Today I’ve been thinking about the inevitable learning curve that occurs in any long term project. I spent some time today examining detail shots of the first self-portraits. This helps me track my progress and lets me think about where I want to go now I’ve finished Self-Portrait No. 20. It’s clear when you compare the two detail shots how glaringly different they are; the detail above has a much coarser, grittier appearance whereas the detail below seems sensitive and beautiful by comparison. One definite improvement has been my ability to see and organize form; the first detail feels flat by comparison.
I think I’m looking ahead to incorporate aspects of both into the next thirty portraits: to be able to capture a brute force that has hidden moments of grace and subtlety. I’ve always been obsessed with this idea of images having the ability to be beautiful and frightening at the same time, and this project is no exception. In some ways I want to get back some of that initial gritty, primitive quality that I had early on; in my quest to subdivide and observe the forms more carefully, the drawings have lost some of their “bite” to a certain degree. Overall my goal is for these images to be as visceral and intense as possible, it’s just a question of how to balance these small details in the context of the larger image.
Below is the complete version of Self-Portrait No.20.