The Self and Portrait Project

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I was selected to create work for Window on Art in Corvallis, Oregon. My collaborator, Katrina Henry, and I created a participation based art project that enticed the community to not only join in on the conversation, but become part of the final artwork as well.

Project Description:

A stark and seemingly empty space will fill up over time as viewers choose to interact, participate, and develop an art installation. TheSelf and Portrait Project is about perspective, conversation, and community. By engaging an audience through self reflection questions we hope to ignite a simultaneous inner and outer dialog. By asking personal questions in a public space we aim to widen perspectives and encourage a different and hopefully deeper thought process. Perhaps the audience will not only think in terms of self, but also in terms of other.  By being interaction and participation based we strive to inspire connection and conversation on several levels, including artist to viewer, viewer to art, viewer to self, viewer to viewer, stranger to stranger, and citizen to city. While viewers interact and become participants and art makers they also become art objects. Each participant will be asked to stand and be photographed by us. A piece of each participant will make up a whole portrait that will come to represent the city of Corvallis.

Grab a pen. Write ONE WORD to describe yourself. Tape paper to the window so we can see your answer.




Grab a pen. Write ONE WORD you think others would use to describe you. Tape your answer to the window so we can see it.




Stand on the “X” and face the camera. We’ll take your portrait.









The Shoe Piece

a close up of a painting on the backs of shoes

painting on the bottom of shoes a close up of a painting on the backs of shoes

So, this is another piece that is in the works–It is as hard as I thought it would be! But, I think when I am finished with it in a few months it will look awesome.

This piece involves not only significant strangers, but a significant event. For this project as a whole I am attempting to use events that have occurred both before I was born and also during my lifetime in order to communicate the idea that the past has set up the world we live in today and we (as a collective whole) are, everyday, setting up the world future generations will reside in.

Photography has always been a significant art form and practice for me. I chose a particular photograph I remember being powerful for me the first time I saw it when I was younger. It was taken as Elizabeth Eckford entered Little Rock Central High in Arkansas in 1957.

painting on the bottom of shoes

I decided to use this photograph as my subject matter for my shoe piece. What I mean by “shoe piece” is I am painting on the bottoms of shoes that have been worn down by various individuals. I hope to conceptually deliver the message of “take a walk in my shoes.” Like most of my work this piece is about perspective and attempting to show the connections we all share.

Mary Kann

a black and white painting of a woman on a chair on postcards
Mary (a portrait of a woman painted on postcards sent to her)

I wanted to add a few other images to give you all an idea of what I have been working on lately. This piece started with buying about 250 postcards from ebay. Upon receiving them I noticed they were all addressed to the same woman, Mary Kann. I preceded to ask the nice gentleman who sold me these postcards if he had an image of this woman so that I could join the two (the woman and the postcards) together.

I am so happy to report that he did and I have successfully combined Mary Kann with her postcards and developed another piece for my Significant Stranger Project. There is a front and back to this installation, but I am only showing you the front. The back is all the written text that Mary received, mainly from her daughter Dot, over several decades. I plan on showing it as a free standing sculpture that may be seen from all sides.

detail of a black and white portrait painting of a woman
Detail of Mary

Enjoy the images. It’s still in the working phases, but you can get an idea of where I am going with this particular piece. I am working on about three more at the moment and will keep you updated as the time passes.

Again, I am always looking for volunteers, so if you are a stranger, which most of you out there are (to me), check out my post entitled New Art Project #1 to get more details.

Thanks again! Lauren