Painting portraits of people is a chance to interact with the sitter, but the end product will always be an imposed point of view by the artist through their marks and visions. From my own experience, the process is a one-sided conversation, and the sitter is a passive participant. They entrust the artist to interpret who they are, and how they should be presented.
The rise in selfies indicates the desire to express oneself and impose one’s own point of view to the world. But the stigma around selfies – self-portraits using a mobile phone camera and shared around the internet – is often seen as a self-centered act.
The tension between the artist and the sitter’s intentions intrigued me. The best way to know someone is by listening to their stories. And I want to hear people’s stories through their self-portraits. So, I designed this experiment to see how both can contribute to the conversation, as a way for me to get to know the people I care about.
For this series, I asked friends to participate by taking their own selfies, and only share with me those they feel truly represent how they want to be seen. I then interpret them into paintings, layering on my own views as we listen to each other. My hope is to create something that represents our conversation and have fun in the process. I choose watercolor as the medium because this is my chance to learn it.
What I’ve learned is that anything that compels us to capture ourselves at that moment is worth taking a look. These micro-visions are highly important to our self-awareness, and ability to process our place in the world.
This is an on-going series. I really appreciate everyone who is brave enough to their stories with me. I hope you enjoy the end-product of our interactions.