Have you ever thought about how you present yourself to the world, real or virtual? How the image you portray represents something that makes you fit into a certain group? Hipster, granola, minimalist, artist, musician, foodie, fashionista and on and on.
There are so many categories one could chose to fit into. Selfies, the millennial phenomenon, seems to have an allure to both the taker and the viewer. It seems to me that we are looking for reflections of ourself. Our identity is intrinsically tied to how others view us. By reaching out into the virtual community, like tiny babies with our selfie photo's, it's as if to say to the world, "I exist. Do you see me? Who am I?"
Self portraits have been around since we had the ability to make a mark. The reflection in the pond so-to-speak has been an obsession for humanity since the beginning.
Decorating ourselves, tattoos, jewelry, hair styles, clothing all pointed to a larger self…one that fit into a certain group with beliefs, traditions, spirituality and morals. Since we no longer have those tight-knit family networks, our identity seems to be floating in the eternal, ethereal abyss. We are hoping someone, something (aliens?) will see us and look us in the eye.
I do have those close relationships, but as an artist, I find my time is often spent alone, diving into the internal abyss and I come out looking for acknowledgement. To be known and seen. Perhaps this is all our hearts longing.
Here's a little exercise: An Artistic spin on selfies!
We have all heard of mandala's right? They are littered in every colouring book and baby photo. It's a bit excessive. But before they got hyper popular, they were a meditative practice in Buddhism representing the ideal form of the universe. Making one was an act of transformation.
Here are some suggested questions one could ask as you are looking for ways to make a self-portrait mandala.
I'm sure there are so many other ideas that pop into your head as you read these. Let this exercise be a meditative one. As you lay down, surrounded by these good intentions, let your thoughts rest on them for a few minutes. Close you're eyes and feel the newness and change wash over you. I look forward to making more good, growing, intentional self-portraits!