Friday, May 29, 2009

Words on a Portrait - "Adrian"

Happy to present to you the next guest post for Words on a Portrait, Adrian Linton. Adrian is a great friend of ours and was maybe the 4th or 5th portrait to be completed. We met Adrian over Christmas 2001 when he became engaged to my best-friend, Lisa Harvey. The four of us, pre-kids, would spend many nights together drinking wine and scotch, playing scrabble and arguing over whether or not "latexundies" was a viable scrabble word (the ladies say no and we usually won the argument). Since moving to New York, we've stayed in close contact with the Linton's and usually try to see each other once a year, either meeting upstate at a rented cabin or along the waterways of Puget Sound - it's a nice escape from the dolldrums of city living for both families and something we hope to continue to do with them until we are old - playing Scrabble, arguing over viable words, watching our grandchildren play together…I asked Adrian if he could write something about how he felt being involved in the project and what the project means to him in addition to the story behind the photo. Here is his response:

This is a picture of me at work. At the time of the photo I was in the throws of multiple rounds of layoffs in my company (one every quarter). I remember feeling like a chochke in one of those Claw Toy Grabber machines, just waiting my turn for the pincers to drop around me. The New York Observer described this image as a, “maudlin-looking fellow enveloped in a pair of giant headphones.” Maudlin...Self-pitying? Perhaps at the time, yes, but now (after surviving 5 rounds of layoffs, so far) I am thankful I still have a job and look to the future calmly (Zoloft helps). Excessively sentimental? Maybe years down the road when our economy gets out of the shit box, but for now I think there are a lot of people out there who share what I was feeling.
As for how I got into the project, I have been good friends with Matt since 2001, and always been an avid supporter of his work. When he approached me about a new project involving Facebook profile pictures, I did what any good friend would do, “sure, have at me.” Little did I know what a success this project would become and that my portrait would be viewed with interest outside the context of my Facebook profile. As for this project and what it means to me? I think its success is a celebration of technology and its ability to level the social playing field to access and expression of information. As Matt has once said, "Portraiture was always for the elite, for the rich.” Thanks to a couple of zebibytes of 0’s and 1’s, everyone across the globe can visually express who they are. Matt simply closed the cultural circle by painting those digital expressions in a classical medium. Chochke out.

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