Blue Michael

Kohlben Vodden

Blue Michael

Blue Michael tells the story of an unwinnable race, one that chases after two trophies: social achievement and self-actualization. We are all socially programmed to covet achievement and to triumph in competition. Yet, the reality is that we can never truly obtain ‘the trophy,’ as the finish line is ever-shifting, always promising something bigger or better. In stark contrast, pursuing self-actualization means dropping out of this relentless race. There’s no need for competition because we become complete within ourselves.

This abstracted portrait employs symbolism and colour to convey its narrative. The checkered square sections echo the traditional racing flag, while the concept of victory is hinted at by the subconscious finishing line that divides the subject’s face from light to shadow. The muse’s self-acceptance as a proud LGBTIQA+ man is visually captured through the depiction of a heart as an eye. Dominantly, the colour blue showcases the depth of the subject’s character, symbolizing water — an element central to his identity, especially as a former professional swimmer.

Artist Biography

A rising star in the British contemporary art scene, Kohlben Vodden is an Australian-born artist living and working in London, UK. Vodden combines the traditional medium of oil paint with unexpected contemporary techniques such as hard-edged geometric abstraction to create bold chromatic abstracted portraits.

Vodden’s work has been included in private and public exhibitions in Berlin, Brussels, London, Milan, and New York. His original take on contemporary portraiture has also found him featured contemporary art and culture publications including  British Vogue, Create! Magazine, Artist Talk Magazine, and Juturna Male Art Magazine. You can find examples of his artwork and more information about the artist here.