When I read about Carla Gannis and her “selfie project” — Artist magazine, March 2019 — I was fascinated by the idea of capturing something of myself in an on-going fashion, a sort of visual reminder of who I am. You might remember how I played around with a couple quick — and not very good — self-portraits. In one post, I dared readers to give self-portraiture a try and I used another attempt to examine who I was as an artist.
I realized right away, of course, that a project involving multiple self-images was too far beyond my abilities to be taken seriously, so I gave up those grandiose dreams and fanciful imaginings.
But even the most far-fetched dreams have a way of coming back around, and this is now my year of IMAGINATION. It’s a year filled with ideas and inspirations. And it’s going to be a year filled with images — images of me, as part of my own “selfie project”.
I’m not drawing or painting these images, however. Oh, to be honest, I am still playing around with portraits and paints, but I’m also playing around with digital manipulation. A few months ago, you might remember,I browsed around on-line and looked at what today’s digital artists are creating. Wow! Mind-blowing works!
I don’t really create digital art. I simply manipulate images because that’s all I know how to do. I use filters and distortions. I play with colors. I just do this and do that, and there’s really no rhyme or reason whatsoever to any of it.
And therein lies the problem. Everything I create is created by chance, not by conscious design. I suppose that’s all right when one is simply messin’ around — whether with paint or photography. But it’s become a bit of a frustration for me in my new 2020 IMAGES project.
Yes, like Carla Gannis, I have undertaken a year-long selfie project. Throughout the year I will be creating 52 impressions, all digital expressions of who I am.
But who am I? What is it about me or about my life that I want to capture in digital art? These are questions I ponder each time I prepare to create another image for my collection.
More questions follow, and this leads back to that dilemma. Even if I attempt to capture something about who I am, even if I have a idea in my head about what I want my image to say, even if I want to share a particular message about life and love and home and art or anything else, I simply don’t know how to do it. All I can do is mess around a bit with digital manipulations.
My first three images are simple ones with very little manipulation.
Here I am, messy hair and all, looking at myself from three very similar but slightly different perspectives.
In the first image, I reduced myself and my life to a simple black and white image. Details disappear. I seem poised between darkness and light.
The second image looks somewhat realistic. As with the first image, it’s a simplified version of who I am. I hope one day — before the year is over — to use this as a guide for painting another portrait. I like how it seems to say that life — like this image — doesn’t have to be overly complicated.
With the third image, I reversed the image to give myself a new perspective. I then added color to create a bright outlook, to show myself to the world in a bolder way, yet the image is a bit uncertain. It seems to be a new look I’m trying on, just to see whether or not it fits.
And here, perhaps you’ll see how that dilemma I spoke of comes into play. I can’t, you see, decide upon what I want to say and then say it. Oh, no. For me, it’s a process similar to those reverse photo look-ups you’ll find online. That is to say, I begin with the image I’ve created and then I add an appropriate interpretation.
And, you know what? I think maybe I can learn a lot more about myself from this process than from deliberately and consciously creating images. How about that!