The concept I wanted to explore with the The Narcissist series is one of the ways narcissism has taken form in our culture. Today nearly everyone is very connected via internet, most commonly through social networking sites such as Facebook, Instagram or Twitter. As I worked on my own self portraits I could no longer ignore the narcissistic elements of creating and painting images of myself and the correlation to online social networking.
So many people take and post flattering photos of themselves using an iphone or the camera on their computer. Years ago this seemed to be only for recognition purposes, but it now has escalated to a practice of vanity, as the quantity and suggestiveness of such pictures has become alarming. The narcissism doesn't stop there, it extends to information on what people eat for lunch, where they went that night, or how lucky they were in Vegas. What is the goal of such over sharing of information? People seem to want to present themselves in a desirable, consumable form to their online peers.
For this series of paintings I wanted to create consumable and desirable images of myself, aka, self portraits. The photos are taken using a digital camera and timer and often just the camera on my laptop. I wanted to mimic the look of pixels, and so in the practice of pointillism I create my image using mostly dots squeezed from a pastry tip.
In my past work I have favored the use of a palette knife, creating a thick creamy texture, and one day the paint began to look a bit like frosting to me. As I began to work on this series, I decided to actually use a pastry tip to apply the paint. I thought, "What could be more consumable than cake?" I use an acrylic medium for the "frosting" and either oil or acrylic for the remaining elements. The images focus only on the figure, and I use negative space and the sculptural quality of the paint to balance the composition. Conceptually this is important, as the Narcissist takes precedence above all else. The paintings vary from medium sized to small and stylistically range from abstract to a more pointillistic realism. To further indulge in this idea of consumable images, I have titled the pieces as menu items or cocktails, such as The Catch of the Day or The Mimosa.