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12th November 2017
Powerful palette knife paintings capture vulnerability of men with mental health issues

Australia-based contemporary artist Joshua Miels captures the emotions of human beings through a series of colorful, multi-layered, large-scale portraits. His most recent work focuses on capturing the vulnerability of men who suffer from mental health issues, which is a subject close to Miels’s heart.

The expressive painter starts by breaking photos of subjects down into shapes using computer software. Using these shapes as a basis, Miels then builds up details on canvas with layers of thick oil paint using a range of palette knives. The intimate portraits often feature men looking past the viewer, in solemn hues of blues and intense reds. Having a family member who has struggled with mental health issues, Miels hopes that his paintings will raise awareness by encouraging viewers to “look, reflect, and think about someone who might be struggling.”

Miel sometimes projects his own emotions onto his canvases in an abstract form. “I like to feel the struggle when I paint,” he reveals, and sometimes—on “bad days”—deliberately damages a piece to “give it some life.” (written by Emma Taggart via My Modern Met).