Kai Samuels-Davis primarily works with found images, which he then transforms into a new persona the is deliberately ambiguous.
The California-based artist often starts with a sketch or a simple circle to build upon for the face. He then layers linear paint strokes and washes of color to form shapes you don’t normally see in traditional portraiture. The artist works on a space between the representational and expressive, being able to focus on emotion through abstraction, giving the viewers the opportunity to create their own narrative and makes each piece distinctively personal.
“None of the final aesthetic is planned,” Samuels-Davis told Colossal. “Each mark, brush stroke and color is a reaction to what came before it. When I’m working on a portrait the subject appears to morph between multiple individuals over the course of the painting, often times becoming slightly androgynous in the process. I tend to bounce around the surface a lot, pushing and pulling between background and subject, painting over parts, figuring out what each piece needs until there’s nothing I would change.”