I started this project Thanksgiving weekend of 2008. I have painted the figure for years using old family photos or taking my own photos for source material. My wife had been playing around with our computer and took a picture of herself in iPhoto - her interpretation of what she looked like when she was angry - and posted it to her Facebook page. I loved the shot, decided to paint it and it hit me - what a wealth of source material Facebook could be.
Going through the profile shots of some of my friends I started thinking about what the posters' intent is with some of their photos. Choosing a certain photo to post is a form of control and self-preservation. However, whether it's a conscious or subconscious choice to choose a photo as a representation of your "self" is not something I intend to answer with this project. I do hope, though, that an examination of the subjects' character and moral quality will be part of the dialogue.
There is another piece to this project - the origin of how these people come into connection with me, the artist. Conceptually, the collection as a whole becomes a community of individual's that have opted to be memorialized, much in the same way the original commissioners of portrait painting - the rich and powerful - chose to. The why here is maybe a bit more obvious. As one new member put it so eloquently - "we are all just a little bit vain."
Most of the posts from here out will be posted by my wife - Joelle. Now that the group has hit over 100 members, and I have just finished the 14th portrait, I will be focusing solely on building the collection. Plus, she's better at formulating my thoughts than I am!