Recently I saw something about indirect self-portraits, or people making self portraits through objects/their surroundings, and I really liked this idea (sort of like those psychological self-portraits we did back in our art program, with our figure and a "psychological" background that described us in some way. Mine had jelly-fish in it).
Although some cynics might think that describing who you are with what you own is just a petty representation of our consumerist, materialistic society, I think it's more than that: just as being involved in a certain fandom or asserting your love for a certain song or book, or even the way you dress is a way of identification for yourself as a person, so is this. While any of these things could be a way of saying, "these are the kinds of things that interest me and are important to me," so can the things that we attach memories or meanings to start to represent parts of ourselves.
Just like that old question asks, "If your house was on fire and you had time to save one thing, what would it be?" People's responses to this question can say a lot about them. I think that we can tell a bit about who we are with those things that we often use, consume, or cherish as well. So does a self portrait really need to have our figures in it? Maybe not.
Whatever the case, I decided to give it a whorl, and even looked through some old works of mine to see if maybe I'd already been making indirect portraits of myself in the past.
Here is what I came up with:
Capturing my insistence on neatness and organization, despite the fact that all my art supplies are still covered in paint, just like a lot of my clothes (and my life, if we take this metaphorically? A preserved image of structure, but messy up close?). Oh, and of course there is a Sonic screwdriver inconspicuously amongst everything else.
Some, but not all, of my favourite books. Filtered to be grainy, as some are old and have stood the test of time, just like my love of certain things, but slightly muddy as I can't help but be changeable and like a lot of things or change my mind on where I'm going, what I'm doing, what I like, or who I am at any point in time.
I have an intense addiction to tea. And novelty mugs. And yes, that is a hand-created weeping angel sitting in the background. And yes, the colouring of the reflection and not the objects themselves was purposeful (however very quickly and crudely done). Sort of a cheesy, "what is inside/hidden is more interesting than what is seen on the outside" idea, now that I think about it, though at the time I just thought it would look neat.
A bright pastel drawing of some personal objects I did a while back at school. All the objects kind of represent a part of me in a way, as well as the erratic colouring and strokes and such. However, if we are being honest, not a lot of that was explicitly thought about during the creation of the piece Just upon reflection am I noticing a lot of it now.
I'll let you interpret this one however you want. As an individualist statement, or maybe as a fear of difference thing, or possibly even a black-sheep feeling? Who knows, really?
And so, there you have it.
Maybe not the greatest first attempt, but an interesting exercise nonetheless. Is anyone else intrigued by this idea, or just me? Anyone else want to give it a try and see it how it goes/share anything they've done like this in the past?
(Most of these will likely end up on my deviantart account later, and the pastel drawing is already on there, I believe).