My One for One (141) Project is an attempt to paint a portrait of each of my friends who have created a portrait of me.
Having artists as friends is a rare privilege in life. Some people don't know a single photographer, painter or musician. When you have artistic friends it's easy to take it for granted. My wife once said to me, "I forget that most people don't have drawings and paintings of themselves." This project is also a way to celebrate the artists I know.
The 141 Project came about over a conversation with a coworker about image ownership. If you create a seminal image of a person that becomes an essential part of their persona, what part of the image is yours? The "Hope" poster of President Barack Obama is an example. During the discussion it occurred to me that my friend Kenna Klosterman had taken a photo of me that I never credited her for — yet used all over the place. The image of me spread into social media profile pictures, and was even made into an emoji in Slack (the corporate chat software used at a work). In short, it became an artifact of my identity for many people — yet nobody knew that Kenna made the image.
Out of gratitude, I listed out everyone that had created a portrait of me. The list was short. I could return the favor and paint a portrait of everyone on that list.
I've decided on a few rules to give structure to the project. Unfortunately, these decisions keep some great artists and friends off my list. Rules:
- The portrait has to be created specifically for me. It can't be, say, a "photograph everybody at the party" portrait.
- The portrait has to be created for the sole purpose of capturing my portrait. So a portrait of me taken to illustrate a concept for a class doesn't count.
- It has to be a portrait of only me. For example it can't be a "funny moment" with somebody else.
In no particular order, here is my working (ongoing) list:
- Kenna Klosterman
- Dana Underwood
- Casey Cosley
- Russ Andes