Prism: 7 Self-Portraits Reduced to One

This first image above is my creation and yet such an attribution of authorship and control is deceptive. Rather, this is an image that is a kind of averaging of 6 differently executed drawings, paintings and a photograph. Using Adobe Photoshop it was generated by the multiplication of the black values of seven layers of these approximately identically proportioned self-portrait studies.

I’m quite happy with the result, considering the purpose of the original 6 studies was to refresh myself on techniques after a three month break from art making and as quick project to compare the various modes of mark-making available at the most reduced of traditional applications.


  1. use a black and white reference photo
  2. print A3 size
  3. apply graphite to back of paper over contours and reference points of facial features
  4. transfer to substrate
  5. repeat as desired (6 times)
  6. execute the same image using different mediums and/or techniques of application (unsaturation is preferable or indeed actually necessary)
  7. photograph and open in photoshop
  8. superimpose, align and stack each artwork (including source photo, i.e 7 total) as a layer in the one document each equally set to multiply mode at 25-35% Fill (dependent on layer quantity and darkness)
  9. Flatten (finished)

I’m interested in the hidden complexity, the hybridised and confused ontology of the resultant image. It might just be coincidental, but last year I was spouting constantly in my Honours paper all about ‘the contemporary subject as a multiplied distributed self actualised by the role-play, self-presentation, networks and avatars of the virtual world of the internet’ (Sherry Turkle paraphrased). And here we have several different versions of myself, which rather ironically combine into a self-portrait that epitomises an elusive degree of quality I have sought for in the past with my drawing and have yet to achieve… though my goals have changed.