A thread linking these somewhat disparate folks is a concern for civility, uniting the head and hands in work, and beauty as vital to the life lived well.
More personally, the series expresses a longing in me to embrace—as opportunity, cooperation, fellowship—the human throng found in public venues, rather than to embrace another side of me that wants to flee from the clamour and be alone.
Probably it sounds cheesy but the paintings are about freedom, just not the isolating kind, the one that removes others from the picture. Instead, it makes "others" central to the quest.
Among its pro-social qualities, the series emphasizes grace and sprezzatura, Italian for a lightness of manner and indirectness of communication. It considers unselfing rather than individualism as paths to freedom, perhaps a more Old World Catholic-Jewish-Muslim outlook than Anglo-Saxon Protestant.
Visually, the art of Stephan Andrews plays a part, especially in the use of a restricted CMYK palette and effort to make art that is both manually accomplished and thought provoking. The feel of street life in Italy where I lived in 2015-16, and whose messy public culture I struggled to manoeuvre with young children and carless, is also there.
I'd love for you to pick through the images and tell me your thoughts, even if they're uncivil.