A virtual gallery of poetic prose and art pieces exploring the nature of faces.
A pouting Russian chin. A Scottish head of copper hair. A stiff, loud, and pretentious British nose.
A face easily weathered by rain and wind and sun. She sculpts this face into cold indifference to protect herself from the people she loves. Hiding behind this face, they don’t realize their power, all the things they could make her do to keep them from wandering towards greener pastures.
Atlantic eyes, devastating and solemn. A masculine face that likes to feign softness. All these little knick knacks sit pretty on the soul.
She wonders who she could be if she didn’t spend so much time thinking about this face.
She lies in a moldy bed and wonders if she could fix the sagging of the left side of her face by sleeping on her back.
A freckled, fawning face. A face lightly shadowed by practiced indifference. A rude face, infantile with swelling self-pity. A feminine cruelty sharpens the cupid’s bow. She wishes she could wear eyeliner the same way all the pretty girls do.
A face that rewrites itself. Stories in the shape of lazy poetry and melodramatic fantasy hide behind this face, this face that rewrites itself until a perfect person has emerged from the reverie. A perfect image to contain this sad, sad soul.
She fights the physical barriers that keep them from becoming one with a steel pen and wooden sword. Carving adjectives into stone like commandments and soft images in sand, fading with the incoming tide.
When she settles into the dark creases of an eyelid or the white ball of the nose, she marvels at how she knows him in a way that he will never know himself. For her, he is a glass mosaic, a collection of all the things he is, frozen in a moment of time, filtered through the golden stained glass of her perception.
She can carve his face but she must feel blindly for the soul.
The sword is now dull. Her wrists are dusted with graphite. She sits and lies her head on a moldy bed. Dreams of high cheekbones and gray upper lips. Soft eyelashes and hanging earlobes. She dreams of poetry, but it all sounds so biblical in the cadence of her native language.
She can’t step away from the dream and risk seeing the face carved into the stone beneath her. It’s not him. It’s only his face. A shadow of a distant cry of an imprint of the silhouette of the soul.
Why is it so easy for her to capture his face, but not his soul? Why is it so hard for her to capture her face, but not her soul?
I wanted to create an art hybrid platform where I could showcase my writing and art pieces. For most of my senior year art class, I studied faces. Faces in abstraction and realism. I’ve completed countless blind contours, one-line pen sketches, and realistic face studies. The first work displayed on the website is a final project created with a series of one-line pen contours which vary in detail. I overlaid the contours with water color. As the pen work becomes more detailed, the water colors break apart into fragments of triangles and primary/secondary colors.
The next project is a Kehinde Wiley inspired portrait of one of my friends. One of the major themes of this virtual gallery is how it’s easier to replicate another’s face rather than my own. I encountered this conflict on a technical level in my art. After a series of failed self-portraits, and this successful portrait of my friend, I was frustrated by how much simpler it is study someone else’s face. The frustration took its metaphorical roots, which inspired the poetic prose accompanying the art pieces. There is no coherent story, only some poetic prose that provides a scrappy characterization of my own face.
Liliana Hopkins exists at the intersection of science, writing and art. Her creative work has been recognized by the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards, Penn State’s Lake Effect National High School Poetry Contest, Hollins’ 56th Annual Nancy Thorp Poetry Contest and the National Vans Custom Culture Contest. As a volunteer for the BioMedical Engineering & Imaging Institute at Icahn School of Medicine Mt. Sinai, she redesigned and rewrote the neuroimaging page of their website. Liliana is currently writing literary articles for Soul Talk Magazine and finishing her final year of high school.