Whether it be for the sake of vanity or for purpose of enticement, I find the subject of the ‘selfie’ or self portraiture from one’s phone quite amusing.
I suppose it’s been ultimately easier to indulge in our narcissism with the rise of technology and the like. Creating “artistic” self portraiture with the aid of editing software/apps Photoshop and Instagram.
“What is its allure? For one thing, it’s ridiculously easy to do. The photographs of my youth were deeply considered affairs – was it worth using up a 24-exposure FujiFilm roll on a photo that might not even be in focus? No such worries with a cameraphone. Selfies offer a modicum of control in a snap-happy era, where you’re in charge of the image produced, and all editorial decisions are yours..”
Bim Adewunmi – The Rise and Rise Of The ‘Selfie – The Guardian
I’m not crying this practice down at all, just to be clear. Nor am I suggesting that people who take self pics and edit them through the various apps, are necessarily non talented and clueless – though many often are. That’d be pretentious.
Still, at the same time I’m not going to suggest that these images are in fact art. Contrary to popular belief, adding a filter to a photograph does not necessarily make it artistic. I wonder at times if; would what one might refer to as a ‘selfie fail’ be more eligible for the title of artistic shot-commenting on self esteem, self worth and awkwardness-than a pristine or “perfect” shot of one’s good side.
Think of all the meaning one could find, right?
It’s not uncommon to hear someone dismiss a piece saying, “I could do that” with the common misconception that art is only about technical ability or 90% technical ability and %10 concept. So basically, if one can’t do it, then it constitutes as art. I’m throwing around random percentages and figures like I’ve done extensive research on the matter.
Sometimes a work will be thought of, conceptualised, and executed all within the span of a few minutes, hours or a few short days. Length of time-it doesn’t necessarily give it any less validity than paintings of the old nor modern masters. This does not, or rather should not infer that it is of any less worth or little importance.
I’ve done just about a handful of self portraits, through painting et al.
Why? I guess I like how I look in painting. It’s not a bad exercise when just generally practicing and taking time for some reflection at the same time. Also represents a time that would hold some meaning to me.
So what makes me think I can just take a random ‘selfie’ off of Google images, make a painting of the same nude and call it art? Truth is I could skip the illustration, just take the photo post it up and call it a commentary on self pics. Make a collage like the one on the guardian, assisted by writing and call it art.
Never mind the background in which the subject stands is actually sourced from a surreal documentary. I’ve effectively taken the subject out of it’s original environment and placed it into a different one but a similar one. Similar in that it still resembles a bathroom, possibly a shower.
And the addition of the Flintstone, style window with Fred and Barney sitting out in the back smoking cigarettes. That material was sourced on Youtube; a Winston Cigarettes’ ad from the 60’s.
Why do these characters make an appearance?
Perhaps I’m trying to suggest we’re all a bit neanderthal in nature or is it that I’m trying to include references that the majority know’s so well, to bring them closer to the piece and create some nostalgia while in the process? In a perhaps similar way to how Winston Cigarettes’ ads would use the same Flintstones as a reference to sell their product. Maybe it ties in with the foreground picture on the wall.
The work featuring in today’s post is one that is in progress. Mid stages, I’d reckon. And the work featuring inside this work would be ‘Hern Weinner’ – a collage that featured in a post earlier this month,‘Tube Journey That Time Forgot. – the collage serves as a product placement within this overall painting’s context.
So what I’ve essentially done here is; went through a lengthy process of painting a picture of a broad taking happy self pics intended for presumably, a private view. After painting it, I begun messing about with the colour balance and such but have yet to actually toy with the filters themselves on Ps. The top painting is aided by colour balance whereas the third, is actually more of the same but with a rough wall texture overlay, blending mode on subtract and a lowered opacity. That was to give it a particularly grainy look, which would probably be similarly achieved with a noise filter and some further editing. It’s time consuming, so the question is; doth make it art?
I’d want to call this a surrealist look at pop art, in a contemporary art form today. Pop Surrealism? Yes – that’s what I’d like to call it…..that is what I’m going to call it. In fact, this piece isn’t sure what it wants to be..perhaps pop art’s reaction to surrealism. Or surrealism’s response to pop art. Neither really make that much sense but then at the same time they actually make the world of sense.
I’d heap responsibility on the image itself to decide what it should be, rather than taking control and working it out myself. There’s perhaps no right or wrong answer here. Though at last, I think I’ve already said the right answer.
There is no answer.
If Jackson Pollock could make endless amounts of paint drippings and splatters all over a canvas, surely a self pic with photofiltre is legit art as well. It doesn’t take any time at all and anyone can do it.
Keep Blazing and Stay Amazing