Have you ever commissioned a portrait? If not of yourself or a family member, then maybe of a pet or even your house?
Most people haven’t. And I’m not surprised. It’s not because they’re expensive, they can be, but so can entertainment systems that become obsolete while the portrait remains just as valuable, just as meaningful, as ever. They can also be very affordable, depending on the artist, and bearing in mind that each portrait is a bespoke (custom-made) item, usually hand-made and often with tremendous skill as well.
But seriously, most people have either never thought of commissioning a portrait or ruled it out for some reason.
Now imagine that I show up in your Facebook newsfeed or your Twitter feed, asking you to tell me the name of one of your hero(ine)s, so that I can draw them. When I’m done, I’ll share it on social media, tagging you in the post and asking you to share it with your online friends (naming me as the artist) along with a little explanation of why you chose that person as your hero.
Doesn’t that sound and feel a little different?
That in a nutshell is my #dailyheroes online portraiture project, a way for me to create something positive on social media without sharing videos of cats I don’t have :-)
While the portraits are far from daily, (I find I need to do them in bursts), they have become a key part of what I bring to my online life, because of what others have brought to it.
First of all, others bring me names, and when they do some of them share why they chose that hero(ine). It’s like being given a double gift: I get to know my friend or contact a little better and I also get to know figures (past and present) whom I may never have heard of before, or I will learn more about in my research.
Secondly, others have brought me their enthusiasm, both when bringing names and when “receiving” the drawing, and sharing them, whether they were the original commissioner or not.
I love the conversation that’s resulted, and the nascent sense of community building around it, at least for me.
So, when the producer of Night Time (a late night Rogers TV talk show) approached me about appearing in their current season, I knew which project I wanted to talk about! The segment originally aired on Friday, December 4, and will repeat. I will see if I can get a recording of it to share online.
Meanwhile, if you have a hero(ine) you’d like to share, please do so in the comments below, or on Facebook or Twitter (those words are live links).
I am posting the results in an album on Flickr as well.
PS: The name #dailyheroes is what's called a hashtag. For anyone unfamiliar with how those work, you can search for them in the search bar on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram for example, (you must include the "#" which is the hashtag proper) and if anyone has used the term you enter (it has to be all one word), you will be able to see the posts where they used it.
A few examples (click on the image to see a larger version):
Kim Lee Kho
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 2005–2015 except as indicated. All rights reserved. No reproduction without express, written permission.