It’s Never Too Late to Illustrate a Basic Incompetence:
(Definitely not a napkin)
A good deal of my work in sculpture and photography used to feature myself as source material. I was available, free, and not offended if I cut off my head and sat on it.
Now that I am working my status as a crone, strangely, I find dealing with my own image in sculpture more troubling. (Yes. Vanity! Who knew?)
But last semester, I asked the artists in my class at the New York Academy of Art last semester to work on self portraits, and it made me think that it was time to impose the same assignment on myself.
In class, I argued that self portraits were an interesting topic both in the context of art history (mostly in 2D work of course) and contemporary selfie culture....and of course an interesting formal and practical challenge.
I’m not sure I would give that assignment again, however. Self-source materials, i.e. photos, are always lousy and frustrating compared to working from a live model, and maybe not an extra challenge that you need in a classroom context. And then there is the potential awkwardness of discussing the sculptor’s face in critiques: “I think your face is more asymmetrical, and is more full here” Well, I didn’t say that to anyone. If anything, all participants were more attractive than their self-portraits. Wish I could say the same for myself.
I have always felt that I had a better opinion of my sculpting ability in the past. Whatever the current piece I am working on always seems to suck the most...but this one is a particularly uninspiring moment.
I used to say that I was a better sculptor than I was a teacher. But now I am wondering a bit if I was talking a better game than I’m playing.
This head is mostly just a test. I am using an unfriendly clay that I am not used to, and working hollow without an armature, which is something I haven’t done in a very long time.
I can only say that it isn’t done, and I have a nefarious plan to cave the face in as part of another project....so it may not matter exactly how I finish arranging my jowls.
Does that help?