Every day we're faced with a seemingly constant assortment of images, video, music, and spoken word that influences our every action and how we live our daily lives; some good, some bad, each one having an influence on the choices we make. And in thinking about all those influences around us, I began to think about those who came before us who have had a significant impact on our world today. Without each of their influences on us, the way we live our lives would not be the same.
"Influential Figures" is a series of portraits of a few prominent people in our recent history who, through following their passions and pursuing what they believed in, have influenced the manner in which our world functions today. Even though many of these individuals faced difficult challenges and hardships, they overcame obstacles and setbacks to ultimately change the course of history and alter the way we conduct our lives. In beginning this series, I was tempted to include individuals who had a negative impact on our world as well as those who have influenced our lives for the better. But in the end, I came to the conclusion that those individuals who have helped improve our world should be celebrated more, simply because their positive influences were more difficult ones. It is much easier to tear down than it is to build up.
I purposefully created these drawings with just one medium: charcoal. Charcoal is a basic medium for expression--dating back to the beginning of man--produced from wooden sticks burnt at a high temperature. Using this medium proves that beauty can be created with very simple tools. And just like these inspiring individuals, with time, dedication, and passion, something that starts out ordinary can be transformed into the extraordinary.
I hope you enjoy these drawings as much as I enjoyed creating them and are inspired by these influential figures who have each had a part in changing so many aspects of our lives simply by being dedicated to what they were most passionate about.
– Casey Childs