The FACES series was begun at a grand historical Spanish estate, located in the Costa Blanca region of Spain. Rather than the conventional studio atmosphere, Zarum worked from the master bedroom of the Master apartment. A grand space decorated with frescos and old world art. In a most unconventional manner Zarum placed the easel at the foot of the bed with a side table to hold the paints, brushes and other materials, and removing the frosted globe light fixture to expose the 100 watt bulb, Zarum began to work.
Sealing the room off from any natural light using heavy curtains, Zarum found the atmosphere that he needed to begin this body of work. While the lighting was extremely inadequate, and one that most artists would have shied away from, Zarum nevertheless wanted to focus on getting his first vision on to canvas. He would worry about extra light later.
The series began with canvases painted black. Using this technique Zarum wanted to make the colors jump out in a much more vibrant way. Also, by using a black canvas Zarum hoped to have the eye focus more intensely on the central image, in particular the eyes, mouths and expressions of the "faces".
Sitting at the edge of the bed, Zarum would paint until exhausted and then simply fall back on the bed and either sleep or intensely stare at the unfinished painting until he could see what he wanted next.
Secluded alone in this grand estate Zarum painted for almost 2 years producing the bulk of the work that was to become the FACES series that would be exhibited.
The work was done exclusively using a knife. The only use of any brush work was for the outline of the image itself. In this way texture and movement became more intense than simple brush strokes could achieve.
Once the first painting was completed it was taken to a huge room in the house with an abundance of natural light to be photographed. It was at this time that Zarum discovered the true vibrancy of the work. In the single bulb environment of the bedroom Zarum had to push the colors to stand out and blend without losing the sharp contrast he was looking for between the background black canvas and the actual painting. Having felt he achieved this in the bedroom light it came as a surprise bonus when the painting was seen in natural light and took on even more radiance, vibrancy and power. As one observer would go on to say during the premier exhibition of the work, "…in looking at the paintings, one gets a strange feeling that it's not 'me' who's looking at the art, but it is the art that is looking at me with their ever present all-knowing eyes".
The Art of Zarum
The Story of the FACES Series of Paintings
VIDEO showing the Spanish Estate where Zarum lived and worked while he created the FACES Series of work.