November 26, 2018

Does a self-portrait have to be vain?

Gabriella Morris


Be it an insta-selfie or a seventeenth century painting, most self-portraits aim to encourage the viewer to think well of the subject. Is this vanity? Is this portraying an untruth?

My current aim is to eschew any idea of vanity and use my own face as a practical, free, live, willing model in order to study colour and light. What happens when I face a different direction, there is a different space behind, or different brush mark on the head?

Perhaps, gradually, it will become a more confronting psychological study of my own character; by nature a project in which vanity triumphs. As well as being an academic challenge, painting can be seized as a powerful tool to examine ourselves internally.

In an age of traumatic obsession with image on social media, I hope art can be used to capture truthful character within rather than vanity without.


Self-Portrait in Profile, oil on board, 31x35cm approx.