A self-portrait is an artist’s representation of him or herself as the main subject of an artwork. It has been a familiar genre in portraiture at least since at least the mid-15th century – though earlier examples exist.
An artist making a self-portrait might aim to present a realistic image, or he/she might prefer abstraction, where his/her physical likeness is only barely visible to the observer. It is even possible for an artist to eschew the human form all together, instead depicting him/herself as an inanimate object, coming to life through the use of color, shape, composition and texture. Realistic or abstracted, carefully composed or quickly sketched, an artist creates a self-portrait to convey his/her inner life, mood, aspirations, self-doubts, and fantasies.
Create two expressive self-portraits of yourself: the first where you are portrayed as the exterior of a building (of your design), and the second portraying yourself as a room within that building. Consider the aspects of your life experience, personality, emotions, opinions, and ambitions that might inform the design and purpose of the building and room.
Be intentional about your choice of architectural elements that make up the building and room, including construction materials (i.e. brick, concrete, wood, glass, etc.), volume, shape, historical and/or contemporary styles, ornamentation, color, texture, composition, patterns, furniture, finishing, and other decorative elements to reinforce your narrative and sense of “self.” You may use any combination of pencil (plain or colored), marker, pen, paint, or watercolor on any type of 24” x 18” paper.
- Look at other examples of self-portraits throughout art history. Which ones speak to you and why?
- Look at buildings in your own community, or buildings in another place that fascinates you. What architectural features do you find interesting? How do different parts of a building work together to create a whole?
Explore these resources:
- Make a table to organize different methods to experiment with, including art materials used, architectural materials depicted, texture, lines, color, height, building type/use, etc.
- Consider where your building is located. What is the context for your building? What are its surroundings? How does the setting also reflect something about yourself?
- Sketch! Sketch! Sketch! What kind of building would you be? How might a room in that building look?
- Draw a building or room that reflects how you see yourself, then draw it again.
- Practice sketching your favorite version.
- Don’t fall in love with your first idea. When you have a rough design you like, set it aside and try sketching another.
- Draw out your whole composition lightly in pencil first, then fill in after with color or more permanent materials.
Get Feedback and Improve
- Ask your teacher, friends, family, neighbors, what they think of your design.
- Get professional feedback at CAC’s Teen Open Studios.
Register for this division | by 4pm by Thursday, April 18, 2019
2 final images (one exterior and one interior) uploaded digitally | on Slideroom by 4pm on Thursday, May 9, 2019 in order to qualify for jurying:
- LASTNAME_FIRSTNAME_selfportrait1.jpg, etc..
- Caption each of your photos to explain what is being shown
Essay (150-200 words) uploaded digitally | on Slideroom by 4pm on Thursday, May 9, 2019 in order to qualify for jurying
- How did you conceive and design the building and room within the building, and how do these portraits represent you?
2 final artwork mounted on two boards | turned into your teacher or drop off location by 4pm on Monday, May 13, 2019 in order to qualify for jurying
- You can use any combination of pencil (plain or colored), marker, crayon, pen, paint, or watercolor
- Your final artworks must be 24”x18” paper mounted on 20”x 30” black presentation boards. Any type of 24”x18” paper can be used in either horizontal or vertical. Do NOT use canvas or other surfaces
- Fill out and apply competition entry labels with your unique participant ID number (Slideroom ID). Do NOT include your name or school anywhere visible on the model
- Your composition showcases architecture in an engaging way.
- Effective use of imagery showcases your ideas and makes a compelling work.
- Convey technical quality of the medium (or media) used.
- Show originality in your representation.
Submit the project on Slideroom
Projects must be sumbitted by Thursday, May 9, 2019