Self Portrait in Society is an intimate and ongoing art project involving myself, a pen, a blank sheet of paper, and a perfect stranger. For over a year I’ve been drawing people and asking them to draw me at the same time. With over 500 portraits and counting (250 sittings), it’s time to share this collection and the artworks that have been inspired by it. This Kickstarter is about taking Self Portrait In Society to its next logical place - the people!
I don't say this lightly, but receiving these portraits has really affirmed my faith in humankind. For every person who claims they cannot - should not - draw, there is a totally unique artwork and perspective captured. We view the pen as a simple technology, but it really isn’t. And we’re very hard on ourselves about what we can achieve with it.
With this exhibition I want to recreate the same spirit people have brought to the project time and time again. Even the most reluctant of participants are soon to be found furrowing their brow, or smiling to themselves. There is openness, curiosity, even a flash of childlike wonder. People put down their pen, but not for long (there’s always something missing).
If you’re in Sydney, I invite you to a one-night-only extravaganza at COMMUNE, Waterloo on Friday 30 September. But you can also attend from across the oceans. The installations, video art, and even live performance art (attendees are welcome to participate in creating an artwork on the night) will all be captured for posterity as a virtual reality experience. Working with Bleep Bloop VR will allow me to capture a beautifully fleeting moment in time for everyone to witness.
Here's a breakdown of how the funds will be used:
The funds will also help propel the project in general, giving me some latitude to experiment with new mediums and to develop a book on the project. As a designer and editorial/layout fetishist I can't wait to manipulate these drawings into a tactile piece of art (one that just happens to be a book) and share my experiences in making them. Backers of the project will be the first to hear about these developments.
This project has changed me. It’s democratic. No matter what infinitesimal internal prejudice I have, I have to quash it, because everyone has something to offer me. They’re a potential subject, and I would be lucky to interact with them. I think it’s made me less self-conscious too. You can become quite self-conscious if someone is drawing you, but if you have to create something at the same time I think you become much more engrossed with what you can contribute than how you look.
Pledging tip! You can only choose one pledge, so if you'd like to get a couple of things, please pledge for the bigger reward and add anything extra you would like to your total. Just message me with your desired add-on! e.g. If you'd like exhibition tickets ($20) AND an A5 print ($60) just pledge $80 or more under the A5 print reward and note down that you'd like the tickets too!
Risks and challenges
This is my first solo exhibition, and the scope is big - there are literally hundreds of artworks to display (not to mention the hundreds of square metres that the gallery space sprawls). However, I'm extremely fortunate to have the support of Sam Ali (Founder, Commune), Lachlan Phillips (Film and VR Mastermind, Bleep Bloop) and Ashleigh West (advisor). I'm confident that their expertise and kindness will usher me along, as it has already. I'm also not new to wrangling creative dreams into being. Some of you will have seen me build a magazine from scratch when I was 19. Today I make a living off the back of entirely self-taught graphic and web design skills.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (29 days)