I’ve been thinking a lot about contemporary portraiture lately, having just given a new talk on the subject, followed by a new weekend workshop.
I’ve been drawing or painting or otherwise making portraits my entire life, and it remains an important aspect of my work.
Nowadays a lot of my portraits are photo-based, as you can see in my posts and website. I got thinking about when I first started working on photo-based and photo-digital portraits, and realized it was for my first solo show as an adult, entitled Face[t]s of Valerie, in 2007. All of the portraits were of my friend Valerie, alone or sometimes in combination with me.
This image was kind of the title piece for the show, and the deepest I explored digitally in it, (the show was multimedia, because I am nothing if not a “multi” kind of artist, lol!). It’s called The Many Facets of Valerie.
In it you can see numerous shots from the bigger shoot, allowing me to show what interested me: the living face of my subject, its variability and expressiveness. “I am large, I contain multitudes” wrote Walt Whitman, as we all are.
So it’s a seminal, developmental piece. It started a train of thought that hasn’t stopped since, though it has branched off and grown in many directions.
19"x13” digital print. And yes, it’s available.
Does this kind of post, deep-diving into an individual piece, interest you? If so, please let me know in the comments.
OK Go is a band that does extraordinarily creative, innovative and powerful visual music videos like no one else – they are art forms in and of themselves. They pull off incredible feats without relying on the magic of digital effects, what you see always happened in real life and in real time.
Seriously, you need to check these videos out, no matter what your musical preferences are, those won't matter at all. Here are some I recommend (titles are links):
What these videos show is that these guys are masters at finding ideas. Extraordinary ideas. They also obviously have an amazing team and a considerable budget to pull them off, but plenty of uninteresting ideas have that and get made.
Below is a TED Talk they gave on "How to Find a Wonderful Idea". They point out that the usual approach of sitting in your chair (or other favourite thinking spot) and dreaming up an idea, then planning and polishing it before executing it is missing a vital step: the "sandbox" – that place where you play and discover or unearth your real idea, the wonderful one that the preliminary idea (which leads you to where the sandbox is) was just the seed for.
Have you unearthed some of your own wonderful ideas in a sandbox of some type? What's your favourite sandbox? If you haven't tried it, where could you start? Let me know in the comments below!
As a visual artist I like nothing more than getting up to my elbows in paint or little plastic toys, or wading in at the deep end in pursuit of an idea. When I am not teaching others in a similar vein, you can find me researching, writing and noodling around in my studio, seeing where my latest lines of inquiry lead me.
All images and content on this website © Kim-Lee Kho 2005–2018 except as indicated. All rights reserved. No reproduction without express, written permission.