Welcome 2017! With the new year comes a new project that has been in the works since late 2016. I have started a new series of paintings that are self portraits based on selfies that I’ve taken. Only selfies- none of the reference photos are shot by a photographer other than myself and with my iphone. I wanted to be as DIY as possible and keep the project simple. My inspiration for this series came from one of my favorite painters Frida Kahlo. She was an amazing woman that wasn’t afraid to be true and raw in her work. Her sincerity and openness in her self portraits spoke to me and inspired me to do my own. I thought: if Frida can paint self portraits, so can I.
The series started out like any good adventure, not quite knowing what I was getting into and learning along the way how I wanted to express myself. As I started completing paintings, and posting them on social media I would get various comments about my work. One of the comments was: “You look much prettier in real life than how you portray yourself in your work.” I thought that was interesting because I wasn’t really trying to go for a “pretty” look, more like a painting that would grab attention and make you think about it. My work has started many conversations among friends and family about beauty and art over the past few months.
Another surprising outcome was when someone on Facebook was discussing how ridiculous they thought selfies were. They said that selfies were a product of the narcissistic millennial generation. I chuckled to myself thinking about how Iv’e been heavily involved with this “selfie culture” and now its a part of my artwork. We had a lengthy discussion where I expressed my view on the selfie phenomenon.
Yes, I am a millennial. I’ll be 25 in July. I grew up taking selfies, starting with point and shoot cameras in the mirror and watching the cell phone industry take off to where it is now. As a teenager, selfies were a way to show the world yourself in the best light. It was a way to say hey, I am beautiful and interesting, just look at my profile picture. It was a way to challenge all the naysayers and bullies in my school who thought I was a fat weirdo art nerd. Quite simply, selfies helped me find the beauty in myself.
When I paint from a selfie, I consider everything. I look at every zit, hair, fat roll, scar, all the “imperfections”. I also look at the pretty things; my tattoos, piercings, long blonde hair, and that wild searching look in my eye. After over 50+ hours of painting and prep into this series I have come to see no flaws, that I simply AM.
I have 13 paintings in the series so far and I intend to make it to 20. I’ll be looking for a gallery to show my work and in the meantime more ideas of creative compositions and pallets to use in the next 7 paintings. As always, email me with any questions! Stay tuned fellow art nerds….