ECA – Final Portfolio Work

For our final portfolio piece, we were required to re-attempt or add to a previous project we had done this semester. I chose to improve my ‘Transdiciplinary Portrait’, which was a basic animation done on Photoshop. In order to use ‘the artist as a subject’, I previously drew expressions onto a base cartoon drawing of myself. The face animation moved according to what expressions I made the most on each day – reflecting how people would have seen me. I was focusing on the concept of whether self-portraits are ‘real’ representations of people or not – to which I argued that they are to a certain extent. My self portrait was an attempt to animate how I was perceived by others for a moment in time, therefore it was ‘real’. I thought this could be a lot more visually attractive if done on a different platform – film.

I decided to use an art-form I was more comfortable with and film myself making the expressions I had made in the past. Each time, I wore a different coloured and styled wig to match the mood of the expressions being made. I also changed my outfits to match and edited the lighting to reflect the overall feeling I was trying to achieve for each day. Examples of this, are the first day (‘tired’),where I made the lighting dreamy and slightly bleached to gain a ‘sleepy’ feel, and the fifth day (‘cheerful’), where I make the lighting bright and happy. In order to stay true to my original project, I put the expressions in the same order and attempted to make the same faces I drew. Originally, I had wanted to slightly animate my hand and shoulders but couldn’t as it would take far too much time. I used the advantage I had but missed out on last time to move around more (although I often tried to have my right hand propped up on my face like in the original).

I edited the video together on Adobe Premiere and placed them side by side, looping around 4 to 6 times each. It was successful and regardless of my acting ability, it looks neat and artistic. I drew inspiration from animator Mike Inel who has done beautiful narrative work with absence of dialogue, and director Michel Gondry who has done a lot of artistic film work including that of split-screens. I’m proud of my work and I believe it is an appropriate self-portrait, as it shows that people are complex – with all sorts of expressions to make. There’s more than what meets the eye, but regardless of people’s internal feelings, how you are viewed on the outside is still a real representation.

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