Occhiolism (36” x 36”) ink and acrylic on canvas. A painting based on a made up word in John Koenig’s book Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows. The word means “the awareness of how fundamentally limited your senses are — noticing how little of your field of vision is ever in focus, how few colors you’re able to see, how few sounds you’re able to hear, and how intrusively your brain fills in the blank with its own cartoonish extrapolations— which makes you wish you could experience the whole of reality instead of only ever catching a tiny glimpse of it, to just once step back from the keyhole and finally open the door.
Sonder (36” x 36”), ink and acrylic on canvas, inspired by a made up word in John Koenig’s Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows. He defines the word as --
“Sonder: the realization that each random passerby is the main character of their own story, in which you are just an extra in the background.
You are the main character. The protagonist. The star at the center of your own unfolding story. You're surrounded by your supporting cast: friends and family hanging in your immediate orbit. Scattered a little further out, a network of acquaintances who drift in and out of contact over the years. But there in the background, faint and out of focus, are the extras. The random passerby. Each living a life as vivid and complex as your own. They carry on invisibly around you, bearing the accumulated weight of their own ambitions, friends, routines, mistakes, worries, triumphs, and inherited craziness.”
Allope (36” x 36”), acrylic on canvas, inspired by a made-up word in John Koenig’s The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows. He defines the word as “a mysterious aura of loneliness you feel in certain places; the palpable weight of all the lonely people secretly holed up in their houses and apartments, with a flickering blue glow cast up on their walls— so many of whom might just want to feel needed, and could be that for each other if only they could somehow connect.”
Koinophobia (35” x 36”), acrylic and ink on canvas, inspired by a made up word in John Koenig’s The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows. He defines the word as “While you’re in it, life seems epic. Fiery, tenuous, and unpredictable. But when you look back over your story, or try to put it down on paper, you can see more of it at once than ever before — and yet it seems somehow diminished. Humble. Almost quaint.”
Aftersome (36” x 36”), acrylic and pen on canvas, inspired by a made-up word in John Koenig’s The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows. He defines the word as “astonished to think back on the bizarre sequence of accidents that brought you to where you are today — as if you’d spent years bouncing down a Plinko pegboard, passing through a million harmless decision points, any one of which might’ve changed everything— which makes your long and winding path feel fated from the start, yet so unlikely as to be virtually impossible.
36" x 36"
acrylic on canvas
This short series of paintings are inspired by the book The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows by John Koenig. In this book, the author describes a series of invented words that describe universally recognizable but unnamed emotions. I tried to find visual representations of some of these words.
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