What is surprising about the painter, Fa-Q, is that he draws nothing but faces. Although FA-Q lost his baby daughter (1990) and ended up in prison after becoming addicted to drugs, I don’t think that the shock of her death is the reason why he started drawing faces or his own portraits in prison.
“Art is a compulsion, I have to do it, and it’s like breathing, no, more than that,” he continues. “Art is the most positive thing I can do, and one of the great things about it is that it doesn’t hurt anyone.”
When I met him in 1987, he’d never been to prison. Then he was a rising star in the art world, getting as much as $2,500 for a painting he could do in a day. He was a star, a rough genius in the art hotbed that centered around the Lower East Side of New York City.
John: What are those heads all about that you draw?
FA-Q: I just doodle around and see what comes out. A lot of times they say that the work looks like the artist.