No photoshop or other editing involved
I don't usually talk about my work because I like my pictures to speak
However, because this photograph is being viewed with a greater frequency than most of my others, I will discuss it.
Someone pointed out to me a few years ago that one of Van Gogh's self-portraits reminded them of me. I agreed. And after reading a biography about Vincent, I noted our personalities are also much alike. Except I'm trying to fix myself and not let my demons get the better of me.
When considering subjects to transform myself into, I typically like to choose someone I already have somewhat of a resemblance to. Obviously, I'm not going to attempt to transform myself into Samuel L. Jackson. That would just be silly.
In 1993, I took a photo of myself and tried "Van Goghing" it by adding strokes with felt markers. The result wasn't very satisfactory.
Then in 2009, I took another photo of myself dressed in Van Gogh style clothing, and mimicking his expression. I used Photoshop to change my hair color to red. The photo looked good, but it wasn't immediately obvious who I was meant to be.
Halloween 2010 came around... any excuse to dress up! I decided I
would do the Van Gogh thing again, only this time make myself
instantly recognizable as the famous, tortured artist.
I used whatever I had lying around... some cheap grease paint.... nearly empty tubes of acrylic paint.... and the remnants of an old can of latex house paint. The jacket I purchased from a thrift store, but I didn't notice until I got it home that it had been used as a toilet by a cat. I tried dry cleaning it and spraying it with cat pee remover, but nothing worked on it. The smell was gagging me the entire time I worked on the jacket, and when I wore it to a party. Yuck!
I painted the jacket (and a waistcoat which isn't visible in this picture) with extremely watered down blue, latex, house paint mixed with green and white acrylic paint. I had to dilute it so much because I didn't have very much. I applied it to the garment with 2 different size brushes.
Using a fine paint brush, it took me about 2.5 hours to apply the
make-up. Because it was poor quality make-up, it didn't adhere very
well, and just sort of kept disappearing. I kept having to go over and
over the same spots repeatedly. It never did stick to my ear, or
around the nostrils and eyes.
And then I ran out of the stuff and couldn't finish my neck.
Oh well. It got the point across.
Response To Feedback:
1. People ask why the wall isn't painted. The main reason is I like it better this way because the plain wall provides more of a contrast with the painty me.
But even I had wanted to:
a.) I wasn't at home, and my hostess would not have been happy if I painted her wall.
b.) I ran out of paint doing my jacket and had no money for any more anyway.
2.) Other people have dressed up as Van Gogh (just do a Google
search). Other artists have put paint on humans to make them look like
paintings (Alexa Meade -- brilliant artist). Other artists have
adopted different personae in their self-portraits (Cindy Sherman --
also brilliant artist). I am accused of ripping them off.
I don't claim to be doing anything original. However, I am not ripping anyone off. I have been transforming myself as far back as I can remember.
I did not start out as a photographic artist. I started out as a painter when I was a child. I had a cheap little Instamatic camera, but I did not think of photography as being an art. As far as I was concerned, real art involved painting and drawing.
Nevertheless, when I was in my early 20s, I took a photography course at college. I learned how to operate a manual SLR camera, and acquired darkroom/developing skills. Unfortunately, even though I had found a new love and respect for the medium, I could not afford the film and processing costs. So once again, I went back to painting for a few years.
Then, in 2002, I purchased a Fuji FinePix 3800 digital point and shoot camera. All of a sudden, a new world opened up for me. I no longer had to worry about development costs, and was free to experiment without fear of wasting film. The only problem was that the resolution was only 3.2MP.
I really wished that I could obtain a better camera... one with a
higher resolution... one that I could manually operate... a DSLR. But
being on a very low income, I just could not afford to buy one.
Then one day in July 2007, I checked my bank balance and found $54,000 in it. I assumed the bank had made a mistake, so I just left it there. Three months later, it was still sitting there. And all I could think about was really wanting a proper camera. So I decided I would just borrow $1000 of the $54,000 in order to buy myself a Canon Rebel XTi. As soon as I got it home, I called the bank to say that they must have made a mistake and that there was a very large sum of money in my account. At first, they laughed and would not take me seriously. But I insisted. The next thing I knew, I found myself threatened with being charged with theft and was ordered to pay back the money I had spent -- immediately. But I couldn't pay it back immediately because I only get $1,000 a month, and that mostly goes to my rent, transportation, and food.. Thankfully, my father helped me out and I was able to pay the bank back.
But, even though it was all very stressful, at least I now have a decent enough camera. :)
Anyway... I digress.
This picture is just one of many in which I have used myself as a model.
Ever since I was a very small child, I have dressed myself up in costumes and make-up to transform myself into different personae. One of my earliest transformations involved turning myself into the Incredible Hulk, with the help of green poster paint.
Since then, I have taken on a variety of characters, including:
Nick Rhodes of Duran Duran
Vincent Van Gogh
Queen Elizabeth II
Captain Jack Sparrow
Mr. Tumnus The Faun
Henry from Eraserhead
Frank Booth from Blue Velvet
Alex from A Clockwork Orange
An elderly arab man
... and many more.
I don't know why I do it. I just do.