Selves in Spaces

 

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Another interesting way of doing self-portraits (or portraits generally, for that matter) is to focus on the home space, the studio space or the work space. The idea is earth-shatteringly simple: the places we inhabit most of the time contain a part of our essence and act like mirrors that reflect the bigger question of True Identity. For example, there are two places excluding work that I inhabit and feel like they reflect back at me my own identity. These places are overflowing with the “you” : the home, including my main studio (or creative work space) and what I call the Retreat (and a 2nd less used studio hidden in the bush)

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The Retreat is a hinterland block of forested acreage with an unusually designed abode that was built by a sculptor influenced by Spanish, Israeli and Moroccan architecture. It’s a place I one day hope to open up to young artists and writers to allow them a magical escape from the world we live in (and through), the world of the angry, lost, envious, egotistical, broken-hearted, shallow, unwell, cynical and misanthropic. This is the world we can all relate to and are actively part of. The world of depression, grief and loss, trauma and myriad forms of suffering. Ugliness too.

 

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So as a form of portraiture and as a form of journal-keeping,  you can consider certain spaces as self-reflecting. Within these spaces of architectural presence, some rooms correspond to the inner-most sense of self you can possess.

 

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Spaces are not what the real estate agent tells you they are, or what the bank uses to estimate your net worth. These spaces are the fundamental environment of your journey through the world. It takes time to stop and see them properly though. Just as it takes time to stop and see your Self after a self-portrait or a portrait by another. The unifying element is the worthiness of stopping and seeing. And appreciating.

 

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The studio

I’ve had many studios in my life, some huge, others a little cramped. Even though I now live in a biggish house, my studio feels small because of all the materials in it. Studios are great spaces as they are the workshop of the artist and are hopefully a place where authenticity and practical productivity meet. Here are some recent shots of mine. I’m lucky enough to have access to a second studio hidden away in bush land which is roomier but then lacks the intimacy of my home studio.