Since the fifteenth century and the
advent of the mirror artists have modeled for themselves in their own works
of art. Whether it is an in-depth exploration of the artist’s own psyche
or simply because as a model, the artist is clearly the cheapest and most available.
Whatever the reason, nearly every artist, in every medium from painters to sculptors
have attempted this exploration of self.
Self-portraiture has come to mean
many things and taken many forms. For example, there are obvious differences
between the realistic portraiture of Rembrandt and the narrative fairytale of
Chagall. Rembrandt relies on his physical features to portray himself, Chagall
reveals himself through a fantastical story of abstracted shapes. They both
however, as did Vincent van Gogh, Frieda Kahlo and Pablo Picasso, use a human-like
figure, variably distorted, as the center of their self-portraits. When artists
like Jackson Pollack and Mark Rothko took Abstraction to a new level, there
were no longer human figures represented on the canvas. The Abstract Expressionists’
works, although difficult to call self-portraiture, are still deeply emotional
and revealing. Kelly described the abstract piece of art best when he termed
them “autobiographical outpourings.” The impulsiveness and spontaneity
of Pollack’s drippings and splatterings can be seen as a more realistic view
of the artist’s feelings than the carefully constructed brush strokes of other
artists seeking to create a self-portrait. Mark Rothko’s deeply saturated bands
of color seem even farther removed from the figure than Pollack’s paintings.
But yet, the artist’s emotions still come forth. “The people who weep before
my pictures,” Rothko noted, “are having the same religious experience
I had when I painted them.”
With the advent of newer modes of
expression – video, the internet, and performance based art – the definitions
and parameters of self portraiture, in some ways at least, have departed even
further from traditional forms. What is consistent with all of them is that
self-portraits are a means of self-exploration and self-expression. We might
say that self-portraits are simply a means by which artists project something
of themselves to an audience. Sometimes self-portraits have been used as a way
to test new techniques or new media. Other times artists use self-portraits
for self-study, to remember the past, or as a way to release emotion. Whichever
way artists choose to construct their images, they are forced to study their
own personas, either physically or emotionally or both.
In this assignment you will present
yourself in some way in front of the camera. How you want to do that is up to
you. As we have seen, self-portraits can take many forms and the artist’s
likeness – the image of self – need not be a part of that, so how
and what you wish to project is up to you.
– From: https://www.courses.psu.edu/art/art201_dmk30/Altoonaspring09/IntermediateDigMedia/documents/idm_project3.html
Inspired by the Peter Campus video 3 Transitions, you will create a mutilayered self portrait using 3 separate videos. Similar to the seminal Campus video, you will transition from one video to the next video, using the third video as a mask to facilitate the transition.
The video you use as a mask needs to be stark in color or value in order to function as a mask, or to use the video term, a key. This “transition clip” should be something that changes from one color to another or one value to another.