Saturday, February 15, 2020

Selfies


Continued from Instagram:  Found this one in storage on my last visit to Nashville. I was likely 22-23 when I painted this self portrait, the age that many of my student are now.  I painted so many self portraits back then.  It was a convenient subject, a free model.  I was learning to paint, shifting through styles of representation.   Then, of course, there was the vanity of youth-- an endless introspection into the person I was becoming.   I'm somewhat grateful that I was born on the cusp of this new age, with one foot in the real and the other in the virtual as it takes shape.    Selfies are unnatural to me, but I can sympathize with the generations that are growing up in a state of constant reckoning with their own image.   We now live in age where self-promotion and branding is the expectation, where the minutiae of our faces are to be offered up daily for public consumption.   Perhaps because of this, and an accepted lack of photogenicity, I have shied away from the trend.   In my past studio practice, there were tens of self-portraits in regular production at any given time; to say I made a hundred in graduate school feels like only a slight exaggeration.   Many were painted over or destroyed.  Most are in storage and are largely forgotten.  (Coming from the last years of an age where photographic documentation was also cost prohibitive!)    I suspect I have made less than ten in the twenty years since.   

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