About this project
Social Portraits is a series of oil paintings painted from online social media profile photos then shared online for everyone to see, like, share, and comment on. I’m out to capture that epic selfie, perfect angle, big moment, the morning after or whatever it is that you have used to represent your carefully crafted online persona.
Anyone can be a part of the series, just select a perk that guarantees your immortality with a social portrait. Think of it, an original piece of art as your profile pic. The original paintings are being kept as a collection for exhibitions but there is an opportunity to get a canvas wrapped print or one can be painted specifically for you.
Painted on custom square panels
The portraits are painted in oil paint on custom 11in x 11in panels that I make. The panels are laser cut or CNC milled from 1/4 inch hardboard with subtle rounded corners. Why the square format you ask? well it’s the ubiquitous format for on-line profile photos and avatars.
My setup includes an easel, an iPad and a vertical palate called the Parallel Palate which I backed on Kickstarter no less. I don't have to look away to mix my paint or glance at the reference profile pic.
100 Paintings or More
I’m striving for an initial goal of 100 Social Portrait for the first show in late 2016 or early 2017. It is my intent to seek opportunities to show the series in several galleries across Canada and in the rest of the world. With each show I’ll look to add additional portraits from that local area.
It will be quite something to see the portraits wrapping the walls of the gallery space, each with it’s own story and conversation. The show will signal a shift in the conversation, no longer comments, shares and links but more personal and private conversations around each piece. And lots of selfies with the paintings of course.
I need your help, it takes a lot of effort to make these paintings and I’ve done my best to keep costs low so as many people as possible can be involved. Even then I know it’s an investment. Please know that your contributions go beyond getting a perk, they help fund a passionate professional artist as he works on an amazing project.
I’m a visual and electronic artist based in Ottawa Canada. My artworks include figurative drawings and paintings as well as social installation projects that incorporate audience participation and a wider variety of media. Sometimes it's a combination of both.
“I want people to spend time with the works, see them from a distance and up close, finding the same fascination, passion and love that I slip into as I created them.”
Portraiture is a common theme for me, the journey to capture a likeness, a feeling, an emotion and present that in a new way are passions of mine. Working from life as much as possible affords me more insights and a deeper connection. My pursuit has me continuously pushing, experimenting with new materials and approaches, simplifying, layering and abstracting.
I am a member of the Ottawa Arts Council, Ottawa Arts East and CARFAC.
"Mark Stephenson is one of Ottawa’s best life drawing artists. His outstanding pen and ink work always captures a striking likeness of both the features and personality of the life model, and demonstrates his superb handling of this difficult medium. Over the past 5 years both his paintings and drawings have been consistently accepted for the annual Figureworks Award Shows, which are rigourously juried by various established art professionals." Hilde Lambrechts, Ceramic Artist and President of Figureworks
I’ve included a few examples of my work below, for more please check out my social media and my web site.
I know some of you are interested in knowing where the money goes. In short it’s going to go to the following items:
- Paint, panels and related consumable materials
- Studio rental fees
- Cost of living
Additionally some funds within perks are already budgeted for the production of postcards and prints. I intend to fulfill these on an as required basis so no additional overhead is incurred.
As I want to make this project as accessible as possible I’ve lowered the costs to entry as much as I can. This means project is running on a very tight budget and it’s my hopes that a sponsor or two along with patrons will help offset this. I will also continue seeking traditional grant funding to augment this campaign.
Stephane Beauchamp-Kiss at Anti-Studios recorded my narration for the video and composed some awesome background music. I never sounded so good!
International shipping costs for original paintings is based on Small Packet International Surface Mail. Should you wish to have faster shipping that is tracked please message me and I can advise you on the project extra costs.
Risks and challenges
Personal Injury - This would be the largest risk and might I say the worst. As all the Social Portraits are painted by me an injury could delay the project.
Gallery Space - Securing gallery space takes time and I want to find the right space and relationship. That said I am quite resourceful and fully prepared to launch a pop up gallery if I can't find the right space to show this collection. Should you be a gallery owner and curious about hosting the show please send me a message.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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