What does it mean to be human? It’s a question that has haunted mankind since antiquity, and yet the answer still eludes us. Humanity, and it’s universal truths and ideas such as life, death, spirituality, superstition, wisdom, and mythology, have been the main focus of my art in recent years. Through my work I seek to express both the good and the bad of humanity; the incredible beauty and vast profundity we are capable of, as well as the exceptional cruelty and untold devastation we are more commonly known for. Most recently, I’ve been exploring the symbolism and meanings behind various tarot cards, and interpreting them in my own way within a series of paintings. I believe that myths and spirituality are, in a sense, the soul of humanity, because of their tendency to reflect the values and problems of the culture that spawned them. Ultimately, if my work gets people thinking about who they are and how they fit into the grand tapestry that is human history, then I feel like I’ve accomplished something wonderful.
Duncan Payne is a graduate of the University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma. He grew up in Oklahoma City, where he attended Classen SAS for high school. His work explores the good and the bad of humanity, what it means to be human, as well as religion, spirituality, mythology, and the worlds beyond our senses. In the future, he plans to pursue a career with his art and eventually go to grad school for contemporary art.