The Victorian/Edwardian eras have always captured my attention. For years I’ve collected vintage photographs of men of the period, who represent for me a masculine ideal, if largely a constructed one. Their bearded faces and distinguished attire are spectacular, while their stiff poses and serious expressions belie their vulnerability. My recent translation of these small colorless photographs into monumental expressionist portraits is an attempt to ruminate on these contradictions. I also want to draw parallels between the rituals of initiation found in Western culture and those practiced in tribal cultures by painting these gentlemen with colors inspired by bird-of-paradise flowers and the extravagantly decorated Huli Wigmen of Papua, New Guinea.