I’ve been thinking a lot about “the journey so far”. It’s been quite a ride. More twists and turns that anyone could have foreseen (a wiser person might say that it’s just how life goes).
I’d love to do a retrospective on my artistic development one day, but the task seems too daunting at the moment. Maybe one day when fame and riches have come to me someone will bother doing it for me.
For now, I will settle for a more succinct (although a bit masturbatory, I must admit) retrospective on the self-portraits I’ve made throughout the years.
This is more or less all of them, in chronological order.
These first were really early, when I started being serious about studying. I must have been about 17 at the time.
I had no idea of what I was doing.
Seems like I paid better attention on structure with these two. Unfortunately, as you will see, I am wildly inconsistent, and later portraits have poorer structures. Apparently learning and doing it right a couple of times isn’t enough. You need to pay attention to it always. It was a lesson that took me years to figure out, and it came with the realisation that drawing will never get easier, only harder for there are increasingly more things you will need to keep track of.
A bit of play with lost edges here, but doesn’t seem to do much for the “stepping”of values when rendering forms
Seems like I was mostly struggling with staying focused. Ouch.
It would’t be learning without some major fails along the way.
This here seems to be a small time jump. You can probably tell from the haircut. At this point, it was my first summer vacation from college. I managed to shut myself in a basement for about 4 months and did not much but paint and read Color and Light. This was by far the biggest jump in skill I’ve had so far.
These two mark the end of that summer. The left one was done after reading notes on Sargent left by his students. It was a big break-through moment for me
This is were things start to get interesting, and the reason I wanted to do this blog post. As you might have noticed, all portraits so far are strictly concerned with principles, technique and execution. This marks the first departure from that (within my self-portraits) but more importantly, it delineates a shift in my concerns and values when thinking about art.
BAM! stylization starts to happen.
From about 3 images ago the time in between portraits jumps from 2-4 weeks to about 6 months.
A special guest! Seems like I’ve only had guesses in 3 specific occasions and, not surprisingly, probably the 3 souls I’ve been closer with in my life so far.
This first one was with my partner at the time. It was used as a signature for a small zine we did together. Both of us show up as Mukuro and Hiei from Yu Yu Hakusho. The zine itself was about the manga, and both the manga and the zine mean quite a bit to me.
I suppose much like before, this signals another change of what values I care about in my art. Here I start to pay more attention to symbols and meanings that are important to me.
During a particularly hard winter. It was essentially the only thing drawn in that 3 month hiatus, and to this day, one of the pieces I am most fond of.
A brief return to technique. Under the request of a teacher.
At some point in time I became really addicted to a remix of Sexual Healing for weeks on end.
The second appearance! Featuring another partner, and her lovely dog.
This one is one of my biggest frustrations, and I think it represents well my current struggles of technique and execution overpowering and smothering the emotional value of the piece, as well as the difficulty of working on a piece while conjuring strong emotions. I started it when I received the news that the cat that lived with my family (the 3rd guess in my self-portraits) had his days counted, and finished after he had passed. The piece ended up being a lot about me and the room, and not enough about him like I intended.
I miss him dearly.
Light-hearted short little stories about misfortunes.
A self-portrait without myself in it.
I kinda like to play Overwatch, in case you might not have heard. I actually designed this pre-Brigitte’s announcement, and the gameplay design for both are incredibly similar, except for I wasn’t thinking of having healing output.
PunPun is a F A N T A S T I C read.
And to close things up, one from a few days ago. I read His Dark Materials when I was but-a-wee-little-lad, the idea of Daemons has always fascinated me, and I’ve spent countless hours trying to figure out what form they would take for me and my friends.
If you made it this far:
Thank you immensely for reading.