What defines us? Our jobs? Our religious beliefs? Our appearance? Political beliefs? Neighborhoods? I wanted to explore the role of different components of my identity through this painting. What better way to do so than a word search? I love word searches. Digging through random letters to find some meaning is fun and a bit relaxing.
While I was thinking about the theme for this year’s Art Conspiracy auction, Identity, the idea for a word search came to mind while I was driving and I had to write it down. I made a list of all the words that I felt identified me: lefty, Christian, Dallas, Babson, glasses, painter, etc. and plugged them into an online word search creator. And tada! I took that word search and transplanted in multi-colors atop my self-portrait.
Painting myself is always hard. I tend to be harder on myself than other subjects and emphasize and exaggerate flaws like laugh lines. In this case, it works. I liked the idea of painting myself with shades because of the possibilities of playing with the lenses. I made one lens blue and the other red. I left certain parts of the painting unfinished to symbolize that the identity isn’t a full picture. Even with an itemized list of all the things that define us and all the boxes we check, there’s more to our stories. We can’t hide behind labels. Jesus didn’t. He broke many norms of His time to reach those He needed to reach. We have to remember that. This painting reminds me to do more than check the box.
See this painting live this Saturday at Art Conspiracy’s seed auction from 7 pm to 11 pm at Life in Deep Ellum. There will be live music, food trucks and lots of cool artwork.