What is Self? If you were to look up the definition of the word in the dictionary you would find it to mean "the distinct individuality or identity of a person or thing" or "an individual's consciousness of his own identity or being".
In philosophy self is referred to as "the ego; that which knows, remembers, desires, suffers, etc., as contrasted with that known, remembered, etc."
So to that end... self, or rather yourself is the collection of remembered experiences that form your perception of the world around you and how you react to that world. Self is also that which is perceived to be you in relation to all that you know from those experiences you've collected. In other words and more simply put, your experiences create who you are; your self. So therefore self is experience realized.
Throughout history artists have taken it upon themselves to create self-portraits. Some more famous than others, and in these portraits each artist depicts his or herself in a different way; a way that was undoubtedly based on their current state of mind and who they believe themselves to be. Which does make you wonder... what was their perception of themselves? What does their self-portrait say about the world that they knew or who they thought themselves to be? This in turn also makes me wonder, who do I perceive myself to be? What has my experience of this world created? or rather who?
This thought in mind gave me what I declare to be a brilliant idea! I've decided to do a self conducted study of self-portraits. In this study I'm going to recreate 9 famous self-portraits done by various artists in their style of painting. However, I will be the subject of each painting. The concept seems fun, yet challenging. And maybe the end result well help me to learn a bit more about who am I and who I perceive myself to be.
First I researched various famous artists and their self-portraits... selecting them basically based on my own personal aesthetic tastes and to an extent, how well known they were. Then I collected photos of these portraits. I ended up choosing self-portraits created by: Charley Toorop, Gustave Courbet, Tamara de Lempicka, Henri Matisse, Frida Kahlo, Vincent Van Gogh, Zinaida Serebriakova, Pablo Picasso, and Ferdinand Hodler. Each artist I choose has a distinctly different style, and just by looking at the pieces you can tell that they each were in very different states of mind when creating them. Click here to see my collection of famous self-portraits on one of my pinterest boards.
Yesterday I drew out my idea for what will eventually be a 20x24 acrylic painting. Below you can see my concept drawing for the piece. The subtle differences seen in my drawing, I feel will be much more drastic in paint.
I will keep you updated on the progress and end result of this study! Stay turned.
Have a great day and much love!