#Artist Commissioning a Portrait – Why?

It is a strange decision, to commission someone else to do a portrait of your daughter, but sometimes you need a little distance from your subject.

Portrait Sketch - Arcylic Paint on Paper by Chris Erskine
Portrait Sketch – Acrylic Paint on Paper by Chris Erskine

Portraiture is a funny beast.  The artist has to compete with three potential images of the subject: self-image, family-image and stranger-image.

Self-image is that image we form of ourselves from looking into mirrors and at photographs.  This image is re-shaped by our internal thoughts and emotions.  For a portrait to be successful, we need to be able not only to see our physical self but our internal self as well.

Self-portrait - Lino Print on Paper
Self-portrait – Lino Print on Paper

The family-image is one that friends and family can recognize.  When people say that was a good photo of you, what they are really saying is that image captured not only your likeness but something of your internal spirit.

Portrait Sketch -Acrylic Paint on Board by Chris Erskine
Portrait Sketch – Acrylic Paint on Board by Chris Erskine

The stranger-image is one where someone who does not know you can still recognize you.  A passport photo will give you an accurate depiction of the person’s physical appearance but provides few clues about what the individual is really like.

Faced with these challenges, and the fact that it is my daughter, I decided that it would be best to have a commission done by one of my favourite artists – Hamilton Artist, Christina Sealey.

Christina Sealey is currently showing at the Nathaniel Hughson Art Gallery (http://nathanielhughsongallery.com), 27 John Street North, until Saturday, September 28, 2013.

You can also view her past work at: http://christinasealey.com

Published by Chris Erskine

Inspired by architecture and landscapes, my art explores our relationship to place, memory and identity. As a mid career artist, my art practice includes: painting, murals, short films, and sound art.

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