Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Portrait Project Changes

In the coming weeks, the portrait painted project will implement some significant changes. First and foremost, the focus will shift from individual portraits (Phase I) to recreating historical paintings with individuals sourced from social networking sites (Phase II).

When I first started this project, I had no idea it would grow to the size and scale it has. But we went with it, setting a soft goal of 200 portraits seemed reasonable at the pace I was going, and since I was funding it on my own I could scale it down if time/money became an issue. As 2009 went on, I started thinking about the idea of recreating historical paintings with a modern twist – still sourced from the same participants of the portrait group - and started fundraising through Kickstarter, as well as seeking out grants to help support this new phase of the project financially. The paintings needed to be bigger and my closet home studio just wasn’t big enough and all the money raised would go towards a larger space.

The fundraising through Kickstarter was successful (thanks to supporters big and small) and I was awarded a small grant through the Brooklyn Arts Council (BAC) to continue Phase II of the project through 2010. Winsor & Newton came aboard as a materials sponsor and in November 2009, I was able to move into a studio space in Sunset Park. And, and obtained a residency in Vence, France for the month of April at Galerie Myra.

As most of you know, when I started this project, I was also a stay-at-home dad with a gorgeous baby girl (I am of course biased). I must admit, as much as I loved being at home with her and working out of the house, she needed more interaction with kids her own age and we were able to find her a spot in a wonderful little bi-lingual school not far from my studio. She’s learning Chinese and making wonderful friends and trust me when I say that when she runs to greet her teachers at drop off in the morning, I know we’ve made the right choice.

Enough about me, what does this mean for the group, etc? Essentially, I am scaling way back. It’s too much to manage two pages of friends a fan page and a group page. All were created to manage a quick influx of people excited about the opportunity of being painted, and that’s great, but it’s also exhausting. So I’ve had to make a choice. All the individual self-portraits in the project, with the exception of a few buyers, were done for free. Phase II of the project is financially supported (as in 80% of basic costs are covered through Kickstarter, BAC, and Winsor & Newton). As such, I owe it to the supporters to put forth my best artistic efforts to focus on that part of the project and see it to its end.

I have a few portraits that I am working on now, as well as the second painting of Phase II. Once those portraits are complete and posted, I will focus more on Phase II. Of course, if you are dying to have your portrait painted, I would not hesitate to be commissioned for one. AND, the completed portraits are definitely available to buy.

If you’d like to stick around and see how the second phase of the project unfolds, I encourage you to do so. I will still send calls for participation in Phase II through the group and profile page.

This past year has been a great adventure, and I appreciate all the kind words thrown my direction—even the bad words. That’s all for now—back to painting.



  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. What are the prices for your commissioned pieces?

  3. Grace - email me to discuss mattheldstudios@gmail.com

  4. Portrait Painting

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