Friday, February 20, 2009

Narcissist? Nah!

I read an interesting article in The New York Times yesterday by Laura M. Holson. All about painted portraits in Hollywood-land and the movie stars that don't like to admit they have them. The timing of this article is a bit ironic since the group just hit 2,000 members willing (some clammering, some along for the ride) to have their portrait painted!
Matt was talking to someone in the MSM yesterday about the project asking why he chooses certain pictures over others to paint and then asked if Angelina Jolie joined the group, would he paint her? He promptly replied, "NO!" (at least not for free, and not for part of this project). If you read the statement about the project, the point of it is, in part, to erase the idea that a classic style of portraiture be made available only to the social elite - those who can afford to spend thousands of dollars on a painting.
Holson says that the artists she spoke to say "even in this economic downturn...people's interest in having their portraits painted has not waned." Should this surprise us? "Yet like many things in Hollywood, the choice of painter is often dictated by social connections." Hmmm, social connections? Facebook? Nah, probably not! It happens in social elite circles, highly unlikely to occur online. However, it's occurred to me as I was reading, that this project mirrors that same process - only in cyberspace.
The big difference is, I totally disagree that having a self-portrait done, whether paid for or not, is a sign of ones' self-importance. I don't think a little vanity is a bad thing. We take pictures constantly of our kids, ourselves, our family, our friends as a way to capture memories, to reflect on times past. If there is some time in your life that is so special, so important, so fun, why not capture it on canvas and hang it in your living room? Why not have an artist render his own interpretation of the "who" of you? Why not love that?
In this modern age, we are constantly barraged with visions of what women and men should look like, that we spend less and less time appreciating what we do look like. I think practicing a little more vanity would be good for all of us!

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