The first Presentation of The Project was on July 28. The meeting room was set up with the painting 52 Portrait Heads in the center. The photographic collage of those not painted was also displayed. The Power Point of each painted portrait and some anecdotes about the person was projected. There were books of this blog on a table. A list of conceptual words were posted. The moveable magnetic photos were on an easel. The free-standing totem was on the floor. The song Dust in the Wind played in the room through surround sound speakers. Attendees explored this for about a half hour.
I then spoke about concepts and process. This was followed by 8 of the people who helped create the piece speaking about their contributions and experiences. The audience enthusiastically participated with comments and questions. There was additional time to explore the piece. People did so with more interest following The Presentation. Even though the subject of MORTALITY was ever present, there was a genuine interest and camaraderie facilitated by good spirits and much humor.
A video was created and will be posted soon. This is the 7th component of The Project and will be looped at future presentations.
I believe that even more people were touched!
140 people allowed me to take their photograph for this Project. I used 52 of those photos as references to make the oil portraits in the painting component of this piece. I used the remaining 88 to make the photo/collage component.
I was a computer novice when I began. Cara helped me start this blog. Her Dad, Steve, then took over my computer education.
Steve also worked with me to mount the 88 photographs. He made the Power Point and contributed in designing the support for the totem of photos. He spent innumerable hours thinking and advising about so many other aspects of this piece as well.
Judy was my expert framer. She was also an active follower of this blog and contributed by giving me encouragement and thoughtful incite.
Alan cut the tiles (with Steve) on which I painted the 52 portraits. He also created the tools that allowed me to attach the paintings to the back board with ease and accuracy. He advised on adhesives and found the metal company to cut the 52 pieces for the interactive component piece. Steve and Alan brainstormed to design the support for the totem of photos. Then Alan built the support. Alan was also a regular reader/contributor of this blog.
Gary was my cheerleader at home. He brainstormed with me to come up with the idea of having a presentation at LVCC. He also helped me on the Rockefeller
Center photo shoot. He is the primary video photographer for the first presentation.
Paula was the first to initiate a photo shoot. By allowing me to come to her office at UNICEF headquarters in Manhattan, I got my first shots of people from around the world. She is responsible for designing the technique for recording release forms so that I could easily determine the names of my subjects. She also was a regular reader and responder to this blog.
Linda was the first of my friends to volunteer to help me on a public photo shoot. She accompanied me on the first outdoor shoot which was in front of the Museum of Modern Art (NY).
Sylvia read about this shoot on the blog and came out to help. She raked in the subjects as Linda got the release forms signed. I then took the photos.
Cheryl accompanied me to John Jay Park on a quest to photograph children. Many of them were with caretakers. We found enough who were with their parents to take a great many useful photos.
Eileen and I went to Union Square Park on a fabulous spring day. Our specific aims were to find a redhead and “interesting looking” others. We were extremely successful and had a most unique day!
So many others read the blog and commented either in person or electronically. Many visited my studios. Their contributions added incite and expanded the conceptual aspects of The Project!
I planned to paint one portrait a week for a year on a 5”X5” board from photographs I took of a diverse group of people. These would be put together to form a single painting. The photos that I did not use to paint from would become a separate piece.
I had many concepts/ideas/expectations when I began but anticipated much evolution as time passed and work progressed. I planned to document the progress of this piece. I hoped to achieve a degree of intimacy and understanding of my subjects as well as to involve many in the creation of ART. The lists of words that expanded as I worked are the CONCEPTS of this piece.
The very first evolution was the switch from the written journal to the electronic blog. This enabled many more people to be INCLUDED. I received advice and opinions about every aspect of this piece as a result of blogging. The books I made from the blog are another component of the piece.
I arranged the 52 cameo tiles in a particular composition. I “signed” the piece with my self-portrait at age 16 in the lower right hand corner. In order to involve more people in the PROCESS of creating a composition, I made a movable magnetic component from the 52 photos I used as references.
A photograph makes a flat image appear three-dimensional. I create the illusion of three-dimensionality with paint. The portrait tiles are raised from the back board.
They enter our space. I created the totem component made from the 52 photographs I used in order to have them actually stand in our space thus making them more real.
These individuals are more three-dimensional to me as a result of having studied their likeness as I painted. I know each person’s name. Even though we may have only spoken for a few minutes, I recall many things about each meeting. The Power Point component allows the viewer to experience these people. It makes them more real as well as less MORTAL.
I shot the first photographs at a meeting in Manhattan on August 9. 2009. We cut the tiles in Alan’s wood shop on August 19, 2009. I began a self-portrait on August 24 and the actual painting routine in September.
On August 10, 2010 I announced that the paintings were completed on this blog.
The mounting of the 52 tiles and all the other components were worked on through July, 2011.
The PRESENTATION which will be the 7th component is on July 28, 2011.
I staged public photo shoots at UNICEF headquarters in Manhattan, The Museum of Modern Art, the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree, John Jay Park and Union Square Park. While I sometimes had specific goals in mind, my aim was always diversity.
I also took photos of people at other times. I honor those who helped me and who wished to have their portrait painted by painting them. It should be noted that several contributors opted out of this.
I also photographed people in Southeast Asia, California and Florida.
I enjoy the painting PROCESS. It is solitary TIME. The thrill of seeing a painting grow is my reward.
I also relish the TIME spent with others as I created with them. As more became interested in this collective effort, The Project gained and I became more excited about it. I enjoyed this so much that I am now in the process of beginning a new PROJECT. www.walktogetherproject.wordpress.com
It was TIME for me to move out of the studio and into the world.
52 Portrait Heads is a Project about working with and painting people.
It is about TIME. I painted one portrait a week for a year. A photograph freezes time.
It is about MORTALITY. I paint a portrait which further freezes the moment. Several volunteers verbalized their desire to be painted as a vehicle to immortalization. People who are younger were more consciously interested in FAME. Fame leads to immortality.
It is about INCLUSION and COLLABORATION. In an effort to understand and connect with people I would probably never have met, I moved out of the studio. I brought others with me who also connected with these people. I painted images of these people and in the PROCESS connected further. This blog also connected people and so forth and so on.
It is about PROCESS. Few individuals with whom I worked collectively are artists and yet they were enthusiastically involved in creating this art Project.
The Presentation furthers this process of inclusion.
Future showings further all the CONCEPTS!
There have been no posts for a while because the Project is almost finished. I am currently fine tuning the first Presentation scheduled for July 28 in Lords Valley, PA at 7:30 PM.
A first audience will interact with the various components of the piece. I will then present a brief (and I hope entertaining) ”explanation” of the concepts and the evolution of The Project. This will be followed by comments and anecdotes by many of the people who helped in various capacities. The audience will be invited to comment and question. Since this is an inclusive Project, some of the input from the group might be added to the next Presentation. The video of this evening will be shown at future Presentations. (52 PORTRAIT HEADS will be shown again in its entirety within the year. I will post that information here as soon as it is finalized.)
…and I am still constructing several components! Yesterday Alan, Steve and I spent time in Alan’s wood shop designing and building the structure that will support the photo/totem. I then brought it back to my studio to sand and paint. I could NEVER have done this without their expertise. THANK you both again for your willing participation AND contagious enthusiasm!!!
I am also waiting for a call from a local sheet metal business. Alan helped contact them and explain what I need to construct the interactive piece. I am waiting for them to cut 52 small pieces as a special order.
…and Steve has been at work creating the Power Point about each of the people whose portrait I painted. Thank you yet again!!!
This is all most AMAZING! The willingness of so many people to get involved, contribute and make this HAPPEN has allowed me to achieve my vision. I look forward to sharing it with YOU.
52 Portrait Heads has immortalized another person.
On May 1, 2011 my mother-in law, Sylvia Moss, passed away. Her memory and her painted portrait live on.
…and, of course, this is the painting component. The 52 tiles are slightly raised from the backboard. The entire piece is framed.
The collage of the other 88 photographs is still at the framer’s. The PowerPoint and the script for the First Presentation is being created. There will be 8 panel members on July 28, 2011. The Presentation will be videoed.
Ronnie Seiden-Moss, 4/22/11
…and the NEW Project: www.walktogetherproject.wordpress.com
This is the participatory component. The 52 reference photos are in magnetic frames. Viewers of the entire Project are invited to rearrange them to create their own compositions on a magnetic board.
This is the Totem of Photos component. I used these photographs to paint 52 Portrait Heads.
I have just created the blog for my new Project:Walk Together. You can read about it at: www.walktogetherproject.wordpress.com I look forward to your contributions and support…thanks!
I continue to work on components of 52 Portrait Heads as well.