Friday, February 18, 2011

The Many Reasons for a Self-Portrait

Hello. If anyone is familiar with my art, you'll know I do a lot of self-portraits. Sometimes I get comments like "oh, do you paint anyone else?" or questions about why I paint myself so much. The reasons aren't vain, and it's not that I don't trust myself to be able to render another person faithfully; there are other reasons than that.

I recently Stumbled Natsumi Hayashi's self-portraits, seen here on My Modern Met. Her personal website is here, with text in Japanese.

I really love all of these shots. They remove you from reality, and add an element of the peculiar to everyday life scenes. I don't think it would have the same effect if it were photographs of models, or a different person in every shot. These photos read like a diary; the normal everyday life of a woman who happens to be able to levitate. Aside from the obvious charm, you get a glimpse into her personality and it leaves you wondering more about her.

When I paint myself, it's never really to show a new side of myself, or to have the viewer get to know me better. It's hard to describe, but what I really want to do is create a context that the viewer can place themselves in. I use myself as a constant. We are all a bit self-indulgent and self-centered, especially in the culture of the present, and there really is no easier context to digest the world than the eyes of oneself. So, in a way, when I paint myself, it's not to show you what I see, it's a way to show you what you see.

If you couldn't tell, I'm not much of an artist with words. Hope that made sense and hope this little ramble finds you well. I'll send you off with a few pictures of me and Malcolm. He's actually my boyfriend Keith's dog but I'm taking care of him right now (quite happily, I might add.)