Yellow man in Blue Box

Art, visual arts, sketches, ideas by Gianluca Barcbello, Italy


Yellow man in Blue Box

Dear friend Henri,

I hope this message finds you well. This month I had to work a lot to pay for the apartment and therefore I had little time to draw. After your last letter I was very happy and I really appreciated your advice. However I just finished a new drawing and I would like to share it with you, not only because you are my friend, but because you always have a way of seeing the deeper layers of things. So, here it is: Let me take you on a little journey through my latest piece, “Yellow Man in Blue Box”.

As always I will divide this letter of mine into paragraphs so you can read it more easily.

  1. Objective description of the drawing.
  2. Reason that encouraged me to paint this drawing.
  3. Message conveyed by the work.
  4. The technique used to create the work.
  5. Personal final criticism.

1) Objective description of the drawing

The title already says a lot, right? “The yellow man in the blue box.” It’s part of my “Communication in a Box” series, which explores the idea of ​​limited expression. This particular piece depicts a stylized, simplified figure – think rag doll, but not in a cute way. It’s all twisted and twisted, it really gives off that trapped, desperate vibe. His face is raised, his mouth wide open in a silent scream, his eyes black and empty, as if he is looking for a way out but losing hope. His legs are bent towards his chest, almost suffocating him, and his arms reach out like tentacles, pressing against the sides of the box, trying to create some space. The entire figure is colored a bright, almost sickly yellow, outlined with rough charcoal strokes that add a gritty texture. The background is this deep, almost eerie dark blue, which really brings out the yellow and heightens the sense of confinement and struggle.

2) Reason that encouraged me to paint this drawing

Honestly, I often feel like this yellow man. Trapped in a life that doesn’t feel quite right, you know? Expressing it this way helps me come to terms with those feelings. It’s like capturing the feeling of being overwhelmed by demands and judgments, both internally and from the world around us. Every day feels like a battle to separate what’s important from what’s just noise, and this drawing is my way of meeting that challenge head on. There’s something cathartic about putting it on paper: it’s like recognizing that the struggle gives me a little more control over it. It’s funny how art can do that, right?

3) Message that I would have liked the drawing to communicate

The message here is quite raw and personal. These are those phobias and frustrations that we often create ourselves as a form of self-defense. We are both the jailer and the imprisoned, which is a difficult concept to grapple with. In this age of constant, often superficial communication, we feel as if we are drowning in a sea of ​​empty and conflicting information. It’s no wonder we end up feeling trapped. The piece is a reminder that even though we may feel stuck, we have the power to free ourselves. But first we must recognize the prison we have built for ourselves. This is the first step to finding a way out.

4) The technique used to create the work

For this drawing I used oil pastels mixed with some bold strokes of charcoal. The dimensions are quite modest: just 12.9 x 9.4 inches. I chose this smaller format because I want my art to be accessible, even to those who don’t have much space. The oil pastels give the work a vibrant, almost raw energy, while the charcoal adds that gritty and rough touch that is well suited to the theme of imprisonment and struggle. I love the way these mediums work together, creating a tactile, almost tangible sense of tension and urgency.

5) Personal criticism

Watching it again now, I have to say I’m pretty happy with how it turned out, but I know there’s still a lot to learn. This piece engaged me on a deep and emotional level, and I think that comes through. If I keep pushing in this direction, I think I can really develop this concept further. There’s always room for improvement in technical execution, but honestly, for this drawing, it was more about capturing that raw, emotional impact than capturing every detail. It’s not perfect, but maybe that’s the point. Life is not perfect and neither is art. It’s about the process and the feelings it evokes.

Anyway, that’s the story behind “Yellow Man in Blue Box.” I’d love to hear your thoughts on this. You’ve always had a very keen eye for these things and your feedback means the world to me.

Take care and chat soon,

Your friend Jean-luc

I use drawing as a therapy to heal the soul...I'm still undergoing treatment...

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