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Get Selfish!!!! Selfies (Making self Portraits)

Updated: Mar 25, 2020

All drawing and painting (art) is to some extent self portraiture. It shows the viewer our decision making, our preference in tools, our world view, obsessions, likes/dislikes and creative impulses. Our heroes and villains, wants - needs and aspirations.

In some ways the art made that is NOT a literal self portrait (ie a picture that is made portraying the artist) is more revealing on the above criteria. And it may be that the “literal” selfie self portrait is more subtley indicative than those pictures where more choice is exercised.

So instead of asking “ does this picture look like me” you may ask what does this picture say about me?

Freda Khalo asked that question repeatedly and included her mentors, demons and obsessions. Rembrandt said much with the deepening shadows that shrouded his eyes as he aged on canvas.  Stanley Spencers selfies reveal a seriously radical and sexual psyche wrapped in dilemmas.

There are many more who explore the variables of being human and questioning their motives and thoughts as well as their appearance.

In effect their appearance becomes a cloak on which to hang their thoughts, observations and musings. This might be called a device.. A way to engage the viewer.

You are saying first of all “ hey look - this is my face” .. and then.. This is still my face.. How I look to myself. And some more.

They are self examinations, explorations and inquisitions. You may ask - are they valuable?

To you? 

That imbued importance is everything and nothing.  To you it may be the first of any number of revelations and insights. Or an exercise.

 It could change the way you think about yourself or the way you think about others. 

I say give it a chance.

To that end I suggest a few exercises to draw you in to the process.

  1. Write down the six most important things in your life and draw them and you together.

  2. Choose two colours (include white paper to make three) and use them for your SP.

  3. Choose a “Sharpy” marker and do five Sharpy Selfy drawings in an hour.

  4. Change the light you use .. your back against a window for example.

  5. Wear sunglasses.

  6. Wear a hat.

  7. Take photos as you go.

  8. I am sure you can add significantly to the list.

The marvelous thing is that given a list so broad you really don't have to worry about the results.. In any event folks will bring there own baggage to the party. 

“Oh you drew yourself in a sombrero .. what fun.” Never mind you are commenting on the infamous trump wall and isolation!! Oy maybe you like mexican food?


So without getting too sweaty over things you COULD spend  weeks exploring YOU. And it would not be time wasted.

Hope that helps

Tony A

March 2020.




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