"The creation of art is not the fulfillment of a need but the creation of a need.
The world never needed Beethoven's Fifth Symphony until he created it. Now we could not live without it."

-Louis I. Kahn, Architect

Saturday, 7 August 2010

Portrait of Richard Feynman

Richard Feynman (1918 –1988), one of the most brilliant theoretical physicists of this last century was also one of our greatest minds.
In 1965 he received the Nobel Prize in Physics for his contributions to the development of quantum electrodynamics (QED), jointly with Julian Schwinger and Sin-Itiro Tomonaga. He developed a widely used visual representation for the mathematical expressions governing the behaviour of subatomic particles, which later became known as “Feynman diagrams”. Yet Feynman despised honours and “academic” authorities. He even considered refusing his Prize!

Feynman was not just “another scientist”, he was a larger-than-life character.
His contributions were not limited to science but were also artistic. He was indeed a good painter, a poet and an enthusiast bongo player!
His innate "child-like” curiosity and creativity caused him to be “labelled” a “genius”.
His personality was as summed up by General Donald Kutyna: "Feynman had three things going for him. Number one, tremendous intellect and that was well known around the world. Second, integrity…..Third, he brought this driving, desire to get to the bottom of any mystery. No matter where it took him, he was going to get there, and he was not deterred by any roadblocks in the way. He was a courageous guy, and he wasn't afraid to say what he meant."

Unlike Professor Steven Hawking, I couldn’t have had the chance to ever meet Richard Feynman. However his writings, his filmed interviews, his recorded lectures, his drawings, paintings and poems have survived. They were all created by the same mind and can reach us as if still alive.

Helped with pictures or videos available on the Internet, I tried to capture his colourful and engaging personality: intense, deep yet frivolous.

The background looks like the “chaos” of particles collisions. This is no accident. I used here a technique similar to a Jackson Pollock’s “dripping paint”. But unlike Pollock, I didn’t stop there.

In my portrait of Feynman, his body posture has a Y shape. This is my preferred letter. I believe this was his too.
Here is one of his poems:

I wonder why?
I wonder why?
I wonder why I wonder?
I wonder why I wonder why I wonder why I wonder?
(In "Surely you're joking, Mr. Feynman!")

"The Art of Richard P. Feynman". Compiled by Michelle Feynman.
More from my upcoming book "The eye inside

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