SELF PORTRAIT WITH MUG
This series of self portraits were very heavily influenced by Sarah Lucas’ ‘Self Portrait with Fried Eggs’. Iconic shots of artists are often taken in their studios; showing them in their natural habitat and attempting to capture them in the midst of their art-making. I wanted the shot to look natural, but I did want to copy the formula of Lucas’ portrait so I carefully selected objects, clothing and a pose that I felt represented me as a person and are central to my process.
I get a lot of my subject matter from celebrity stories in gossip magazines and I read the Daily Mail on a regular basis, so felt that these were a must-have. The personalised mug was bought for me recently, but I felt this was a simple example of my interest in branding and my continuous self-promotion, and I do drink a lot of tea while working!
I tried different poses that I felt said something about me and my position as an art student; playing up to the idea that artists often sit around all day and don’t actually produce much. I also tried poses that resembled glamour shots; playing with my hair and also sitting with the newspaper between my legs, implying that there are shortcuts to fame that I could exploit. This was a testament to Lucas’s work and also Tracey Emin; thinking about her open-legged position in the portrait ‘I’ve Got It All’. I think the legs crossed pose is more relevant to my own character, however.
The tidy desk and paintbrushes (still in their pack) add to the feeling that not much physical art-making goes on. I feel like I spend my most of my time in the studio researching on my mac and video editing etc, so I felt that this object needed to be present. I like that the laptop puts the photograph in context, because in ten years time, I’m sure this model will be considered retro.
I kept a postcard of Sarah Lucas’ portrait in the shot purposely because I’m very interested in authenticity and the recycling of images, I also like references in my work to be clear, and not hidden in a bid to appear original.
The pink Dr Martens and flamboyant shirt are an example of what I normally wear day to day. I wore the gold shirt specifically because I think it’s tacky, showbiz look is in keeping with my taste and my fame-based subject matter.
The top shot is my favourite; I like the composition of it particularly and I feel like it’s a realistic portrayal of what I get up to in the studio, while meeting the criteria of a classic artist’s portrait.