Insight Through Self-Portraits

Students in 2D Senior Studio explore conceptual theories through a variety of projects that are designed as creative problems to solve. As they deconstruct and re-interpret images and contemporary topics, students address their own personal aesthetic and further develop their technical skills.

In conjunction with a study of portraiture, seniors are creating their own expressive self-portraits using colored pastels. Students approached the project by working in their sketchbooks on composition, stylistic approach, and conceptual foundations. They considered how a self-portrait can provide cultural insight beyond what is visually apparent by viewing the work of a variety of artists including Cindy Sherman, Ana Mendieta, William Pope L., Zackary Drucker, and Lucian Freud.

Then, for the studio portion of the project, students selected a photo that would serve as a reference for their portrait. Using Photoshop, they formatted the digital image to 18” x 24”, printed it, then transferred the image to a piece of drawing paper. The final work will be completed using soft pastels. 

“This group of seniors thrive on technical projects and they don’t shy away from challenges,” said faculty member Jim Daniels. “When they were selecting their reference photos, I asked them to think about how they want to present themselves to an audience: do you want to present yourself as you are, as you think others think you should be, or in a way that you feel others should see you as. As seniors, I think it’s important for them to look, observe, and see themselves for who they really are, not for how they feel they have to try to be.”

The completed self-portraits will be displayed in a virtual gallery in late October.