What is a self portrait anyways?
I recently read that you have to have a huge ego in order to even call yourself an artist. I suppose that would mean self portraits are the work of megalomaniacs?
Self portraits are a very personal thing. It’s like digging under your own skin to see what you can find. The benefit of sharing something so personal is to shuck the ego and get back to that pure place when we were little kids and nobody cared if they were naked and everybody loved to get muddy.
Occasional self-searching is healthy. It helps to stay balanced, assess progress in set goals, and perhaps make adjustments to life on the fly. For me, lately as an artist I’ve been struggling to find my voice. Perhaps its because I’ve only just begun to take myself seriously as an artist after 20+ years of neglect, and I have 20+ years of ideas and concepts to work through. I think my current interest in examining myself through imagery is an effort to find that voice.
Other artists go through this all the time. I remember reading about Canadian artist John Scott’s self-named “Diane Frankenstein” period during a difficult time in his life back in the 80′s. (See http://www.ccca.ca/c/writing/s/scott-jay/sco001t.html) The phrase and his impact on me has stuck ever since. I turn 44 this year; I’m fighting off feelings of frailty, conjuring images of a chipped & cracked china tea cup for a spine after too many years in construction. As my own mortality creeps up on me, perhaps my fascination with recording self-images is partly a desire to leave as much of myself behind as possible.
But then, maybe it’s better to never get a complete handle on identity- to keep learning and stretching, always finding something new? I suppose it makes sense that as each day passes with new experiences, we become a new person over and over again….
With hopefully more to come, here’s to a new day.
Lend me your thoughts,