Self-Portrait of the Artist

An untidy history of artists' representations of themselves in pretty much any form you can think of (painting & sculpture, poetry & prose, photo & film…) — updated every third day and open for suggestions.

Category: Cinema

The artist loves wood.

Lynch, David - Self-portrait 2012

Commenting on this self-portrait he produced in 2012 to raise funds for another documentary on himself (Lynch Three), David Lynch explained to the New York Times, last month: “It’s a portrait portraying my love of wood.”

As part of the same article (incidentally, on self-portraiture), the notoriously eclectic artist was commissioned a further self-portrait in a form of his choosing. He came up with the–“very Lynchean”–photo below.

Lynch, David - 2013

(Every self-portrait has a few fundamental questions at its core — What relationship does the artist-as-creator have with the artist-as-subject? Do the two find a balance? Or are they struggling against each other? And if they are, who is winning?)

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Animated self-portraits.

In 1989 animator David Ehrlich asked eighteen colleagues to produce a twenty-second animation each representing themselves.

The directors are, in the order, Sally Cruikshank, David Ehrlich himself, Candy Kugel, Bill Plympton, Maureen Selwood (from the U.S.A.); Mati Kütt, Riho Unt, Priit Pärn, Hardi Volmer (Estonia, then U.S.S.R.); Jan Švankmajer, Pavel Koutský, Jiří Barta (Czechoslovakia); Bordo Dovnikovic, Joško Marušić, Dušan Vukotić, Nikola Majdak (Yugoslavia); and Kihachiro Kawamoto, Renzo Kinoshita and the “father of manga” Osamu Tezuka (Japan).

To me, it is particularly interesting how one can tell the shared features of each nationality.

Self-cameos.

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The brief cameos in his movies were no doubt his most celebrated form of self-portrayal — but Alfred Hitchock also liked to add to autographs this sketch of his unmistakable, and well-publicised, florid profile.

His cameos earned him a page on Wikipedia and they can be found, diligently collected as clips, here.

However, a new one seems to have been discovered recently forty-four minutes into North by Northwest (1959), and though still somewhat debated, it is certainly appetising:

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Hitchcock cameo 1Hitchcock cameo 2