Red Demeanour - An experimental self portrait of my hidden rage by Christopher Pottruff

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Red Demeanour - An experimental self portrait of my hidden rage by 

Sizing Information

Small 8.0" x 10.7"
Medium 12.0" x 16.0"
Large 16.0" x 21.4"
Note: Image size. Matboard and frame increase size of final product


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Let me explain. I have trouble expressing anger. I believe that it could be extremely destructive if I were to show it to the world. So I swallow it, maintain an impassive facade whilst the anger blazes within me, a veritable inferno of the soul.

I have good reason to feel angry at the moment, have done since late November, in fact. There is a schism within my family which no amount of industrial strength glue can ever fix. I am the focus of that schism. I have been burying intense feelings of rage for 4 months now, wanting so badly to express that rage through my images, and fearing that they, like the feelings themselves, could be somehow dangerous.

So what you see in front of you is not necessarily a picture of me expressing my anger – you will notice the impassive look on the face, too controlled, too level. The spiking “flames” of anger are the very things that I strive to contain – not everyone deserves to get burned. And besides, it tends to make me physically sick on the odd occasions when I do lose my temper.

As usual, this image didn’t really turn out as I had planned – it would probably have been less representational and more abstract had I followed my original instinct. This is the result of a series of experiments with extrusion and fractalius applied to a medley of photographs of myself and some fireworks – red, explosive and angry.

And I’d like to thank my friend James Lewis-Hamilton for commenting so astutely on my portrait of Dave last week. It was precisely the absence within that portrait that was so important – the things that I was choosing not to say (though I must point out that Dave has been nothing but supportive through this whole sorry affair, so my anger is not in any way directed at him. If anything he is as much a victim of this current situation as I.) Hopefully I will now find it easier to talk about this anger through my images.

Sorry to have written at such length – but it is so good to have got that off my chest! All part of the healing process……….


  • James Lewis Hamilton
    James Lewis Ha...about 5 years ago

    The healing process can take an instant or an eon… but it can’t happen at all IF it isn’t entered into. So, it appears like you have entered ‘the fire’… made a commitment to shift from the hidden slow burn of insincerity to an authentic expression of your inner state. As you burn… be aware you are not alone… this was ME for so long… this is so many of us… though, as you point out we keep it damped down, hidden and ‘depressed’! (and anti-depressants don’t put it out, merely hid it deeper!)
    So, first is an honoring… for finding a safe and honest way to express your rage. (Also a good artistic way;-)) The image says way more than you might imagine… you may want to load it so others or even you can purchase it (maybe a card?)… imagine carrying it, being confronted with one of your current triggers (family etc. (it’s what their divine purpose is!))… instead of reacting TO THEM… you step aside (outside) and pull this card out of your pocket. Look into your eyes, take at least three deep breaths, look into your eyes again.
    I can’t say exactly what such a process will give YOU… but I can say what I see when I look at this burning image of your face. I see eyes that are first flashing the anger of the fire… but that also appear to me to be on the threshold of a ‘shift’! Personally I see deep compassion… ready to emerge and not only quell the fire, but very possibly access the deepest love within you. Yes! first to love yourself, but also a love that entertains the possibility to love your ‘triggers’… maybe even ‘come’-‘pass’-‘on’ into expressing gratitude… always “A Great Attitude”!
    I also see a mouth on the verge of changing direction, was more down turned, but here is on the way up… and eventually into a smile!
    When you are ready sir, fine and talented artist that you are, make another image of your self… same eyes, but softened and maybe those tears brim up and even over flow. And the lips shifted so the corners of the mouth lifted. Now you select the colour pallet and patterns of this second self portrait.
    ALL of this and much more is within you… how do I know?… look at your image again… look at your art… you’ve placed your truth on the page!
    I won’t apologize for the length of my comment…. hahahaaaa… I just hope you’ll keep giving me and others the opportunity to comment again.

  • James

    Just – very quickly – to say “Thank you”. I have exposed much more of myself than I had ever intended. Your acceptance means a lot to me.

    Very best wishes.


    – Christopher Pottruff

  • Christine Oakley
    Christine Oakleyabout 5 years ago

    Congratulations on your 29 March 2010 Vibrant Orange Feature!

  • rodeorose
    rodeoroseabout 5 years ago

    Congratulations on the feature! Gorgeous work.

  • Thank you. Anger is so very difficult to represent in an artistic manner. I’m glad that I have managed to do so here.

    – Christopher Pottruff

  • JenLand
    JenLandabout 5 years ago

    Unexpressed anger is a very toxic and you’ve taken the first step of healing beautifully!! This resonates with me very powerfully, I stuff anger and rage as well and have recently begun the process of finding ways to safely express it. I believe it will be a while before I feel completely whole but it’s a start. Keep up the good work!!!

  • eoconnor
    eoconnorabout 5 years ago

    well directed anger image .this art is a wonderful outlet for all emoyions if you are willing to risk you will learn to free yourself of its intensity !LIZ done

  • Devalyn Marshall
    Devalyn Marshallalmost 5 years ago

    Wow! I feel the power and sadness behind this beautiful work!

  • margotmythmaker
    margotmythmakerover 4 years ago

    This is incredible Christopher. I feel compelled to commend you for sharing here. There are many ways to release anger-and this is certainly a creative beginning.
    Thanks for your honesty and I wish you well in “getting the fire out!”

    Like the outdoors? Take and stick and start beating the ground with it till you’ve gotten it all out. How do you know when you are done? When you cry. It’s worked for me-I’m just sayin…:) best, Margot

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