Lawrence Michel

Lawrence Michel
Face Me
RTKL Designer, Date of hire: Jan 9, 2012
January-March 2013

Artist Statement

This is a series of portraits I created of myself for each day of the year. On August 10th, 2011 I drew the first one to simply update my Facebook profile picture. Not satisfied with the result, the next day I set out to create a better one; one with more expression and better use of light. On August 11th I drew the second self-portrait of the series and upon completion I felt the need to improve and resolved to try again. At the end of the week I had completed 7 portraits and was quite pleased with the resulting progress.

At the time of its origin I was feeling creatively starved, both professionally and artistically; fearful that the many skills and techniques I had developed over the years would begin to atrophy. Seeing the progress of the first week of self-portraits was rewarding and I began posting them online and received feedback which motivated me to continue to draw.  After about 3 weeks, I resolved to continue this project for an entire year.

At times the scope of the project seemed daunting, but I chose not to focus on the project as a whole, instead just taking it one day at a time. I enjoy being challenged and at this time in my life it filled that void.

I used a variety of techniques to achieve each portrait. Some began as free-hand sketches, some were done in front of a mirror and others were based off of photos. They were then digitized and refined to varying degrees using software. Most important was the result of each piece, not the underlying process.

When approaching my self-portrait of the day I aimed to keep myself from falling in a pattern. Certain days like Day 217 were about developing my painting hand. Some were an emotional outlet for dealing with issues like my grandmothers death on Day 194 or understanding my autistic brother on Day 18. It was important to me not to force these more personal pieces but rather to let them come when they may and be as honest in them as my skill would allow.

When the project ended on August 10th, 2012, I had a total of 368 pieces, gaining days from leap year and miscalculated numbers of days in some months.