Despite the suggestion that self-portraiture is a modern phenomenon, it most assuredly is not. The wide-spread availability of cameras and cell phones have made it easy for everyone to participate, but artists have been doing self portraits for as long as there have been artists. Any museum will support my statement.
Why do we put so much effort into our own images? Partly because we are the one model who will always be available, any time of day or night. Then there’s the challenge of seeing what new thing you can say about this person you’ve known your entire life with an intimacy you can never have with any other living being.
What does your face show? Wisdom? Humor? Worry? Joy? Can you grab that feeling and make it part of the picture? Whatever you do, you are following in a very long tradition, a tradition that goes back at least 1,000 years.
“There is nothing new under the sun,” commended Julius Caesar.
Today I am 67 years old … an age which seems impossible. Never did I imagine being so old. In my head, I am the same kid I’ve always been. Marilyn, the girl, has the same dreams, the same hopes, the same feelings she did when she was a 17-year-old. The body hasn’t done too well, but the essence remains. May all of you keep your dreams alive forever.
“We just do the same old stuff using new tools,” says Marilyn Armstrong.