I didn't think these paintings would be successful when I started working on them. I was convinced that the series would be a career killer. On the contrary, this turned out to be my most successful project ever. I owe a big debt of thanks for a lot of that success to Kittredge Cherry over at Jesus In Love. She discovered this series online and has championed it ever since, and even devoted a chapter of her book, Art that Dares to these paintings. Paintings from this series have appeared in magazines and on numerous blogs (both admirers and detractors).
I began the series in the summer of 2001, and was 4 panels into it when September 11th happened. Once all the smoke cleared and I cleaned the dust out of my Lower East Side studio, I began work in earnest on this project. I finished it early in 2005. These are all paintings on wood panels, 18 inches by 14 inches each. I still have a few of them, but most of them were sold separately and are now scattered across the country.
I dedicated this series of paintings to Barbara Crafton, a good friend who helped me out during some very hard times, as well as a lot of other people.
1. The Son of Man
14. Jesus is Nailed to the Cross
I had a lot of influences and inspirations for this project in both its form and content from Albrecht Dürer's prints to the paintings of Leon Golub, from the movies of Orson Welles to the Civil Rights era photographs of Charles Moore, and literary inspiration from WH Auden to William Blake to Herman Melville to Hannah Arendt to Paul Tillich.
I spent many years thinking about this project and making sketches before I started the first panel.
I don't know if I will ever do anything quite like this again, though I've thought a lot about how I might do it differently since I finished it 7 years ago.