Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Digital Portraits

I love portraits and I was looking for a way to make them in a digital format. The following picture is a self portrait that I took from my computer. I then drew on top of the image in Photoshop. Since I have studied anatomy I try to pick out shapes based more on bone structure rather than shadows. I think that this approach leads to a more "structural" portrait. 

Working on it was a little bit of a struggle. This type of illustration can be very time consuming and tends to look bizarre during the process. Throughout the creation of this picture I kept wondering if it would come out looking good at all. I'm so glad I saw it through till the end, because it was certainly worth the effort.

I decided to take this further by using my friends as models. I wanted to do a series where I made two pictures of each person. Ultimately I wanted this to represent duality. I myself had gone through some very difficult years and have come to a better place because of what I have been through. I wanted to honor my friends who offered support while also facing their own personal conflicts. 

Because, at the end of the day, you can only conquer it if you are strong enough to face it. 

For the series of sad portraits I used muted colors, vacant backgrounds, and chose to have the subject looking away from the viewer. I wanted to let them be in a moment of inner reflection. 

My best friend and roommate, Amber. One of the most responsible people I know. She constantly deals with the fear of having to taking care of her mother. 

Nic, an amazing friend who I value so much for his clear-headed way of relating to the world. I worked with him for a year before he confided that he was bi-polar. 

Jimmy, one of the most loving and open people I have ever meet. He struggles with drug addiction and the hurt that it caused his family. 

For the series of happy portraits I wanted the background to be full of life and color. The subjects eyes finally meet the viewer. This is the truest version of themselves. They show off the light and energy that brought me to them in the first place.

I've known Amber since we were about fifteen years old. She has never once failed to help me do anything. From sorting out life's big issues to telling me to get some sleep. She is the strongest, most capable person I have ever meet. I'm so lucky to have her as a friend. She is truly one on a million.

Nic has the amazing ability to turn a bad day around in a matter of seconds. I could go to work on the worst day of my life and if I walked in the door and saw him working, I knew I was going leave laughing. Not just laughing - really laughing. The kind of laugh that doesn't make any noise and prevents you from seeing straight. He will always be my favorite accomplice. 
I never expected so much love to come from someone with such a difficult life. Jimmy is all smiles and playfulness, yet if he even thought that you needed him, he would never hesitate to help. There were so many times that he was comforting me before I even knew that I needed it. For some reason my walls were just invisible to him.