Workshop: portrait paining

As with previous projects I wanted to get hands on to develop an understanding of what it is I intend on creating for my outcome. Throughout unit 10 the focus has been largely on publications and their history (fashion or other) therefore I felt it appropriate to recreate a recent cover page using a more traditional art form – portraiture using acrylic. Art in this style dates back thousands of years and was particularly big within the Renaissance period. Pieces as iconic as the Mona Lisa and royal portraits have historically been produced in this style which I feel gives it a sense of great power and influence. The juxtaposition of old style painting and modernist fashion photography made for a refreshing outcome unique to anything I’d produced before.

I chose this cover in particular because I feel it’s the epitome of the ‘new vogue’ revolution in terms of layout. Although content on the front page hasn’t really evolved from those commissioned by former editor in chief Alexandra Shulman, the overall aesthetics have seen a truly appealing makeover. So far this has been my favourite. I love the simplicity, the fonts, the single image as the centre point. It’s elegant and sophisticated and while has feminine undertones, isn’t seemingly directed at one gender orientation or group. The attention to detail is impeccable with ever minor feature contributing to produce an overall outcome worthy of the glossy name.

The technique I used was really simple: paint over a photocopied image of the cover. I started using only white paint to remove the image from underneath and then begin reapplying colour to form the face. I love to paint so this independent workshop was really appealing for me.

I used three brush sizes and varied pressure with strokes for a wider field of depth and tone.

I feel as though I can’t take full credit for the outcome as there was already a completed image prior to painting however I thought that if I were to do it again I’d paint onto an acetate sheet rather than the image directly. Painting onto existing artworks can be interpreted in many ways. For Alexander Mcqueen’s RTW SS99 a decadent white dress was spray painted by mechanical arms in front of a live audience. The elaborate display was shocking yet thrilling to witness and has inspired many designs, artworks and installations since. Furthermore the reference to AI and interactive technologies has inflicted additional ideas centring the theme of futurism. The more I research other concepts, the more I find out how widely technology is actually replied upon for successful creation and am ever the more interested in future innovations within fashion.

I’m pleased with the outcome and have realised what I’d do differently to perhaps make the final piece more of my own doing.

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