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Bryant Portwood

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Bryant Portwood Painting: man slouched in subway car alone

“Search for connection”

Inspriation: The first painting depicts a man in a vacant subway car. Following the pandemic, the NYC subway experienced a huge drop in passengers. It went from a can of sardines to a ghost train. The subway is an essential part of new york city living, and the painting is a reflection of the city. The man sits hunched over, beaten down by his current situation. This image depicts an impossible environment, where a lower light source illuminates the man’s feet. To be honest, I conceived the idea as a portal. To where, who knows?

Bryan Portwood Painting: man with masks over whole face


Inspiration: The second painting is a self portrait where the face is completely covered with multiple masks. I have heard many different interpretations of this painting ranging from a comical reflection on the current situation to a more serious assertion of society’s blindness to the full picture of the present situation. It is an ambiguous image. Every day I see less people wearing masks. I don’t know if it is because they believe the pandemic is over or they don’t fully understand the precautionary measures of wearing a mask. Personally, in serious situations, I tend to let humor remedy my mindset. The full spectrum of the interpretations was intended. I wanted the painting to be serious yet funny. It was made in response to my observations of people without masks and those who gather with a mask dangling from one ear or pulled down beneath their noses.

Artist Bio: Bryant Portwood is a contemporary figurative painter living and working out of New York City but originally from Charlotte, NC. Bryant received his BA in studio art with an art history minor from Centre College. Additionally he earned his MFA in painting with an anatomy minor from the New York Academy of Art. Bryant has developed a unique visual language primarily through his use of color, and more recently, through his brushwork and application of paint. While Bryant continues to make daily studies where he works to further develop his understanding of color and form, his personal work revolves around themes of escapism, nostalgia, and the human experience. His work aims to use color and imaginative elements to enhance a seemingly mundane moment.


Bryant Portwood is one of many talented artists that are showcasing their work on fuconomy.com. If you found this work inspiring and want to see more pandemic art, head to the pandemic artwork page, or try work from another artist, Estelle Woolley. Or if you want to share your own work and have fuconomy showcase it, please complete the submission form.