Rotating self-portrait by the artist Nadar, 1865
“I paint self-portraits because I am so often alone, because I am the person I know best.” — Frida Kahlo
Why do people make self-portraits? Frida Kahlo, a famous self-portraitist, gives one reason. Here are some others:
- Convenience: A self-portrait uses the subject that’s always at hand: the artist. (Of course, they became more practical when affordable mirrors hit the market.)
- Money: When hiring a model isn’t an option.
- Fun: Don’t tell us these artists didn’t get a kick out of hiding themselves in paintings.
- Introspection: As Kahlo suggested, painting oneself is a way of investigating the person you know best. It’s also an opportunity to say something more.
- Empowerment: A self-portrait is a way of celebrating oneself and holding up the version of yourself you want the world to see — especially if you don’t see people like you in the art canon.
In an age in which we keep both a mirror and a phone in our pockets, the self-portrait is more popular than ever. To celebrate National Selfie Day today, we’re sharing some of our favorite blog posts about self-portraits. Read the posts below and see why you think these self portraits were painted, photographed, and collaged:
Cake, oil, by Lizzy Lunday. Winner of the Oerth Kirstein Award for Best in Show in “Op-Ed.” (Read the Q&A here)
To and Fro, mixed media, by Fierce Sonia. Winner of the Anne Banks Collage Award. (Read the Q&A here)
What are some of your favorite self-portraits? Why do you think they were created? Let us know in the comments!