At our most recent Trailing Spouses' Art Group meeting Grace had set us the project of making a portrait of another member of the group. It was a follow up to a self portrait project where we had looked at themes of identity and sense of belonging as trailing spouses. This time, though, we would focus on strengthening our connection to another member of the group by making a portrait of them. As Grace said in her mail out "as a trailing spouse there can be a feeling of being in between things, in limbo, not being tied to something. One of the best ways to shake off that in between feeling is to make a connection. It may seem exhausting to put in so much effort for a place that is only temporary. But in this age of internet, no connection is temporary anymore."
Grace provided us with a questionnaire as a starting point for a portrait, picked randomly the person we would create a portrait for and gave us free reign to use whatever materials we chose.
Patty, who has recently relocated back to the States, said that she chose two aspects to portray me, the fact that I play the trumpet and that I write a blog. Her idea was to recreate a pixelated style portrait using rolled up slips of paper, printed with music manuscript and extracts from my blog posts. A dab of colour was added to each tip to depict the shadings and contours of a face.
A layered paper grid keeps the scrolls in place, a sense of order amongst the array of musical notation and words but then a dab of not quite neat colour on each scroll questions the sense of order again promised by the formal staves and fonts.
When you view it from the side it reveals a miniature landscape or city, the paper scrolls like towers. Like an invite to shrink yourself down and walk through it. As I enjoy walking through cities and urban spaces with a camera I like this idea of a place waiting to be discovered.
That the portrait doesn't work as a pixelated style image from above is more than fine for me. I don't tend to put photos of myself up on Facebook much or on my blog so I actually liked this ambiguous portrait derived from the photo on my twitter page.
Each of the tiny scrolls is around 3mm thick. I saw Patty at work at our last meeting deftly rolling each strip of paper with a quilling tool. The grid measures just 8 cm x 8 cm.
Thank you Patty for this portrait of me. Just the thing to remind me of you and our art group here in Bielefeld.