Doug Forbes: 52 Inspired People
“The 52 Inspired People Project was originally envisioned as a testament to the people in my life that inspire. And I think that the very simple vision was what allowed it to mature.
The project matured into something I wasn’t prepared for. Intimacy.
The first portrait I did, I was taken by the intimacy I developed. It was raw and deeply empathetic. It was hard to understand and impossible to stick in the categories I reserve for feelings for others; like love, friendship, or family.
The first portrait was of a close friend, so I figured it was probably feelings derived from drunk bonding moments. So I laughed it off and moved on with the project. Every portrait was different in story, context, and thought; but equally as similar in intimacy. And I was starting to get uncomfortable. Maybe the first portrait was a close friend and a few others were portraits of family; but a number of the subjects are best categorized as acquaintance, coworker, or a random person I had met only a few times. Yet the feeling of intimacy was still there.
I was committed and decided to continue the project. Slowly I came to realize why I–or any of us–are inspired. I had discovered that inspiration is far stronger a bond then I had ever considered. I had discovered how beautiful and honest inspiration is. And it took 52 portraits painted, oil on board, to get it.
You see inspiration is the driver of ideology and respect. It is the road signs to being a better person. It is the hand that leads you through the dark. Inspiration is purpose. It is promise. And it is always intimate, no matter whether the person of inspiration knows it. Inspiration guides us to the person we want to be—to the person we will become.
As I neared the end of the project I was finally comfortable with the truth of inspiration. And was really enjoying the memories, thoughts, and inspiration derived from each portrait–each person.