Powerful Palette Knife Paintings Capture Vulnerability of Men with Mental Health Issues

Contemporary Oil Painting Emotional Portraits by Joshua Miels

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Australia-based contemporary artist Joshua Miels captures the emotions of human beings through a series of colorful, multi-layered, large-scale portraits. His most recent work focuses on capturing the vulnerability of men who suffer from mental health issues, which is a subject close to Miels’s heart.

The expressive painter starts by breaking photos of subjects down into shapes using computer software. Using these shapes as a basis, Miels then builds up details on canvas with layers of thick oil paint using a range of palette knives. The intimate portraits often feature men looking past the viewer, in solemn hues of blues and intense reds. Having a family member who has struggled with mental health issues, Miels hopes that his paintings will raise awareness by encouraging viewers to “look, reflect, and think about someone who might be struggling.”

Miel sometimes projects his own emotions onto his canvases in an abstract form. “I like to feel the struggle when I paint,” he reveals, and sometimes—on “bad days”—deliberately damages a piece to “give it some life.”

Joshua Miels creates portrait paintings that capture the emotions of men suffering from mental health issues.

Contemporary Oil Painting Emotional Portraits by Joshua Miels

The Collector

Contemporary Oil Painting Emotional Portraits by Joshua Miels

The Collector (detail)

Contemporary Oil Painting Emotional Portraits by Joshua Miels

Supremecy

Contemporary Oil Painting Emotional Portraits by Joshua Miels

The Fall

Contemporary Oil Painting Emotional Portraits by Joshua Miels

The Rise

Contemporary Oil Painting Emotional Portraits by Joshua Miels

Swan

Contemporary Oil Painting Emotional Portraits by Joshua Miels

Inner Thoughts

Contemporary Oil Painting Emotional Portraits by Joshua Miels

Royal Moody

Contemporary Oil Painting Emotional Portraits by Joshua Miels

Transcendent

Contemporary Oil Painting Emotional Portraits by Joshua Miels

The Day That Never Comes

Contemporary Oil Painting Emotional Portraits by Joshua Miels

Elevate

Contemporary Oil Painting Emotional Portraits by Joshua Miels

Social Disconnect 2

Contemporary Oil Painting Emotional Portraits by Joshua Miels

Watch Joshua Miels talk about his work in Henry Thong’s Makers Who Inspire YouTube series.

Joshua Miels: Website | Instagram | Facebook

My Modern Met granted permission to use photos by Joshua Miels.

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Emma Taggart

Emma Taggart is a Contributing Writer at My Modern Met. Originally from Northern Ireland, she is an artist now based in Berlin. After graduating with a BA in Fashion and Textile Design in 2013, Emma decided to combine her love of art with her passion for writing. Emma has contributed to various art and culture publications, with an aim to promote and share the work of inspiring modern creatives. While she writes every day, she’s also devoted to her own creative outlet—Emma hand-draws illustrations and is currently learning 2D animation.

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