In today’s age, it’s important for all of us to express ourselves as we are, but selfies can only go a certain way. After all, they do show people how we feel and look on the outside but often fail to capture in a single photo who we truly are. Maybe a simple photo isn’t enough to capture what a single human is all about, because we’re all much more than just one thing at a time.
It might feel like an unsolvable problem, but artists have had the solution to it for years now. It’s simple – self-portraits don’t have the same restrictions and limitations selfies do, and people have been using them throughout history as a form of self-expression.
There really is no rule to how a self-portrait needs to be, and many self-portraits are even abstract, with the artist attempting to capture their essence and their soul in swirls of vibrant color that they felt represented them best. It goes without saying that for many, making their self-portrait was a journey towards self-discovery, acceptance, and eventually self-love.
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It’s a known fact that many of the best artists of the world were troubled people who hardly had the best lives, and many turned to art as their only solace. Some of the best art pieces in the world were made in harsh times, but then there were many artists who were on a journey to spread a message and change how their marginalized communities were seen.
Many self-portraits reflect how artists view themselves, and not all have been leaning towards self-love. In certain pieces of art like many of Picasso’s self-portraits, it was relatively clear that he didn’t always have the best self-image, but times are changing.
A Chance to Express Yourself
You don’t need to be an artist to create a self-portrait – you can even have a custom portrait painting of yourself made with the help of one. These paintings might be hard and time consuming to make sometimes, but they’ll definitely do a better job of helping you express yourself better than a selfie ever would.
In fact, painting yourself as you see yourself is so popular now that even kids are encouraged to have a go at it, with workshops that help them choose the right tools to express themselves and create whimsical and colorful pieces of art. For the more mature person, a self-portrait might help you see yourself in a new light too. Think of it like this – maybe at some point along the way, you really grow to appreciate all the complexities and flaws and multitudes that make you, you.
Take a step beyond a simple depiction of your face, and show yourself doing something that you otherwise wouldn’t be able to, like a genuine laugh or a thoughtful expression on your face when you’re doing something you love. It can even be your chance to show people you mean business and are more than just a pretty face or a gentle soul, and self-portraits have been used by women throughout history for this very purpose.
Reclaim Your Heritage
For many people from marginalized communities this can be the perfect chance to reclaim their identities and paint themselves in their ancestral lands, engaging in traditions and ceremonies that are part of their culture, like a Pakistani-American citizen painting themselves celebrating Eid with their family in traditional outfits.
Who said it has to be just you in the portrait? If other people are an important part of your identity, or if there are certain activities that are important for you, you can include them in your portrait too. There really are no rules, and you don’t need to limit your imagination.
For many artists, self-portraits are a vital way of practicing their art and exploring new styles and mediums. Live models are expensive and can’t be accommodated in any art student’s budget, but artists have a convenient model in themselves who won’t even complain about how the final piece turned out.
This is why many artists have painted multiple self-portraits that are now used to appreciate their changing styles and the development in their art.
Journey to Self Love and Self Expression
By now you have a pretty clear idea of what self-portraits are, and painting them is a journey in and of itself. It can take you on the ride of your lifetime, and help you learn things about yourself and your heritage and history you wouldn’t have found otherwise. You’re truly made to question who you are, what the people in your life mean to you and how important your hobbies are, and maybe even the way your life is headed.
In the process of painting themselves, many artists have learned to appreciate who they are and where they come from, and the tiny things about them that make them unique. Not only will you better understand who you are, but you’ll also be able to show other people who would have never had this window to your soul otherwise.