Myself As...

When does your portrait become mine?

I have always been particularly drawn to portraits, standing before them curious about the person, wondering what they might be feeling or thinking. Perhaps we have all had a desire to crawl inside a painting at some point, to be somewhere else, to be someone else, to invent another world for oneself. I have often wanted to be that person for just one moment in time.

Myself As… is an extension of that desire, but it has a double significance. By appropriating portraits from the internet I am at once living a childhood dream while allowing myself to be an imposter, a thief. The images not only speak to my desire to be someone else, they also compel me to question the validity of the personal portrait. As I recompose them, I am forced to ask whether in today’s digital culture a portrait can have any real significance at all. In a world saturated with identity theft and online government spying there is a growing anxiety about losing what one holds to be most basic to human nature – one’s unique character and inimitability. How much of the original was true to begin with? How much was an idealized or romanticized vision by the artist? How much of myself is real and how easily can someone come and take my place?