Something clicked into place for me awhile back regarding one of my most favorite ways to create: self portraits. I’ve been making them since 2010 and the journey has been so rich and deep in many ways. Not unlike my painting journey. I actually got to travel to NYC in 2015 to accept an award for one of my photographs and have had them published in The NY Times and other various online publications. But somewhere along the way, for various reasons, I became super vulnerable about them, feeding a belief that they didn’t matter, that no one cared, that it was pointless as an art form if I wasn’t getting attention for them anymore. Etc. the list goes on.
My good friend Dean said something in a talk we were having about identity along the lines of performance art and how that is just that. Performance art. And something that seems very obvious logically, clicked for me in my body. As with any art form, there is a piece of the artist there. But I had crossed the line of making it too vulnerably personal in my own view of it. Of trying to parse out me from my art. It’s a sticky line we ride as artists. Of putting too much value in the feedback or lack of, we get from the outer world regarding our work.
What they said helped me put this very vulnerable art form, in which I use my own body and face as a canvas, in its proper place inside me. And for the first time in forever, I got excited and felt way less vulnerable about my desire to make them and share them within my wider pantheon of work. That it is less me trying to find my identity or communicating my identity through them and more like my painting work, where I bring out various energies and archetypes to tell a story that others will see themselves in. Of course, first being focused on expressing my experience or exploring an emotion or energy, and others finding themselves as I share from an authentic space. It’s always a bit like drag for me in a way. But naming it as performance art shifted everything in a way that took ownership of what this is for me and how better to put it into the world. And that excites me.
My journey through my personal solar year in self portraiture, from October 25, 2020- this year. I probably grew more this last year than I ever have. Click on any to see it full size.