Something I've come back to repeatedly in my drawing and painting is the self-portrait, and I am certainly not alone among artists when it comes to autoritratti. I think about this ritual a lot. Why a "self" portrait? Maybe the answers are obvious-- I'm a free (or at least cheap) and always available model. I (possibly like most artists) am obsessively self-absorbed. Am I a narcissist, or do I just want to know more about me? I hope the answer is the latter, but always fear it's the former. I don't like the way I look, but maybe it's that I like that I don't like the way I look, so I do like the way I look. (Critical thinking starts to fold in on itself here, and I often find myself getting nowhere).
Because I use a mirror to do self-portraits most of the time, my process is often present in the work-- a glimpse of a sketchbook, the scrutinizing posture, etc. This contextualizes the portrait as a part of art-making--is it me, or is it what I'm doing that I'm (we're) looking at?
My friend Chris Turbuck's entire body of work is essentially a self-portrait. His drawings and paintings and prints recall scenarios and events from his life. In the works Chris is vulnerable, naive, frustrated, self-flagellating, etc. Yet as the author of these pieces he is self-possessed, driven and conspicuously confident for his very depiction of his humiliations and embarassments. His narratives are of course also very entertaining.