We met as planed at the welcome institute. The same venue as we met a moth previously. We caught up on a range of activities we have been involved in over soup and sandwich. My anxiety, and trepidation was building while adam seemed really relaxed. I could not hold back any longer and said I’ve brought him the picture. Adam was interested but still relaxed. He took out the A1 cardboard tube and tried to get the roles paper, but suggested I took it out. As I did I mentioned that it is made at a point where I am experimenting with dark background. Adam took the edge of the paper closest to him and I unrolled it towards me. It became clear adam was surprised, nearly speechless. “I was not expecting this. Your message said you had ‘a picture for me, not a portrait of me’. I love it. I love the hand. I explained I had wanted to capture him in full flow and the dynamic background was right for this as he is always very committed and enthusiastic when in discussion.
I explained that it was Drawn out of the dark background with a cut and pointed eraser, then some shadows worked back in. He expressed how much this had worked for him through his amazement that he was looking at a large scale dramatic portrait of himself in a public restaurant. ‘I love the hand.”I was now relaxed and wanted to explain my motivation and approach: I did not draw the bird patterns on the shirt in detail but left them as an impression. He agreed again that this was good as sometimes drawings can be too fussy. ‘That eye is just right. I thought it was going to be a picture of something that related to our previous meeting. I’m so surprised I can’t quite take it in. ‘ as adam sat holding the edge of his portrait a broad smile of enjoyment, pleasure and a degree of wonder at seeing himself represented in this way on his face.
‘I didn’t realise you had taken a photo last time.’ I explained that this is a core part of the methodology that and ensured the portrait would reflect his character in a moment of expression rather in the posed portrait traditional a selfie. Adam agreed that this was much more realistic.
‘I recognise that swooping mark from the varnishing video on your Instagram feed. But I had no idea it was from a portrait of me.’ I described how I had printed a black and white version that was not wholly satisfying as the whites dominated. He agreed that whites can be overbearing as he had experienced with a white in white picture he had framed in white. It was only when he had put a line border in black that the picture was contextualised.
We looked at the outline on the print which performed a similar bordering device. The second colour of ‘litho stone, light brown, fleshy fawn’ had given the portrait an additional tonal quality appropriate to the overall flesh and portrait.
We stood up to get a wider view and Adam took a picture on his phone. I took a picture of adam taking a picture of his portrait.
A woman sitting nearby was interested and I invited her to look at the portrait while Adam shared his photo on their family WhatsApp. She was very impressed with the portrait of the guy she did not know, but could see in front of her. She asked if I had drawn it? She indicated that this was a good achievement.
We rolled the portrait up and put back in the tube for safe transport home to show the family. We talked more about art, media, writing, collaboration and filmmaking and families before heading off in separate directions. As we left each other Adam thanked me again and I expressed how much it was a pleasure that the surprise had worked out well. “later on his Instagram Adam shared how much he had enjoyed the gift: “One of the best presents I’ve ever had.”
Click to see the print process