Monday, July 8, 2013

Portrait Project - 2 years later

It has been two years since the Portrait Project trip that took 17 days through 7 countries and 10 cities allowed me to meet over 120 people whom I drew, got to know (at least ten of whom I am still in touch with).

The guiding question that led me to undertake this journey was: how do we meet "hard-to-meet" people? That is, how do we meet the interesting people that rarely have the time to make it to a Couchsurfing meetup at a pub--the people we have 0.01% chance of striking up a conversation in a Metro? Or even in our own town?

The answer to my question was: take your talent and share it with another person in a public, open-ended space. Do this in such as way that your interaction creates something, like a sort of spiritual shared experience.

My talent is drawing. I've drawn since my youth, and even moonlighted as an illustrator for a time. Being self-taught, art gives me few boundaries or rules, and though my autodidact technique is often left wanting, in many ways this has brought me freedom.

So, I decided to use drawing to break the barrier (and reconstruct the bridge) between people in ways that alcohol and parties cannot. Drawing allowed me to make "events" out of my visits and it gave me an excuse to meet people and to allow them to champion an art project come to their part of the world. Drawing was the value-added "social glue" that proved to people that I wanted to have a different kind of experience with them, in their city.

Drawing in an on-demand, on-site, guerrila fashion gave me humility and showed me that human exchange seems innocent, yet carries a huge responsibility (of feedback, sharing, of stewardship of the human image). It proved to me that any artistic venture must consider the audience, and that representative art is as interactive as partner dancing. The fact of putting something on paper makes the link between artist and model (and situation) stronger than a photograph, and the consent given to this exchange is one not entered into lightly. This tour showed me that people consider the artist highly, almost to the point of wanting the artist to explain the world and all of its unknowns.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Mini Portrait Project in July 2011 UPDATED

I am going on the road once more for two mini PP trips:

(updated 13:44 24/7/2011)

Paris, FR: 23-26 july 
(in tandem with the big Paris Couchsurfing meeting)

SUNDAY 24 july 18h00-21h00
Cafe Contrescarpe, 57 rue Lacepède, 5ème. Tél: 01 43 36 82 88

MONDAY 25 july 13h00-??
During the CS Picnic de Jour, Champ de Mars


Sardinia, IT: 29 july - 2 august
(in tandem with Here I Stay music festival)

Around the festival grounds in  Pozzo Gal / Arbus / Sardinia


Email me to setup a special PP event in one of these locales.

PP featured in Italian art/music blog, SOUPmagazine

Thanks Marianna Rossi for a great writeup of the Portrait Project in SOUPmag that gives a good peek into the life of a traveling art on the road...questioning and connection.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Paris, France images (June 12-14, 2011)

The Paris portraits are online! Thank you, Sitters 56 thru 65, you know who you are!

Things I won't forget about this trip: chatting about drawing, audio documentaries and lost love at Café Culture Rapide, street fair in Belleville with fabulous Brazilian tranny,  nocturnal catacombs, riding bikes across Paris in the rain at 4am, drawing in front of Shakespeare & Co....

Now only 9 more cities to go.....

Here's what I listen to while I scan:

Couchsurfing love

The Portrait Project and I were featured this morning in the Couch Surfing "Surfers Making Waves" page.

This is great motivation for me to finish scanning and sending out those 60 portraits from the tour!

Thanks so much to Mars for the coverage of the project on the CS page. has been an uncannily good incubator for the idea of a randomized traveling art performance, and I don't think I would have been able to have such an interesting trajectory and sampling of models without CS.

Also a great reason to consider Tour #2---but I'm going to need some help. I need ideas for cities to go to, and I need a sponsor to underwrite my airfare and travel expenses.
Interested?  Ideas? Contact me.

Monday, June 27, 2011

PP in Bruxelles / Brussels, Belgium - 28 June, 2011

This is the last stop on the tour, and I'm hoping to reach 110 portraits by the end of it. Come see me before I go for a little portrait pause!

TUESDAY 28 June 2011
Le Cercle des Voyageurs
Rue des Grands Carmes, 18 - 1000 Bruxelles

100th portrait!!

I am proud to announce that at 21h00 today on June 26th in Antwerp Belgium I made my 100th portrait.

Thanks so much to all the models that have come before and all those to come...and to answer your questions, I am not stopping with 100.

I created the goal of 100 back in March after the PP concept proved to be viable, and originally set the time limit for the end of summer. Then before the tour started I decided I would aim for 100 before end of June.

Having met my goal I can coast a little bit in the last two days of my trip...tomorrow will be a little  taste of art and fashion in Antwerp coupled with drawing; and then the final day some comics and public sculpture and beers with friends in Brussels before I wake up at 5am the following day to catch my flight back to Marseille.

I have only two more drawing sessions left-- Antwerp on June 27 and Brussels on June 28....and then a long break getting back to the real world back home and repairing all that has become broken or torn during the voyages.

Happy to be spending the last leg in such a beautiful and vibrant place.