As a long-time artist, who has explored self-portraiture in a variety of artistic mediums, it is clear to me how important the process of creating self-portraits really is.
Artists who won’t or can’t create this type of artworks will not be able to convey real meaning in their art. For this reason, and others, it is imperative that all artists be willing to explore their inner selves with the art of creating a meaningful and soulful portrait.
Why Do It
I once read a disheartening and negative journal entry by a fellow writer who questioned an artist’s use of self-portraiture as art.
This person did not understand the importance of creating this type of portrait. Art is not just about expression, it’s about expressing the self.
It’s also about expressing who you are at a specific moment in time. In that moment, there are feelings, thoughts, hopes, and dreams. These only exist at this moment. In a year’s time, they may either be realized or replaced.
What is a Self-Portrait
This form of art which artists use to express who they are, right now. The self-portrait is a an artist’s snapshot of their soul, their vision, and their life.
It is not representative of an artist’s entire life, anymore than a page from a journal is. It is a temporary image or feeling, captured and made permanent by the art of self-portraiture.
Self-Portraiture and the Real You
Self-portraits force the artists to confront who they are, as opposed to who they want people to think they are.
Everyone, including artist’s have public persona and a private persona. The most successful artists, whether they are painters, writers or musicians, are those artists whose public persona and private persona are one and the same.
Another reason to explore this type of artwork is to face fears. Facing fears about who you are, who you think you should be, and how others perceive you, will help you grow as an artist, and as a person.
An artist who can successfully create this type of honest portrait will have an easier time creating other honest types of art.
Creating this type of portrait is one way for an artist to explore personal growth. It can be used to explore new concepts and radical ideas.
The artist can later look back at these artworks to see how he or she has changed, along with how his or her perceptions of the self have changed.
Tracking Artistic Growth
Another reason artists need to explore art through creating a self portrait is to track their artistic growth.
This may be done with other means ,but not is more telling than the self-portrait. How you paint a still life may change over time, with the exploration of techniques and mediums.
But how you see yourself over time, and how you learn to express that over time are both captured in the art of the self portrait.