The Scream by Jina Wallwork
(Jina’s version of The Scream by Edvard Munch)
Kyle T. Webster has created digital versions of the paint brushes used by Edvard Munch. These virtual brushes can be used in Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Sketch. As an artist, I was eager to use them in order to develop a deeper connection with the artwork of Edvard Munch. I imagined that when using his brushes I would think mainly of his technique, yet I was mistaken. I recognized the brushstrokes being created and I felt a level of fascination, but it triggered something much deeper.
When I worked on my version of the scream I felt overwhelmed by the content of the work. I’ve seen the artwork many times and many people have created their own version. Each parody sanitizes the original work because as a society we have become comfortable with the image. It has blended into the visual language of our culture and it’s difficult to connect to the work as an image when it has become a visual symbol.
When his work was first created I’m sure it made people uncomfortable. I wonder if it attracted so much parody because we tend to use humor to alleviate discomfort. Perhaps the work would’ve been more forgettable if it sat comfortably in the gaze of the viewer. Therefore, Munch succeeded in what he was trying to achieve.
As I painted, I contemplated the ambition of Edvard Munch. A scream is a visceral expression of emotion and attempting to depict it within a painting is a high aim. He was suggesting that art is capable of expressing a high level of emotion. A scream occurs when the level of emotion is so great that it can’t be contained. The scream ruptures the silence and scars the ears of any witnesses.
Munch is declaring that such a high level of emotion can be expressed through a piece of artwork. He believes in the power of art and his own abilities. I didn’t realize the enormity of the challenge that he had set for himself. I was painting with his brushes while tackling a content matter that required confidence and self belief. I needed to believe that art can express any emotion, even something so visceral. The experience has pushed me to question if there are any limits to artistic expression. Munch’s painting is a masterpiece and it reminds all artists that anything is possible.