Your Face Here 2006


Aurora 24"x36" oil on canvas



Chris Kile 24"x36" oil on casnvas



Derek Carlson 36"x48" oil on canvas



24"x36" oil on canvas



Dom Castelli 24"x36" oil on canvas



Elise 24"x36" oil on canvas



Isabelle 24"x36" oil on canvas



Jacob 24"x36" oil on canvas



Jenn 24"x36" oil on canvas



Jonathan Robert LeFrancois 36"x48" oil on canvas



Julie Paquet 36"x48" oil on canvas



Kevin 36"x48" oil on canvas



Mike Patten 24"x36" oil on canvas



Shorts 36"x48" oil on canvas



Shanna Cling 24"x36" oil on canvas





These are the people in your neighborhood. maybe.

A show of portraits, some from my open call project and some of people I needed to paint. Some are anonymous and some are legends in their own right. Curated by my top model Jessica Whitbread and hosted at Shampoo, the hair salon where she makes dreams come true, or tries to. For the open call I took out advertising inviting people to send me a photo to be painted; there were two rules: One. it had to be of them. Two. they could only send one picture. This was to give the subjects an editorial role in the work. I wanted to examine the possibility of creating a collaborative painting with only one set of hands. I also hoped that the process would reveal some insight into what motivates people to model for me. In spite of the rules, I got a lot of pictures of peoples girlfriends or children. I got emails with links to people's Flikr pages, with instructions to 'choose one'. I wondered if breaking the rules was their take on collaboration? In the end, I broke the rules and abandoned the project. I had promised to paint each and every one of them and I couldn't do it. I lost interest. I feel badly about this. The intimate relationship with my models is due to the trust they place in me by allowing me to use their image. We invest so much of our identity into our faces and I wonder about this privileged status of the face over, for example, the foot or hand. It is paradoxical in that you can never see your own face directly. The primary view of your face is privileged to others. Is that the advantage of being painted, this sort of seeing yourself through another's eyes? Is it more direct? Is it true? In this case, is this possibility usurped by the fact that these paintings are entirely from photographs? Or, is it that there is some sort of magical essence that is imbued or captured in the representation by way of an artist's loving touch? What happens when there is no love in that touch? When I conceived this project I was working full-time in my studio and feeling isolated. It was exciting to get emails from strangers. They were fulfilling a need for me with their hopes of my fulfilling a need for them. I can only speculate as to what their needs were: beautification, validation, a certain five minutes or whatever. As for the portraits that I needed to paint, they're compiled of people who, by way of a certain glint in their eye or poetry in their stance, compelled me to paint them.



Here's My Face

Kristi's new series is an adventure through the diverse world of cyber-space and those who play there. It is a medley of people we know and people we want to know. She took model participation to a new level, enticing models to send in photos showcasing the way they would like to be depicted. Who wouldn't love to star in one of her beautiful paintings? As Kristi's top model I found it a difficult, yet incredibly intoxicating process trying to find the right image for the project. I felt very empowered to be able to choose the way that she and everyone else would see me, and how I would hang on the wall. This feeling grew stronger when I helped co-curate the show with her. She tried to cut the piece I had chosen for the show, and I as reminded her, the show is supposed to reflect my vision as well as hers. It's an interesting balance between what the artist wants, and what the model wants to give. In this series there is a painting of a young man on a toilet seat with writing above his head. His eyes are young but his expression hopeless. This was a photo taken of my husband on our honeymoon in a shit-hole motel room in Oceanside, California. We had been fighting all day and my eyes were sore from crying. For whatever reason he sent her that photo. The photo, and now painting, depicts a vulnerability in him, and stirs emotions in me from that time and place. I know the stories that coincide with only a few of the paintings, and can only imagine some of the others. From innocent Myspace self-portraits to careless drunken blunders. From childhood summer trips, to best friends these painting are lovely portrayals of everyday life. Though I have to share the spotlight with a few others this time around, it is a great honor to once again be painted by this wonderful artist, my friend, Kristi Ropeleski


note: She cut my painting.