The Ovation channel is broadcasting an arts competition titled “Portrait Artist of the Year”. Those chosen to compete submit a self-portrait from which the contestants are chosen. Each round puts each of nine artists, split into three groups of three painting a model. It’s a fascinating show because we’re getting an insider’s view of the artist’s process. The artists are given four hours to complete their painting. At the end of the allotted time, the model gets to choose one of the three paintings to keep.
We take portraits throughout our lives. There’s something unique about watching these artists paint a portrait versus a photograph. There’s a mystery to the process. The artists each have a point-of-view and a style in which they paint. Their unique qualities and styles provide the model with a sneak peak of how they’re viewed by the world. It’s like Cooley’s Looking Glass Self. The idea we have a view of ourselves, a view of how others see us, and finally, a view of how we believe others view us. Portraiture provides the model with a reflection of the energy they put forth in the world.
What do you see when you encounter people? If you were capturing their essence visually what would you include? What draws you to others and how would you depict that in a visual representation of their being? How much of you is projected into how we view others.
This is why I believe art is an equalizer. It gives each of us the opportunity to projects, reflect, and capture the subject both physically and psychically. It demonstrates how much interpretation plays a role in our everyday lives. It shows us our strengths and biases. These artists expose their inner worlds to their subjects. They expose their passion through creation.