An indirect self portrait is a portrait of you without directly showing yourself. It can be a collection of objects that have special meaning to you, and even some part of your image hidden amongst them. Some artists choose a part of themselves like hands or feet.
Frida Kahlo made many self-portraits…
This is one of her indirect self-portraits. She only chose to show her feet alongside this more personal imagery. It’s just as much a reflection of herself as the ones of her face!
Van Gogh chose objects that were personal to him. Things he used everyday like his pipe and matches or letters. Writing letters was a huge part of his daily life.
Many historians think that there is a self-portrait in the skull (left side) in this still life by Picasso.
Examples of indirect self-portraits just using personal objects…
“ Each thing represents something important to me. The notebook-my love for writing, the necklace-my love for dressing up, the crayons-my love of color and being carefree enough to color with crayons, the Prima bottles-my love of scrapbooking, my passport-my love of travel, and the guitar pick-my love for music and remembering my cousin, who gave it to me.”- by a college student.
High school and college indirect self-portraits in pencil. They chose things that they wear like glasses and hats as well as things that they use often like video games… Both artists also included things from their childhood- stuffed toys and figurines.
Indirect Self-portraits with part of the artist visible…
These artists used reflections to include themselves in the image.
Think about objects that represent you. What objects could stand-in for the many parts of who you are? They can be serious, whimsical, things you wear, objects you use all the time ,things you would take with you if you were stranded on a desert island… Make a list! Will you include a hand? A reflection? A shadow? How can this still life become YOU?