Tuesday, August 09, 2011


Kickstarter approved my project!

Teleportraiture is a series of oil portraits painted through videochat. I am an accomplished portrait artist whose work has always been based around the intimacy generated during the interaction between painter and subject. The painting is artifact of a performance of relationship and conversation, mutual but asymmetrical observation. Often I describe things like the mirror effect where I have to put the expression on my face that my subject should have in the painting. The outcome is the result of a face moving through time, capturing a personality, and particularly a personality in interaction with my own.
I’ve grown up on the internet, and in the past few years interacting remotely in this same facial, visual and vocal way has become commonplace. In videochat, the mirror effect is more explicit, as you’re always able to see yourself as the other sees you. You find yourself having to alter your face from the way people look at computers to how they look at people – yet the portrait artist often looks at people the way people look at computers.
This project seeks to examine the strange intimacy and changed emotions around communicating remotely by making the archaic oil portraiture tradition site-unspecific and international in a way that, if anything, makes it more personalized. This differentiates it from the portrait-by-photo services made affordable by outsourcing. The ultimate images use the intermediary camera and compression to generate artifact artifacts. They are not supposed to look like they were done in person, but reflect their particular system of old and new technologies.
I have worked this way on two occasions: once with deep romance, and once with a complete stranger speaking another language, on chatroulette, where most other video screens showed penises. Thus this project examines the current trend toward erosion of online anonymity.
The donor structure is based around other donors being able to sit in and watch the process, and, with the permission of the subjects, will be recorded. Higher donations are given private sessions, and there’s plenty to be had if one is shy. A lower donation will allow posing without buying the painting. The intent is to continue to make these after the project funded through kickstarter is fulfilled.
I’m aiming to complete 20-30 paintings through this project and exhibit them. Guests will be able to attend the exhibit remotely.

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