Artist Paloma Tendero works primarily with the body in her work, often looking at complicated subjects such as genetic determinism. Paloma was one of our artists in residence in 2017 and exhibited her work PKD Studies. Paloma returned to run a workshop for us called My Appearance & I, involving drawing and photography, focusing on the representation of ourselves in different stages and transitions in our life.
At first Paloma gave a brief introduction to the history of self-portraits and as a group we discussed the difference between a self portrait and a selfie. In self portraits artists are often interested in exploring notions of identity and themselves, their bodies. In selfies we are often thinking about images for posterity — to say I was here — and also for vanity.
In the first part of the workshop participants studied their faces in the mirror and then drew a self portrait, taking care to notice the bits of their face that they might often miss.
Afterwards Paloma tasked everyone to take a photographic self portrait of themselves (with the help of a partner!). Participants were encouraged to think about how they want to be perceived, or perhaps about using objects that represent themselves. A self portrait doesn’t always have to be of your face — it can be an image that represents you in some way. After everyone had made their images Paloma asked everyone to erase their drawn portrait and redraw themselves. It was quite emotional for some people to erase their images — luckily we scanned them before they did!
After the erasure everyone was asked to draw their self portraits again, which we then layered up with acetate and used marker pens to highlight our key features. With our printed photographs we then layered the acetate with our photographs, creating another layer of artwork. This was a great workshop getting us to think about our features and identity — thanks Paloma!
Some of our workshop members kindly offered to share their work.