Tag Archives: self-portrait




When I began working on this assignment, I wanted to create a dynamic and interactive image that reflected a part of my personality while taking inspiration from Paul Klee. I noticed that in Klee’s self-portrait, his face is divided into geometric pieces of different shapes and colors. In my self portrait, I tried to echo that fragmentation using the arc() function. I created a face of different colors out of quarter circles. The division of a face into four sections seems to allude to facets of one’s personality by depicting them abstractly. I made the eyes with ellipses and then used a rectangles to form the neck and the mouth. The mouth is divided horizontally into two separate rectangles, which is an allusion to the way that Klee divided his own mouth into two tiny rectangles.




  Initially, I considered creating a few sets of palettes out of chosen colors to depict different moods and emotions, but decided to experiment with randomness instead after considering the tedium of compiling upwards of twenty variables for different colors in the different palettes. Instead, I declared six random color variables and assigned them to different shapes. All the shapes are different colors except for the facial features. I wanted to keep the facial features one color to keep them somewhat stable throughout the iterations of the image. I used the mousePressed() function to reassign those variables to different random colors.



  I was pleasantly surprised by the interesting palettes the random color variables created. I wasn’t expecting the image’s colors to look as cohesive as frequently as they do. For this post, I took about thirty screenshots and included my favorite ones. The colors definitely work to affect the mood and personality of the face. To me, the quarter circles represent different areas of my psyche circling through different processes and emotions as the colors change. I’m glad that I chose not to use preset palettes for different moods, because I think that ultimately would have led to simpler expressions of emotions (a blue palette for sadness, a red palette for anger, etc.) In reality, human beings don’t usually experience one emotion at a time – we experience multiple emotions across an array of actions and reactions.



After conference, I decided to further diversify the expressions of the iterations by adding randomness to the dimensions of the mouth and eyes. I made a few more variables for width and height of the eye ellipses so that the eyes could change expressions. The mouth was a little more tricky, because the usual rectMode controls the upper left corner of the rectangle along with the width and the height, which meant that the left hand mouth rectangle didn’t stay aligned with the center of the image and connected to the other mouth rectangle. I changed to the rectMode(CORNERS), which controls the upper left hand corner and the opposite lower right hand corner. This allowed me to keep the inner side of both rectangles at the same x value throughout the iterations.  


I started this project by trying to build a semi-realistic representation of my facial structure. But, after some experimentation I decided that a simple representation would serve the same purpose without the mess of ellipses and triangles. The square with eyes and a mouth portrays the “idea” of a face while also providing a straightforward foundation I could build on.

Initial Version, no added Features

Next, I tried to add character with hair and a beard. I may not be able to grow decent facial hair, but through the power of artistic license my portrait can.

Template Version

A regular portrait captures a person or persons in one instant, and preserves that image unchanged by time. My portrait falls behind in terms of accuracy, but is possess an advantage in its ability to change. Instead of portraying an instant, my portrait  displays me for the next forty years or so (provided I don’t shave or cut my hair). sketch(6) sketch(2) sketch(3) sketch(4) In essence, my self-portrait is an attempt to combine the ideas of both my face and time into one dynamic image.


Gabrielle Gonzalez, Self-Portrait

Gabrielle Gonzalez, Self-Portrait

Gabrielle Gonzalez, Self-Portrait

Gabrielle Gonzalez, Self-Portrait

  When I began this project I was unclear about how I wanted to represent myself. As I started the coding I realized I wanted to use unrealistic colors rather than conventional skin tones. Initially the hair was a basic arc but later I decided to add the curls to frame my face. I added the small white freckles because their are very unnoticeable freckles under my eyes. Finally my favorite part of this was the eyes and mouth, they move to show a wide range of emotions. They can show shock, indifference or, anger. I really enjoyed playing around with the interactive features and getting a better sense of the canvas.       Gabrielle Gonzalez, Self-Portrait ggg    


Finished Product!

Finished Product!

I should start by saying when we were assigned this project I wanted to throw up a little bit. I was still trying to figure out how to open Atom correctly, and now I had to code a self portrait? It seemed impossible. Nevertheless, she persisted! I went into the assignment thinking, I just have to get something on the page, essentially. I wanted to be representational mostly because I think if I went the abstract route, I wouldn’t have gotten as much out of it. Of course, I could have gotten as elaborately abstract as some of the student work I’ve seen in class, but I wanted to have a very clear goal in mind when creating my portrait, and for me it was best for that goal to be a representation of my self.
Hair Optional

Hair Optional

I am admittedly vain. I take a lot of selfies, so the idea of a self-portrait was not new to me, but coding one of course, was. So my aim was to get as close to a semblance of my face as possible in the given time and while still trying to figure things out. I had a thought while I was doing the Response exercises that an ellipse that tracks the mouse kind of resembles the shape of my naturally curly hair. I had thought about my portrait before that point, and mostly avoided thinking about how I was going to represent my hair.  
Playing with Response from the Ch. 5 Exercises

Playing with Response from the Ch. 5 Exercises

My hair, like coding, has and is taking a long time to figure out. I have played with many variables over the years—different products, brushes, tactics—and figured out what is best to keep my hair healthy and looking decent. Hair tangent aside, I took the idea of response and applied it to my hair both to mimic the shape and the idea that it is going to be different every day, but follow the natural curl pattern. With my portrait, it will look different based on the viewer’s interaction, but will follow the pattern of working with my ellipse. In terms of artists, I looked in the direction of Mondrian. I think his self-portrait is fairly straight forward, and his lines are pretty defined. That’s the same approach I took, half from a learning point, and half because that’s how my brain thinks whenever I go to draw something. I think in defined lines and shapes rather before I consider things like depth and perception. And again, I avoided abstraction. The interaction with my portrait is very expressive. Viewers are able to play with my hair and imagine what it’s like playing with my actual hair. In my reality, my hair is often an indicator of how my day or week is going, and you can take that approach when interacting with my portrait. You can try to make controlled movements, or you can just scribble and throw it around. Another aspect I thought about was my eyebrows. They probably took the longest to code because I was doing a lot of trial and error with my vertexes. I would move one one way, and get an eyebrow that I thought made my face look too sad. Or I would bring it up too high, and it would be too inquisitive. I went for a mostly neutral face, so the eyebrows had to be kind of perfect.  
Too expressive—I'm not the Rock

Too expressive—I’m not the Rock

I think the most surprising thing honestly was that I did it. I struggled a lot with coding at the beginning, and I’m still struggling, but I was surprised with my growth in this project alone. I tried some new techniques, and I’m pleased with the outcome. I think it wasn’t as hard and scary as I thought it was going to be, so that was a happy surprise. Maybe next time I’ll try the abstract route!


The original version of the self portrait before interactivity was added

The original version of the self portrait before interactivity was added

Second iteration

Second iteration

Third iteration with interactivity

Third iteration with interactivity

            For this project, I set out to make basically a face with a random assortment of facial features all around the screed (inside and outside the face). However I became a more interested in just using tons and tons of teeth. I wasn’t really trying to express anything neccesarily about myself with this piece. It’s just what felt right I guess. This piece is obviously an abstract representation of myself and I was kinda inspired by the Klee self portrait. This piece allows a bit of interactivity by letting people put teeth on the screen wherever they want which I think allows for a lot more chaos than just coding in each one individually



  Before creating my self-portrait I never considered myself an artist in any dimension or medium. However, as the end of my first month in Art From Code quickly approaches, I’ve found a budding appreciation for abstract artists and art not concerned with perfection. Thus, my self portrait is very much a reflection of the personal and intellectual growth of this last month after seeing Ian Cheng’s Emissaries and Paul Klee. These two artists in particular resonated with me because I find the idea of creating art that is ‘perfect’ and without flaw daunting and discouraging. In contrast, Cheng and Klee’s artworks don’t possess a final or fixed ending to me, which is what inspired among other thing, this self-portrait.


  In my self-portrait I worked primarily with animation, inspired by Emissaries and our continual work with loops. Before even writing down ideas or sketching, I was possessed with the idea of a moving, interactive face.  I personally feel like my face is a canvas that changes ever day, and in that same vein of thinking about unpredictability produced from finite code, I did not want my self-portrait to keep a single colored face, but rather have a moving and constantly updated face. Animation, however, came with it’s own challenges of course.

face03 face04

In my process sketches many things were discarded, left behind, changed, and tinkered with until reaching this final self-portrait. That is also one of the reasons I loved this assignment, because one change in code propelled both myself and the project into a different direction. Originally, I wanted the background cells to change color with each other down the y axis to create a synchronized and smooth gradient of color from top to bottom. While I was unable to achieve that originally desired gradient in my code, by experimentation and error I found that changing the background color while retaining the proportion of rgb values produced incredible patterns that I would have never imagined possible. My own stumbling through the code led me to produce a self-portrait I liked even more than my original idea. Every time I refresh the page I come across a new pattern and color scheme I’ve never seen before, and I was pleasantly surprised how I avoided perfection but found it again through the chaos of loops and animation.


Not everything was left up to chance, of course. I wanted to also include very stationary elements about my face and identity in my self-portrait as well: specifically, my eyes, beard, and nose, and ears. If given the opportunity I would also probably add eyebrows as well. I decided to only include one ear because of Paul Klee’s Senecio in 1922, with his woman with misshapen eyes. It was that characteristic of the artwork, along with its striking colors that drew me in.  I am very satisfied with my final project and how I was able to strike a balance between purpose, chaos, and infinity, much like Ian Cheng in Emissaries. For a someone who has never felt like an artist before I am very happy with my self-portrait from code.


2015 Inspiration Doodle      Myles Screen Face

When we first got this assignment, all I could think of is how difficult it is to sum up a person in one image. I knew that I wanted to go for both a literal and an abstract version of a portrait: both physically what I look like and also how I think of myself. My inspiration initially came from a doodle I did in the margins of my notebook back in 2015. It was a figure with a screen or a box for a face. So I started there. The doodle eventually became my head in a TV screen.

It then became the issue of what to put on the screen. I decided on a few things that reminded me of myself, or that I felt emotionally close to. The easiest screen to pick was a moth, an insect that I am fascinated by (which turned out to be harder to code than expected). It took a few tries but I eventually settled on something I really liked. (The curvy one on the left was the first draft, while the sharper, striped one on the right is the final draft.)

Moth First Attempt

Moth Final

The next screen I did was a manila folder with my name on it. For the past year-ish I’ve written a horror monologue series for Midnight Cabaret called The Myles Fyles. I’m more proud of those pieces of writing than any others I’ve ever done, and I figured a file would be a good way to preface the multiple screens to follow it. Next came the umbrella, because I always feel best when its raining. The last screen I designed was the mushrooms. I also study biology, and my main interest area is mycology. I also just think they’re interesting to look at. I don’t have in-progress photos of these because the design only went through one iteration.

The final little element to my self portrait was a way to highlight the more literal picture of me. So I went with another bug: a lightning bug.

 Lit Bug


In my sketchbook, I mostly worked on problems that surprised me with their complexity: the moth, my hair, and the lightning bug. It turned out to be far more difficult to turn bugs and the shape of my hair into forms that I could use for this portrait. Moth’s wings are usually curved in irregular forms that were practically unattainable. The solution to this problem became forgoing the curves altogether and doing a sharper and more stylized moth. The lightning bug was complex in ways I did not expect because I wanted it to be at an angle. This, in hindsight, was a bad idea. It ended up taking a lot of pure trial and error before any of the bug looked good. The final problem was my hair, which does not follow any regular shapes and trying to sharpen it looked wrong in comparison to the rest of my head. It eventually took four arcs to finally get something even close to my actual hair.


Screen Shot 2017-09-27 at 6.12.18 PM

  Before I put anything down on the page or in Atom, I knew that I wanted to have a basic face for my self portrait, and (since color is very intriguing and important to me) I wanted to have three color schemes — one from a photo of my choice and two photos from my two best friends (one photo for each of them). I wanted to do this both because of my love of art and because of my closeness with my friends. I didn’t feel that a self-portrait that only had colors I had chosen would be representative of myself, and I thought that if the color scheme changed with different forms of the face, it could show how I feel different and fill different roles with my friends. Before I decided these color schemes, I drew a basic sketch in my sketchbook.


This sketch looks pretty creepy in my book, but I loosely followed it for the beginning of my code. I got four colors from the photo I chose, and used those colors for the first iteration of the face.

  Screen Shot 2017-09-27 at 6.16.27 PM

    After a discussion with one of my housemates, I decided to give the nose more dimension by basing it off of the noses of Animal Crossing characters (which is fitting, because it is one of my favorite video games). She also encouraged me to add eyebrows and make them one of the focal points of the face. 

  Screen Shot 2017-09-27 at 6.06.43 PM

I was unsure about whether the hearts would be too much for the face, so I held off while I took the photos my friends sent me, drew four colors from each of them. I had some difficulty with the clicking mechanism to change the photos, but I made it work by setting it so that when a counter for each click went above 2 (the number with which the final color was indexed to), the cycle would start over so the colors would return to my original color scheme.

Screen Shot 2017-09-27 at 6.10.24 PMScreen Shot 2017-09-27 at 6.10.35 PM

I toyed around with the idea of hair, but decided that I liked a cleaner look better. However, I did decide to add another vertex to the eyebrows so that they would look more like my own and seem somewhat more realistic and also add the heart cheeks at low opacity. Eventually, this resulted in my final self portrait (the three different forms of which are shown below).

Screen Shot 2017-09-27 at 6.12.18 PM Screen Shot 2017-09-27 at 6.12.28 PMScreen Shot 2017-09-27 at 6.12.42 PM

Self Portrait

A Girl and Her Dog, A Dog and His Girl                                                                              

    Image 4

I find I have the most success in code when I follow an outline in order to then deviate from the initial structure. For this project, I chose to follow a code from a past student’s self-portrait to secure an outline. I then simplified it, as I am new to coding and am still looking to hone my basic skills.   (Image 1) shows my initial portrait, based on an outline provided by the example piece. At this point in time, I had started to experiment with my color palette and indentifying details. I knew I wanted to approach the portrait from a straightforward point of view, I’m looking to hone in on detail and precision before I branch out towards the abstract.

Image 1(Image 1)

After getting a feel for the outline of the portrait, I quickly structured the code to fit my necessities. I decided on a static image, utilizing realism for color and basic geometry for shape. By (Image 2), I’d created a visual representing my literal portrait. I then wanted to add some more detail to further represent my “self”.

Image 2

(Image 2)

As a passionate dog lover and mother to three-and-a-half year old Chinese Crested Davi, I knew I must include his image in my portrait. Being that Davi is my greatest love, I wanted to represent our bond through a kind of melting image, a blurred line between where I end and where he begins.Image 3

(Image 3)

As I’ve begun to experiment with coding, I find my most consistent interest lies in the use of color. Through the digital color meter tool, I colored myself and Davi using photographs as references. As I am not yet able to form exact shapes to replicate reality, I enjoy utilizing exact color temperatures.

  My self-portrait represents both my idea of self and my experience as a new coder.   Through the consistent color palate and basic geometry, I feel I am able to express what I hope to convey, a literal portrait with blurred lines between reality and imagination.


 Image 4

(Image 4)


Self Portrait

Screen Shot 2017-09-28 at 5.17.09 PM

final portrait without pressing mouse

Screen Shot 2017-09-28 at 5.18.37 PM

final portrait when mouse is clicked

Gabriel Eng

To generate an idea of how I wanted to approach this assignment, I first glanced through the examples posted on the shared google drive.  At first, it was just to figure out a template for my code but by the end, I had a pretty clear picture of what I wanted to create.  I didn’t want to make a completely accurate portrait of my facial features, but rather make it a bit more abstract.  This meant experimenting with unconventional shapes to create a basis for my facial structure and using different color schemes.

The first idea I had was to create a code that switched the facial expression through clicking the mousepad. Another was to create a portrait that cycled through multiple faces, with multiple facial expressions. Both of these influences derived from the examples posted on the google drive.  They are the images shown below.

 Screen Shot 2017-09-24 at 6.55.03 PMScreen Shot 2017-09-24 at 6.55.33 PM

In the portrait on the left, the eye brows are raised and the eyes get bolder through the mousePressed function.  I also like the lack of borders in the facial structure. What I found interesting from the portrait on the right was the split face and color scheme.  I used that split face idea in my piece to create divided sections of the face, enhancing its abstraction. I don’t know the names of these artists or if they were past student work, but both portraits are very unique in their own right.  From these portraits, I realized borders don’t necessarily need to be drawn out, the portrait can look more like a caricature or animation, and that even the slightest improvement, like making an outline bolder, can have a huge impact on the final output. 

 By making it interactive in this way, you can present a wide range of emotions or any representation, and create a more accurate depiction of yourself.  With one picture you are limited in how you display yourself and one picture can not define a person.  With multiple images appearing, you can exhibit more facial expressions or emphasize certain moods you may have. In my final portrait, I tried to show a clear change in expression that resembled aggravation, through the broken glasses and lowered eyebrows.  You can also see how the lips separate and my idea was to go further and place text in between but I was having difficulty with adding that. 

From this assignment, aside from the structure of the portrait, I gained a stronger appreciation for color schemes and their significance.  Thats what catches my eye immediately when I look at other portraits.  It makes it more interactive for the viewer because it gains attention. In past assignments I didn’t place much of an emphasis on the color scheme. I thought it was strictly about the image but from my self portrait, I realized how color schemes can drastically improve a piece.  The lightness of the shades in the face go well with the light greenish background of the canvas. 

What I also found useful for this assignment was the sketchbook. This is the first piece I’ve been using the sketchbook to create an outline or experiment with what I want to code.  Before hand, I was making things up along the way.  Obviously I still had ideas, but I never formulated them on to paper.  Also, by sketching first, I had a smoother time finding the right coordinates to set my code at, and the comparable proportions of the various shapes.

Self-Portrait: Self-Planet Map

screen-shot-2015-03-03-at-3-31-02-pm My planetary self portrait isn’t looking so barren anymore.  It’s now more of a goofy collage than anything else, but progress is progress.  One thing that could be tweaked, in addition to the rough edges on the photo clippings and the opacity of the background, is the link between signage and connector.  As a whole.  It’s got to be more cohesive.  The tone of this little environment isn’t going to change much, and there are about a thousand more images that I’m figuring out how to incorporate.  But regarding the analog clock system that birthed this whole project, that could be communicated much more effectively.  The idea was that as you move clockwise from the orange line, the planet transitions from bright, warm childhood imagery (influenced by the secret Caribbean half of my genes and all my abuelita’s weird Santeria mysticism) to something much darker, colder (in every sense of the word) and more horror-influenced.  I’m trying to communicate that I don’t feel any better off for having sat through sixteen years of school, and that my mind was a more pleasant place to reside in back when it wasn’t so restless and cluttered.  Really, this is my rendition of the ‘never grow up’ song from Peter Pan; adulthood is looming, and that’s a scary thing.  My map should reflect this by illustrating a clearer and more dramatic progression from Tropics to Gothics.  This is my goal for the remainder of the project. For now, though, I’ll give a little tour of the planet in its current form.  The surface of the planet is just that, a surface.  Starting from the orange line, or from the umbilical cord stretching across the Hudson River if you like, life is simple and pure.  A bouncyhouse and a pedaled go-kart.  By fifth grade, school was no longer inflatable or fun; it was a stone prison.  But the warm vibes of childhood were still half-present, at least.  Along the yellow path to that stone prison are the man and the goat that I photographed back in high school, on the side of a road somewhere in Cuba.  Other notable residents of the yellow region include Oshun (who’s basically the Afro-Caribbean Virgin Mary variant), and some nude ladies being baptized in the water (to signify first contact with the metaphysical, as well as the bodily revelations of the middle-schooler).  The region between the yellow and green lines is home to the lonesome little boy staring into space, and another Santeria deity named Eleggua, god of crossroads and something to do with divine contact through drumming, if I recall correctly.  All quite appropriate for my early days of drumming and terrifying uncertainty. By the time high school rolls around (green line), it’s clear that the stone prison and all its stipulations are totally illusory.  But you’re still bound to them, sort of by law, and you’re constantly being monitored.  I chose to express this by attaching two guard towers to a guard tower, despite there being no actual prison.  This is all happening on the colder side of the planet now, and it’s all watched over by Danu, Celtic Mother Goddess, to offset Oshun’s presence on the opposite side, The purple line to college runs across the Hudson River, past the black-cloaked Washington Heights Gatekeepers, past mom’s old apartment, past dad’s old apartment and the big evil mountain which I suppose is the Bronx.  It ends at the north pole.  Sarah Lawrence is in many ways less structured than the endpoints of the other three lines, so there is no structure.  There is only a moping gargoyle with a bird growing out of his back, and some cigarette butts and a sad lady from an old painting.  I do intend to build more on the north pole, as well as on the rest of the planet, and then maybe something on the water.  I appreciated everyone’s input today.

Self-Portrait: A Map of Depression

My self-portrait is a map of my depression, using a collage-based approach with text pulled from my own poetic writing and physically-linked symbols. una map final My initial brainstorm was closer to my final product, with an idea of spatialization based on my own gendered ancestry (my family’s history in Poland, the trauma of survival, etc). The maps we viewed in class, such as the dream map, inspired me. My mode of art is largely collage-based, though, so I was nervous about working outside of that medium. I was also distracted by the personal nature of the project and the idea of having a single, recognizable sign system, surface, and connection system. However, after viewing the work of Ward Shelley, I thought I would go in a different direction and instead map the evolution of my sense of postmodern aesthetics. Like Shelley’s work where he maps in neurotic detail different artistic movements, I wanted to create a detailed and text-based timeline of counterculture aesthetics moving into the internet age of “new aesthetics,” something that I know about as obsessively as Ward Shelley does with his movements. 2015-03-03 15.20.48 My sign system was text and pictures pulled from my personal internet projects, such as facebook aesthetic groups (inb4, sport aesthetics), and from my tumblrs, basementfag.tumblr.com and health-goth.tumblr.com. The surface was minimalist, on black with an extra pattern representing the advent of the internet into counterculture. I considered adding more text in boxes to explain different phases of postmodernity, but I struggled to find a connection system that satisfied me artistically, and also felt like my work was not personally connected enough with these explanations. Screen Shot 2015-03-29 at 11.58.04 PM Eventually, I returned to an idea more similar to my original one of collaging my own sense of spatiality and embodied experiences of different spaces or states. I decided to map what I know the best right now, which is my depression and my own thoughts. IMG_4925 My surface was different states of depression, coded by color and space: Screen Shot 2015-03-29 at 11.57.16 PM My sign system was collaged poetics, as well as pictures of bodies, many of them my own, and of consumed media I encounter entering into my subconscious. My connection system had to do with different states of mind. I primarily used the symbols of pills to communicate going through different chemically-influenced states of depression. I also used a crow in the top left corner, a symbol of death and darkness in a natural world, and a hand reading “NO” in the bottom left. The hand represents the power silently and physically no to violation and trauma represented by the bottom of the map, the “basement” section. Screen Shot 2015-03-30 at 12.35.05 AM Screen Shot 2015-03-30 at 12.35.10 AM Screen Shot 2015-03-30 at 12.35.16 AM Screen Shot 2015-03-30 at 12.37.41 AM The main effect I tried to produce with my map was a sense of different, separate physical spaces. I wanted it to feel like one could imagine oneself enter into each different space and travel throughout them, hence the use of roads, landscapes, a bed, and my computer screen. I tried to supplement this impulse to enter or traverse by using pictures of different bodies, so that the viewer could feel corporeally connected to the map. My map attempts to make visible the ways in which mental illness can cause a sense of being lost in the vastness of one’s own head. I wanted to make visible the expansiveness and physicality of my mental illness, especially in an era of internet mass media, pornography, and chemical supplements. I am a trans person and an web artist who’s self-making has been internet-based. I interact with my corporeality and sexuality heavily in virtuality. The tools of webcams, selfies, and other such highly recent technologies affect my consciousness about my body and about where I live psychologically. The screen, feeding back my image to me, causes me to live in a dreamlike, virtual state. The shifting chemical states caused by medication adds another dimension to this bodily sense of shifting. These two factor, chemical changes in one’s state of mind, and the shifting in senses of spatiality because of the constant feed of media, can make depression an even more complicated state of mind to grapple with. My map attempts to make visible this struggle.

Self Portrait Postmortem: A Map of Love Creek

IMG_20150310_170208_503IMG_20150310_170201_857Screen Shot 2015-03-10 at 2.06.59 PM   Here are some photos of the last part of my self portrait map. As It was hard to photograph my map on the wall, I included a detail that gives a better sense of what it looks like up close, as well as an image of the surface which I created digitally. Ultimately my project came out fairly close to the way I envisioned it, but with some rough edges. I would have liked to add more color and details to the surface using Photoshop. As a result of technical problems and time constraints, I included only the most essential elements of my surface. Additionally, I greatly limited the amount I did by hand in order to meet the deadline. My original plan was to include extensive text, beyond that on my draft, which I was unable to do. I also hoped to create texture using different papers which I hoped would give the illusion of depth. I think my project would have benefited from these changes and regret that there was not sufficient time for them. If I were to do something differently it would be to follow a different schedule than the others in class who were doing purely digital projects. It would have been best for me to have printed my map several weeks in advance so that I could add all the details I had planned. I was influenced by Shadow Lines and the way in which the narrator’s sense of self and geography was so informed by others. The space I chose to map my self portrait onto is a shared space which is significant to everyone in my family. Reading the novel drew my attention to the fact that I really wanted to honor my individual perception of, and relationship to, that space. I wanted the space I was mapping to assert my individuality over the collective identity which it normally reflects. Ultimately my map reflects my experiences and proposes that life is cyclical and in my life I will return to the knowledge and experiences that I have had. I hope to use this circular map as a reminder to myself and others to allow our experiences to build on and inform one another so that we may learn for what we have been through.

Self-Portrait: The Self as an Idea

Screen Shot 2015-03-10 at 3.30.41 PM This finalized version of my self portrait is the culmination and self-exploration of my thoughts and emotions. Initially, I felt the need to bracket my experiences and my personality by temporally and spatially binding it. I at first thought, how can I represent myself, when my self changes every hour, ever minute. To address this problematization of identity I thought that the most concise way to “capture” my-self would be to record myself (literally) throughout the space of an hour, as if to say; this is not who I am period, it is who I am this hour. Screen Shot 2015-03-10 at 3.01.15 PM Although this idea of overlay- lines upon plotted points, upon colors, shapes and drawings and words, upon outlines, upon a graph- seemed very appealing to my thought process, I soon discovered not only its complexity, but the “holes” within my depection of myself and eventually the aesthetic overcrowding. Screen Shot 2015-03-10 at 2.59.16 PM From my first draft I did not alter the layout but simply added too it, filling up the shapes on the left hand-side with text and drawing. It was at this point that I first considered having to alter my over-all plan for the direction of the map. Although I had a recording of what I had been thinking/saying during my one hour excursion through Bronxville, listening back to it, it seemed more disjointed and less indicative of myself than I had hoped. This caused me to make my first change where I decided that the filled in shapes (the drawn and text ones) did not necessarily need to correlare to concrete througts, that rather they could just be indicative of musings, potentials for where my brain wanders. After making this decision, the final choice to eliminate the idea of the one-hour restraint became much easier. Without the restraint, there was no reason for thoughts to correlate with the distance and time graphing. Thus, the drawing and text section became rather a decpition of a week within my mind, working on it daily each picture would inspire either a new thought or a further lead, for me, my personality exists as equally within my desire for meticulous fine point detail as it does within the images and thoughts I wish to bring forth. Soon it became clear to me that in the simplest of ways, the way in which I was deciding to construct my map and consider it was, ideologically, the best depiction of my self that can be given. Screen Shot 2015-03-10 at 3.00.02 PM After making this decision the rest of the map seemed to flow relatively easily except for the last part. The part where I thought I was done, perhaps not. I was stuck in a position of fatigue, agitation and loss of inspiration. I had a mass of organic lines forming shapes, just as the rest of my map, lying empty, undulating at the bottom. My first reaction was an instinctual one, I should keep it, it’s the unknown, the potential… where my thoughts can go, but then, something aesthetic overtook me and I felt the need to balance the map so to speak. Engaging in a roundabout game of turntables, I flipped and flipped, 90, 180, 275. Was one side heavier than the other, were the colors causing unacceptable asymmetry? I finally gave into my aesthetic fear, I craved balance, and for that I put in a title. After discussing with Angela however, and getting a artist’s view on my obsession with aesthetic symmetry, I decided to finally choose meaning over aesthetic. Removing the title made me feel like I was stripping myself of a cloak, dangerously naked underneath. The title was a way to explain myself, a kind of shield to protect me from the misinterpreting viewer, without it, the only thing to look at, would be me. Slowly however, I began to appreciate the negative space. It is the possibility. What could be, but what is not necessarily pre-determined, the vague but delicately outlined unknown. This map has been in its own way a cartographic exploration of the self, the map and notions of boundaries between the self and everything else. Where does the line lie between one thing and another so much so that we feel the need to mark it, delineate it, name it- one/two, land/water, London/Coventry, me/you, legitimate/invisible.

Self-Portrait Draft #2: A Map of Bella

Screen Shot 2015-03-03 at 9.07.29 PM=   I started with the three points that are geographically located: London, Buenos Aires, and New York. The placement is where these three cities actually fall on the map. I planned to use concentric circles to show the impact these cities have had on my personal development, the thicker lines showing a heavier influence in recent years. This would be my sign system. My surface consists of an abstract interpretation of Manhattan in 1998. This was a pivotal year in my family’s history. My connections are the darker purple lines that actually follow the tracks of London’s subway system. The lines are the Bakerloo line which is the track we would take home. I chose these colors because they remind me of my mother and her favorite scent (lavender). I chose grey because I wanted a subtle but powerful color to attract the eye but not distract from the map. Unfortunately, the website would not upload one of my photos of my sketchbook, but I had originally planned to use stripes to color my surface as opposed to solid color. I changed my mind because I wanted a color of significance. My map wasn’t really influenced by the readings and more by my family’s history and the significance of place in and presence in our family. I will also be adding hand drawn images and painting more of the blank space with water color.   Screen Shot 2015-03-04 at 1.07.42 PM Screen Shot 2015-03-04 at 1.07.06 PM Screen Shot 2015-03-04 at 1.07.33 PM IMG_2187  

Self Portrait Draft #2: An Accumulation of Lucas’ Profile Pictures

Screen Shot 2015-02-16 at 10.39.16 PMScreen Shot 2015-03-03 at 8.03.41 PM Screen Shot 2015-03-03 at 8.05.06 PMScreen Shot 2015-03-03 at 8.05.36 PM Screen Shot 2015-03-03 at 8.05.53 PM For the second draft of my self portrait, I primarily focused on the visual aesthetics of the map that needed to be better fleshed out. To start, I wanted to see what it would look like if I included outlines of my body, as a way of clearing up the fact that these are in fact profile pictures. However, for reasons that I will explain in a bit, I decided after the fact that this was not true to the overall concept of the portrait. In addition, I used the colors as an indicator as to the age of the picture, blue being the newest and green being the oldest. This was a good start, however because those colors are so close together on the spectrum, a few of the pictures in the middle ended up being hard to differentiate. Thus, for the final draft I’ll be extending the spectrum over one color to make that clearer. I was also debating whether or not to include a legend, which points to a larger conceptual decision that, in hindsight, I didn’t consider as much as I should have, that being the amount of information that I choose to reveal to the viewer. I can boil this debate down into two camps: 1, I reveal the system via a legend, thus making the methodology incredibly clear, or 2, I don’t provide any information, and just let the signs I’ve created imply accumulation. Both, in my opinion, are valid. In fact, I have to disagree with Angela’s comment that the portrait doesn’t include a sign system at all. There are variables to the piece (age of the photo, composition of negative space), and I have a consistent way of expressing them (color, lines). Furthermore, there are numerous examples in The Map as Art in which the sign system is not readily obvious, or when the purpose of the map is not to navigate but to demonstrate concepts such as change or abstraction in a consistent manner. Examples include Bryony Graham’s Rockaway Felix, You Are Here: Felixstowe, in which a pile of rock candy was left on a beach for people to take with them as they please, or Julian Schnabel’s South Coast Prickly Point, which is “not to be used for navigation,” but instead meant to show “how images and objects can be stripped of purpose through abstract manipulation” (177). The latter piece became an inspiration for my project, because in a way I believe that is what my portrait attempts to do, namely subtract the content from images that are supposed to represent me, leaving only the abstract similarities between them. All that being said, I do understand why that would be Angela’s first reaction, and I don’t think this draft was successful at all. Indeed, I’ve provided no evidence that there is any rhyme or reason to the lines I’ve drawn, and when people look at the piece as is, they would absolutely be lost as to how it should be read. For this reason, I will be including a legend in the final draft, which will indicate that the color is connected to the age of the photos. I will also be adding more photographs, and within those photographs I will be adding more lines, so that they are closer to the actual shape of the spaces between me and the environments. When I do this, I am hoping that clusters of lines will reveal themselves within certain pockets of the frame, thus clarifying the overall theme of accumulation. If this is successful, then I would also like to get rid of the outlines of my head, because they are contrary to the subtraction and abstraction of content that I’m trying to achieve.

Self Portrait Draft #2: A Map of the Gaze

Screen Shot 2015-03-03 at 2.37.29 PMScreen Shot 2015-03-03 at 2.38.34 PMScreen Shot 2015-03-03 at 2.39.14 PM  Screen Shot 2015-03-03 at 2.38.44 PM The first draft I made of this map played on a different concept with a similar execution. I was still trying to express an invisible phenomenon through the use of thermograph-esque color spots, each shade in a spectrum representing a certain level of sensory importance. After finishing this earlier draft, I knew that I needed to propose something that was less universal and more unique to my personal experience. While sense is a highly individual experience, I knew that I could express something else using the same system I had conceived of. I chose to map the gaze of six important people in my life, five immediate family members and my best friend. In doing so, I could make a visual representation of where I feel their eyes anchor when they look at me. In a way, it is still a very sensory map, since it shows others’ visual experience of me, as well as the parts of my head that I feel are more heavily trodden by the gaze of these people. In manipulating these six, semi-transparent color swatches, I came to realize that I was really mapping others’ concept of me, that their visual experience of me was quite closely linked to what role I play in their lives. For example, those who I have a more communicative, intimate relationship with look first to my eyes, mouth, and other parts of my face that show expression and communicate reassurance. Likewise, those who I feel a more superficial or distanced relationship with tend to see me as more of an outline lacking such organs that are most important in communication. Rough Draft cut-and-paste preliminary sketchpreliminary sketch The author who most influenced my creative process was Dennis Wood. Color is such an important part of how we identify the world around us, and I knew that by utilizing color based on my own set of rules I could create what Wood calls a “reality that exceeds our reach”, and allows viewers to reimagine their own visual perception. I also played with his concept of postings, there-ness and this-ness. By mapping the sense of “being watched” through selective color, I assert that the relationship between viewing and being viewed is relevant and complex. My image is a map because it visualizes and localizes a sensation which is rather undescribable. It proposes that my physical appearance is only as others view it, and being that these perspectives are varied, I am asserting that there is no objective reality. Adolf Wolf’s maps were probably the main artistic influence on my own map. His work is very abstract and relies heavily on the selective use of color and shape to convey meaning. I liked that his images have a sort of dynamic effect when you view them. The immediacy of his color choices sets the tone for the image, while the complex and meticulous placement of shapes allows for an entire narrative to unfold. I wanted to make an image that doesn’t unravel itself easily, but instead demands to be considered and picked apart over an extended viewing period.

Self-Portrait Draft #2: A Map of Emotional Movement

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In this second draft of my self-portrait, I wanted to continue with the idea that the two places I have lived (New York and New Jersey) have had different (but equal) influences on me. However, with the help of crit and conference, I realized that my first map was more of a collage of the different aesthetics of these two locations, rather than a map of these place’s influences.

In order to make this draft of my self-portrait a map rather than a collage, I added rough, hand-drawn sketches of my bedrooms in each location to represent a sign system. There are multiple locations (and therefore multiple bedrooms) because of the amount of times I have moved within both states. The size of each sketch is relative to the amount of time lived there (which happens to coincide with the amount of influence the place has had on me). “UNKNOWN, NY” is a glimpse toward the future, as I know I am going to be moving apartments within New York City in the next few months. This unknown location is already slightly affecting some of my life choices, therefore influencing me in the present, despite the uncertainness of the place. The text within each room are words that represent my feelings towards that place and how they have affacted me.

The connective system shows which places are related in the terms of “moving house”. In the period of the last six years, “home” has been multiple locations at once, and the lines of pictures that cross between the rooms represent which houses I moved directly to and from. The pictures that make up these lines are representations of each place, what I think of when I think of each individual location.

The background of the map is how one is intended to differentiate between positive experiences of moving and negative experiences of moving. The darker the background gets, the more sad or traumatic the loss of a home/house was. For example, the move between Galloway, NJ and Manhattan, NY was a time of sadness due to the relocation to a new place from a childhood home.

Ideas that were discussed in the class readings, such as the fact that maps give us a type of reality that allows for a deeper understanding of specific individualistic ideals deeply influenced my own self-portrait. The idea that maps give us a sense of identity is an important aspect that I wanted to portray, especially because of the quote “mapped images have become essential to our sense of the world, to our place within it, to much of our identity” and “even our sense of coming from a particular place. . . to our sense of who we are, of what we’re doing, of where we’re going”. The aspect of a place’s importance in relation to an individual is something I wanted to show accurately. This self-portrait is a map because it proposes the idea that the relation between various locations are negative or positive/neutral in a personal sense. The map discards geography and time in order to make a statement about the influence of movement from one place to another. Through the display of specific rooms the represent different towns, and color-coded connective lines, the map makes the journey of movement between various places within NY and NJ (through my feelings toward these experiences) visible.

Artist References: Monica De Miranda-In the back of our hands and  Jeannie Thib- Georaphia. In addition, the class guest speaker provided inspiration for the idea of mapping out rooms in houses:


Self-Portrait Draft #2: A Map of Projecting Considered Experiances


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While conceptualizing my second iteration of my map, I chose to focus on the way in which idea/memories are filtered, curated, and relegated into the projecting ones decisions into the future. The way in which, one reflects or applies hindsight to decisions, writes most of the equati on for how their future is shape, this is true besides for the element of chaos which in unaccountable in life.

 I wanted to use the idea of  a growing viral body as my map. The virus breeds and certain of it s offspring grow bigger, and others lay dormant, described in white circles, the bigger the size just means the amount of time spent in consideration, the density of these ideas describes the

I decided to make a semi natural background, using tones which can be found in nature to translate this effect. I then assigned connective paths which are pointed into infinity. Then I have three separating boundaries which stem from the map boarder and are on the closest plane to the viewer.

The boundaries are “Out of Consideration”, “Experiential Boundary”, and “Perception LIne”, each of these separators define the actual decision to see or not see, or choose not to include ideas and experiences in future decisions.

The map is then broken up into another level of separations: “Future”, “Past”, “Present”. I wanted to add this axis for analysis to provide another aspect of my own thought process, and what weighs in on the actual decisions I make towards the future.

My map proposes a way of considering ones linear history and experiences in a new manner, one which is personal to me. The negation yet proclamation of my important past emphasize something personal about me; my tendency to avoid specificity, which is certainly clarified by the white circles. My map makes visible this very contradiction in my own persona/ality. Being human is about revealing clear contradictions within self. Mine is that I know what I am doing, yet still doing it.

 Woods, describes the function of clustering and connecting seemingly disconnected aspects of a map. I also appreciate her notion  of a system of signifiers. The artists who influenced me from the readings:  Emily Ginsburg and Jane Lackey influenced me most. Their use of minimal color and creating abstract patterns with underlying narrative maps, gave me direction. “Both used ideas of the invisible, ephemeral, unseen, and cerebral in the creation of a map”, as I said in my first post.

Self Portrait: A Map of Rory (Part 2)

Screen Shot 2015-03-03 at 3.24.39 AMScreen Shot 2015-03-03 at 3.24.22 AM Screen Shot 2015-03-03 at 3.23.19 AM Screen Shot 2015-03-03 at 3.24.31 AM Screen Shot 2015-03-03 at 3.23.10 AM  Screen Shot 2015-03-03 at 3.22.52 AM Screen Shot 2015-03-03 at 3.23.02 AM Screen Shot 2015-03-31 at 10.15.41 AM My Relationships to My Relationships (In final draft stages of Part 2) In my second draft, I changed many aspects of my original “self-portrait”; after my meeting with Angela, I came to terms with the fact that my original map, while accurate insofar of its truth as a self-portrait, lacked the presence of a map. I found that in first choosing the base for my self portrait (a face), I had chosen an image that controlled me, rather than my controlling it- I had to alter certain aspects of the placements in the portrait and sign system in a way which diluted the “map”-iness, and I wanted to change that in my second draft. So I chose to discard that surface, and instead replaced it with concentric circles. Not only did the circles provide me with more freedom in the size and placement of my symbols, but they also allowed for a less distracting background. I still wanted to retain my original statement, that the separation between myself and the basic human is my relationships, but instead of doing that by showing a skull and my face, I drew myself in the center of my map, holding hands with a skeleton version of me. I also figured out exactly what it was that my map was depicting- My Relationship to My Relationships. In this, I drew lines connecting me with the symbols I used to depict important relationships in my life- however, this was a self portrait, rather than a portrait of relationships, and so I chose to only show my emotions regarding the relationship, rather than depicting both sides’ emotions. I wanted to capture the complexity of my relationships- in that each relationship ties together different concepts that I hold as being important, so I used color as one of my sign systems, creating a multifaceted dimension to the symbolic depictions of my relationships. Different types of lines point from me to the symbols, showing the different emotional connections I have to those relationships, while the concentric circles show the frequency with which I think of those things and emote towards them. I drew arrows pointing from the exact spot on my map to the symbols for them, showing that it is my relationship towards that particular relationship that is being represented, as opposed to a more multifaceted option. ALTHOUGH IN THIS DRAFT THAT I’M UPLOADING, THE IMAGES IN THE CONCENTRIC CIRCLES ARE CUT OUTS FROM PHOTOS OF THE ORIGINAL SKETCHES, THIS WILL NOT BE THE CASE IN THE FULL SIZED EDITION! (Because I found it hard to capture the original vibrancy of the colours- an essential component of the map- I will be using the original sketches rather than photographs of them in my finished draft.) My finished draft, contained of course, slightly different lines, as they were all drawn by hand. The sign system remained the same, but I chose different lines to define the circles that surrounded me, after speaking with Angela. She correctly pointed out that the previous lines were generic circles, and that I could create a circle from something other than a black line. I made my new circles by drawing wreath-like pictures, featuring flowers and small animals; the concept being a garden tea-party to which I invited my closest relationships. Because the circle closest to me is the most prominent, I wanted to give it more power than the one furthest from me, so I added to it small animals. However, I didn’t want my lines to be rigid, to exclude relationships from prevalence, rather I wanted to show a certain mobility and fluidity to my relationships; I did this by allowing an occasional overlap from wreath to wreath, such as the butterfly on the outermost wreath. The wreaths are askew upon the page, to show that no factor can be precisely measured. I was inspired in my circles by the imaginative and detailed work by children’s illustrators, suck as Quentin Blake (Patrick’s violin contains many beautiful images of trees and nature coming to life) and of Korky Paul. I attached my images to the paper by layering them into frames which I cut out from poster-board, to create a factor reminiscent of a family portrait gallery.