I made this oil pastel self portrait drawing during my sophomore year of college. At that time, I was taking quite a few studio art classes. It’s also around the time I decided that I was going to pick up art as a double major, instead of just minoring in it.
I really enjoyed working on the face and eyes for this piece, although the hand was a bit of a struggle. I thought it was fitting to share a piece from my past, to illustrate how much your work can change and develop over time. Your work won’t always be “perfect” or turn out the way you’d like it to, but each new work of art you make will help you grow a little more as an artist.
Although I started making collages back when I was in high school, I didn’t start getting serious about the medium until I was in college. “Heels” is a collage that I made in my free time outside of the painting classes I had to take as a painting major.
For this piece, I played around with using different patterns and textures, while still using some solid bits of color for the floor and wall in the background. Working on collages like this one is exactly what kept me interested in pursuing collage as a medium for my artwork.
“Mark and Sophie” is a portrait that I was commissioned to make for the wife of a former boss of mine – she wanted to give it to her husband for their anniversary.
It’s been a while since I’ve made a portrait collage, so this piece was definitely a bit of a struggle for me. Usually my collages are relatively flat when you look at the surface – I don’t usually use that many layers. However, for this piece, there are definitely sections where I built up the layers more so than others.
Here’s the sketch that this piece started off with:
You can see that it looks a lot different than the final piece. Sometimes my sketches don’t exactly look the way I want the final product to look, but they do give me an idea of how to block out the entire composition.
Anyway, although this piece was a struggle, eventually all the pieces fell into place. Just goes to show that if you keep at it with something, eventually you can accomplish your goal.
This is a mixed media painting that I made back when I was home for the summer during college. I used magazine cutouts, acrylic paint, a broken CD, thread, and felt. I made this during a time when I was going through a phase where I’d stitch cloth or other canvas onto paintings, sort of creating a collaged painting in a way. This painting has always been a favorite of mine, and to this day it hangs on a wall in my home.
Here’s a self portrait mixed media painting that I did during my freshman year of college. If you look closely, you can see that I incorporated magazine cutouts in the hoodie. I also layered paper and painted over it to add texture to the street, buildings, and background. I used a lot of thick paint, and added even more texture with my palette knife.
This was made during a time when I was trying to find ways to incorporate collage into my paintings. At my college, I had to pick a specific concentration in art, and since collage wasn’t an option, I went for the next best thing – painting.
Here’s a collage that I made back in high school, “Rebellion.” It was part of the series of collages I made at that time that really inspired the overall drive and direction of my work over the years. At that time, I was focussing on cutting and pasting paper while looking for solid colors and patterns in magazines. Then I manipulated the paper in such a way to create the shadows and highlights of the figure. I also remember that I really enjoyed cutting up the type that’s being used for the background here.
This is an acrylic self portrait that I made back in high school. For the background, I used thick layers of paint and then scraped away at the paint with a palette knife. I painted this portrait a little bit after the first self portrait painting that I made when going through a program at a local gallery.
This is a graphite self portrait drawing that I did back in high school – I think I was around 16 at the time that I made this. I remember that I had a mentor at a local gallery back then, an artist who gave me feedback on a few of my works of art. This portrait was made during the mentorship program, and the last piece I created during the program was this self portrait painting.
In general, I think that self portraits are really difficult to do. It’s really tough to portray yourself, especially since we have so many assumptions about how we look based on the everyday routine of looking in the mirror. It’s difficult to take a step back and peer at yourself like an outsider in order to create a portrait. As a result, I feel like most of my self portraits don’t entirely capture the way I look, however I do like to refer to them as portraits that are version of myself.
Here’s another collage that I made back in high school. This was during my phase where I was focussing a lot on figurative art and also liked to draw on top of my work with oil pastel. As you can see here, the figure was drawn almost completely in oil pastel. There was actually cut paper underneath all that drawing. It was during this phase when one of my classmates asked me why I always covered up all my hard work by drawing on top of it. It was at that point that I realized I should try to make works completely from paper – and see how I could accomplish adding shadows and highlights just by manipulating cut pieces of magazine strips.
“I Dream on Sunsets with my Head in the Clouds” is a collage that I completed back in high school. This was back during my phase where I’d draw on top of my collages with oil pastel – which you can see a little bit of here.
This piece is a little more abstract than the other collages I was making at that time. And yet again I find myself getting inspired to make new work as I sift through pieces I’ve made in the past.