contemplating a few major tracks of thought: 1.) Over the past year or so, my mind has been fixated on the topics of war and violence. In pondering human aggression and selfishness, I have felt a strong need for humor. While feeling disempowered about my personal ability to directly affect the course of global events, I have frequently felt the simple desire to decompress with humor and to make –”monster-faces”–an illogical and emotional response to illogical and emotional times. 2.) Additionally, in thinking about brutality and human cruelty, I have been reflecting upon the frailty of human bodies and the fluidity of the flesh. 3.) I have been interested in the manners by which human emotion as a general phenomenon is manifested in diverse, individual aspects of human personality and through expression. 4.) Aesthetically, I have been thinking about portraiture, about the tendency to idealize in contemporary portraiture, as well as the historical tradition of “grotesque” portraits and caricature. I am interested in collapsing the two traditions in order to find something beautiful in the “ugly.” I sense that compulsion and revulsion are most interesting in the instances where they coincide.