Zachary Proctor: Head Paintings


Zachary Proctor is a talented painter with a series called Head Paintings. He explains, “Painting faces is usually one of the hardest things to paint. When you’re painting someone that’s looking right at you, if you’re a centimeter off there or a quarter of an inch off here, it starts to look tricky. There’s a lot in the identity of a person. The variety of faces you get is pretty fascinating. The expression, emotions and identity that people attach to, it’s fun to think about.”  Proctor was profiled previously on The Krakens for his adventure paintings. He lives in Salt Lake City, Utah and holds a BFA from the University of Utah and an MFA from Utah State University.

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You’ve said, “I’m less concerned with looking at something and making it exactly like that. I’m more interested in interpreting it and expressing the way I want to see it or the way I want to remember it.” Explain. There are a lot of talented and skilled people out there painting portraits. I mainly started doing it to pay the bills and subsidize the endeavor of an “art career.” My main goal in painting someones portrait is to capture their essence as well as their likeness. As I stare at their face I often find myself reflecting on their journey, what has happened to them in their life, and who will they become. I often wonder if they will cure cancer or invent the next great wonder. As you think about someone you really come to appreciate the battles they are fighting and the beauty they have inside. We never really know what people are dealing with and painting someone offers a unique vantage point into who someone is and what they are about.

Explain your Head Paintings project and the reception you’ve received. I number of years ago I decided to start a personal project, There is nothing terribly unique about it, but I thought if I painted 100 head paintings, that I would get pretty good at painting faces. The project started out fast and I worked hard on it, yet things started to get in the way and distract me from it, i.e graduate school, gallery work, and what have you. As the project progressed people started wanting to commission me to paint their heads and that created a good fit. That way I could paint faces and get better, while people pay me to do it. I am getting close to #70 and I have multiple people lined up to finish the project off.

Visit Zachary Proctor’s website.

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