As artists, there is often a divide between creating our “art” and selling our “skills”. Part of my artistic abilities is to draw photo-realistic portraits based on photographs. But I had always found that despite having the talent to draw in this manner, it was never expressing something truly authentic. I was showcasing my skills over my voice, vision, or experience… until I started this series. These charcoal portraits represent different members of my family, of the people closest to me. By spending countless hours bringing their faces to life, I got to spend a great deal of time reflecting on their presence and contributions to my life. Even if time has run it’s course, these portraits allowed me to represent them in ways that I want to remember them. And ultimately, it allowed me to combine the “art” and the “skills” into a meaningful and personal series.