Self Portrait

Looking at the photograph of myself side-by-side with my hand-drawn self portrait, it is pretty easy to see some major differences.  The most obvious example is that the photograph is an example of realism whereas the drawing is much more abstracted.  The photograph shows me as I appear in nature; to a neutral observer I am nothing more than a young man in his 20’s with hazel eyes and some five o’clock shadow.  On the other hand, my self portrait is a much more abstracted version of myself that uses symbols to describe my personality rather than my general characteristics.  My self portrait offers no hint as to my heritage, nor does it provide any clues as to my age, eye color, or any other facial features.  When my self portrait is positioned directly next to my photograph there are extremely few details that hint at these images being the same person.

Despite all of the differences, there are a few similarities in the images.  The most obvious is that the hair color in both photographs is brown, which is one of a few examples of realism in my self portrait.  When creating my self portrait I felt inclined to keep the general shape of the head intact even though I was attempting to abstract my personality through it.  In staying true to the form of my head, a few more similarities come through the photograph and the drawing.  I would say my hair and eyebrows are pretty accurate to the photograph in terms of general shape (despite the eyebrows being a symbol in the self portrait-discussed below).  Outside of these minor details, and perhaps a hint of a smile in both images, the similarities in these images are few and far between.

Whereas the photograph of me is well defined in terms of my appearance, the self portrait is a little more unclear.  I purposely chose to utilize a lot of symbols in order to describe myself as a person, rather than just showing my outer appearance as the photo does.  Starting at the top and working down, there is evidence of my brain hidden by my hair (may need to look closely).  This was purposely done to symbolize that I don’t always show my thoughts openly.  I am most definitely a Type-A personality where I am always thinking, but I do not always say what I am thinking.  This is not to say I am not an open person, but that will be discussed a little later on.

Next, I chose to use police tape for my eyebrows for a few reasons.  First off, police tape always attracts a lot of attention, which my eyebrows have done since I was little.  However, going a little deeper than that I have also found that some people tend to see my eyebrows, form judgments about me, and then skip ever getting to know me.  I purposely crossed out the word “Not” in “Do not cross” because I myself would prefer people talk to me before thinking that they know me, but I have found that is not always the case.  Granted, for those many people who have crossed through the tape and befriended me, they become locked in my eyes.  The magnifying glass in my left eye simply symbolizes how I really like to get to know the people in my life so that I know how to interact with them and help them deal with any problems they may have.  In my right eye I chose a map that says “You are here” with the “X” behind people representing me in relation to select people in my life. For my family and closest friends, I always try to put them first and consider the consequences of my decisions on them before proceeding.  I always want to be there to help my friends or family should they need someone to talk to, which is what my left ear also symbolizes.  The combination of my ears symbolizes that I unfortunately have selective hearing.  When something is important to me I give it full attention and do my best to be a good listener (i.e. problems in the lives of close friends, important advice/details, etc…), but in other cases I oftentimes have an ear like a brick wall where I won’t hear anything (which translates to my memory working the same way).

Moving down to the nose, I included a sign that says “Future” to symbolize that I am future oriented. I like to try to plan out a few steps in advance without completely ignoring today, but I know that I am always thinking about what comes next.  Finally, my mouth is a zipper, which symbolizes my progression of knowing anyone.  I am always quiet when I first meet a new person because I need to feel out the situation and get comfortable.  However, as I get more and more comfortable we can see the zipper get more and more open, and eventually it’s impossible to keep me quiet.

Looking back at the photograph, there is much less symbolism shown mostly because the photograph really only gives us the face value (no pun intended).  However, there are a few things that could be taken as symbolic representations of myself.  The slight hint at a smile describes my personality quite well.  I tend to be a happy person, or at least try to be.  Whenever I am not feeling happy I can usually still hide it (my retail background may have contributed to that), and I never want to be a downer.  The only other feature that I would also consider potentially symbolic would be my left (right in the photo) eyebrow being a little frayed at the end.  I would say this is a symbol of disorganization, which I can often times have problems with.  I have days where I get very scatterbrained and would lose my head if it wasn’t attached, but I usually pull myself together.  Otherwise, my photograph does not seem to have many tell tale signs of who I am as a person; I leave that to my self portrait.

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