Funded! This project was successfully funded on October 12, 2011.

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Teleportraiture is a series of oil portraits of kickstarter backers, painted from remote videochat sittings.

        Teleportraiture is a series of oil portraits painted through videochat.  I am a classically-trained portrait artist whose work has always been based around the intimacy generated during the interaction between painter and subject. The painting is artifact of a performance of relationship and conversation, mutual but asymmetrical observation.  Unlike paintings from photos, these portraits capture a personality over time.  

         I’ve grown up on the internet, communicating throught text, but in the past few years interacting face-to-face remotely has become commonplace.  In videochat, interaction is very self-aware, as you’re always able to see yourself as the other sees you.  You find yourself having to alter your face from the way people look at computers to how they look at people – yet the portrait artist often looks at people the way people look at computers.  This toggling between performing and concentrating means that, more often than not, the absent, concentrating expression of the computer user will be depicted – if I allow it to be.

            This project seeks to examine the tenuous technology, strange intimacy, and charged emotions around communicating remotely, by making the archaic oil portraiture tradition site-unspecific and international in a way that, if anything, makes it more personalized.  This differentiates it from the portrait-by-photo services made affordable by outsourcing. The ultimate images use the intermediary camera and compression to generate artifact artifacts.  They are not supposed to look like they were done in person, but reflect their particular system of old and new technologies.

         I have worked this way on three occasions prior to starting this campaign: once with deep romance, once with a stranger speaking another language, and once for a self-portrait.  Teleportraiture in part examines the current trend toward erosion of online anonymity.  In the course of the project I hope to see many faces I haven’t seen in person or ever before.  Ultimately, my goal is always to make my subject look good, and give them a unique experience with a tangible result – the conceptual aspects will never supercede that.  By making your backing part of this project specifically, you get to participate in a techno-social experiment marking a particular cultural moment in an oddly old-school way.

         Your money buys you a portrait, images thereof, and videos of sessions, or goes toward a book, poster, and exhibition of the series.  The backing structure is based around backers of the smallest amounts being able to sit in and watch the process.  At the next level, you’ll get a pdf book and poster of every portrait.  Mid-range backers actively contribute by sitting to have their portrait painted, and keep a scan, but I keep the painting.  With the permission of the sitter, sessions will be recorded, and a little more money gets you the video.  At a relatively low cost for oil portrait commissions, backers can buy the painting.  Even higher donations will keep lower backers from viewing the session, plus no limitations on time or size. 

All backers receive an invitation to a preview reception of the exhibition of these works.  The exhibition’s location is undetermined, but should be longer than a month in New York City in mid-2012, somewhere with wifi and computers for remote attendance and so I can keep painting teleportraits from the space.  At the show, all paintings not already sold to the backer will be for sale at higher prices.

         I'm hoping to make 30-40 paintings over the course of 3 months.  Sittings usually take about 3 hours.  Most of the paintings I make through Teleportraiture will be between 8x10 inches and 12x16 inches.  Usually, I charge $400 or more for a head and shoulders portrait.  That means what I really want to raise is $8000.  At a bare, severely underbudgeted minimum, your pledge goes toward painting supplies, printing both catalog and poster, shipping, frames, gallery rental, show promotion, and show hardware and labor.  

If you want something special, are expecting multiple people in the painting, or live outside the U.S., please add more to your pledge.  Talk to me about how much if you're not sure.  Unless you indicate otherwise, all backers will be credited in the catalog.

FAQ

  • Yes. Yes you can. Just make sure that person would be willing and able to sit still in front of a computer with a camera for 3 hours. We'll work out the details once my funding goal is reached. As this works out, giving $100 can mean 2 people posing instead of the video of the session. $500 can mean buying two portraits instead of one big one. And so on.

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  • Usually, the portraits will be 9 inches by 12 inches, scanned at 300 dpi. My scanner can't handle much bigger, though I hope to invest in a bigger scanner.

    The more you donate, the bigger the portrait. After $500, you can say whatever size you want to work at, we'll come up with a more interesting and elaborate pose, and we can have multiple sessions. Again, the more you give, the bigger the painting.

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  • Anticipate 3 hours for the $50-500 range, although usually I can wrap it up in 2 hours.

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  • If you'd like to make a special request like having multiple sitters, just pitch in a bit over the reward level. For example, if you'd like a small portrait of someone with their child on their lap, or want a couple sitting a bit farther away from the computer, put in $350+ and I'll be in touch about what you want specifically. For a more customizable, and larger, commission, contribute $500 or above. You get what you pay for. It's already rare for quality oil portraits to be this affordable.

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71
Backers
$7,387
pledged of $5,000 goal
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Project by
Janet

Queens, NY

  • Pledge $5 or more
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    2 backers

    You get an invite to the preview and main reception for the exhibition, to attend in person or remotely, plus regular updates with images of each portrait.

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  • Pledge $10 or more
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    4 backers

    You get to sit in on one painting session on Google+ hangouts as a mute observer, and a pdf catalog of all the portraits when they're done, plus the invite.

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  • Pledge $25 or more
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    5 backers

    You get a hand addressed and signed invitation to a preview reception of the exhibition, with possible remote attendance, a poster of all the portraits, to sit in on 3 sessions, and the pdf.

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  • Pledge $50 or more
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    20 backers All gone!

    You get your portrait painted! But you only keep a high-resolution scan of it, and a printed catalog of all of them. You also get unlimited sit-ins, plus everything above.

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  • Pledge $50 or more
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    2 backers

    For those of you who missed the first pose level, but still want the signed catalog, poster, invitation, and sit-in.

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  • Pledge $100 or more
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    6 backers Limited (14 left of 20)

    You sit for a portrait, and get a video of the session, as well as everything above.

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  • Pledge $250 or more
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    17 backers Limited (3 left of 20)

    You have bought your portrait, which I will minimally frame if you like, and ship to you. And, of course, all of the above.

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  • Pledge $500 or more
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    1 backer Limited (9 left of 10)

    Private pose, with no other backers watching, and no limitations on the time we spend or the size of the painting. Whatever you say goes. And all above.

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  • Pledge $1,000 or more
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    0 backers

    I will paint you in person, wherever you want, however you want. You also get video of all the other sessions.

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  • Pledge $5,000 or more
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    0 backers Limited (1 left of 1)

    You get every <$250 backer's portrait, everything above, and my undying gratitude.

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Funding period

- (54 days)