Bethany Lane

This self-portrait, rendered in acrylic paint and magazine cuttings, was one of my resolved pieces for Advanced Higher Art. My broad theme was 'Identity', but more specifically, this piece conveys 'Preservation of Public Image'.

The concept I was trying to express was this acute fear we -  as humans - have of what people think of us. This fear strikes so deep, we painstakingly create and carefully apply an artificial front to hide behind, concealing the real, raw, complex beings we really are beneath it all. Sometimes this is done subconsciously, other times, quite deliberately. Perhaps this is a reflection of how manipulative mankind is, going to such extreme lengths to control how are we perceived by those around us. Or perhaps this is a symptom of the sobering reality that we do, in fact, have very little control, and this is merely a desperate attempt to dominate and manage some aspect of our lives. Or, most harshly, perhaps we are all just plagued with crippling low self-esteem and can't stand the thought of anyone else seeing what we see in our darkest moments alone. Perhaps, it all starts when we look in the mirror and we fear ourselves.

This painting depicts me physically stripping back the made-up mask, revealing my true self. Here, the front is portrayed as make-up, as after all, it is purely cosmetic. Skin deep. To be taken at face value.


Well done to Bethany Lane who wins July’s Highlight of the Month and £100 for her painting and accompanying description.