Monday, February 16, 2009

Mixed Media Self-Portraits

A couple of weeks ago, Leslie wrote an interesting blog about the 18th century French artist Marie Élisabeth-Louise Vigée, and posted photos of some of her paintings. I particularly liked Vigée’s Self-Portrait in a Straw Hat, which I realized was the image used for my favorite B-Line Stamp (see above).
There’s something about self-portraits that intrigue me—not doing them myself, I mean—but rather, looking at how artists in general perceive themselves visually. That’s why I was drawn to Cate Coulacos Prato’s book, Mixed-Media Self-Portraits: Inspiration & Techniques.
If you’re looking for a catalogue of images by Rembrandt or Durer, you won’t find it here though—and for that reason I think this makes Prato’s approach all the more interesting. I wasn’t familiar with most of the artists in her book, but their self-portraits are fascinating. Instead of producing an actual likeness, most of them took an unconventional and highly personal approach. There are self-portraits done as dolls, a collection of objects, a mask and even a series done from photos taken in one of those booths at the local mall.

All of the projects have detailed instructions that are helpful if you want to try the same kind of thing yourself. There are even tips on how to take your own picture. Whether you want to try doing your own self-portrait or not, this book is a great resource, and I’d recommend it to any artist who wants to experiment with different ways of looking at other people.


wildflowr said...

Sounds interesting...
I think we'd all like to see a slef-portrait of YOU! Were inspired to create one?

wildflowr said...

hehe- dislexic tpying... hehehe

Susan Williamson said...

I think I'm going to have to give the self-portrait thing a go myself, but I have a feeling I'd try to pretty myself up which I don't is really the point, is it?