Divas Girls Group - Creating a Digital (Self) Portrait

For the last five weeks the Diva’s at Regent Park Focus Arts Media Center have been working on “Creating a Digital (Self) Portrait” using Internet and Photoshop in a creative way, building some artistic and technical skills, learning about artists, photography and digital art.

Some faces …

The creation of a digital (Self) portrait consisted of taking digital portrait photographs, manipulating them in Photoshop, researching artist they like and choose a “face frame” for their portrait inspired by a painting, photograph or illustration that communicated in a unique way their personal idea of (future) self. The final digital composition was to express in a symbolic and/or more representational way their individual story or vision. The choice of images, colours, shapes, arrangement, manipulation, etc. had to be unique expression of how they see themselves, or tell a (personal) story that is meaningful to them, and/or anything else they would like to represent.

The Process

Examples of many digital artists’ works provoked passionate, controversial and inspirational thoughts and the girls learned ways of reading a story through visual elements discovering the potential of digital art as a tool of expression. These presentations included a variety of portraits, illustrations and abstract images and provoked some passionate discussions around the way beauty is portrayed in fashion magazines presenting false and unrealistic images or communicate controversial ideas, but also to communicate strong visual ideas about things that are important to them - love, relationships, friendship, family etc. Overall the Diva’s agreed that images are a very powerful tool to express ideas and how intriguing and successful (digital) art can be in telling a story, what different clues can be found in one work so that later every image they collected for their own portraits was meaningful and interesting in some way. It will be fair to say that there were struggles, creative, technical, personal, but that’s what the artistic process is and the Diva’s from Regent Park definitely got a taste of it! Some real talents created beautiful and inspiring self-portraits and most of the girls had the chance to try and learn a variety of Photoshop techniques that can be used not only for their portraits but also for creating posters, cards, cover pages for school assignments and many more. In every class the Diva’s had some worm up creative activities working in smaller groups. They included tasks like finding symbolic clues in a photograph, choose from different paint swatches of colour the colours that represent a specific feeling (love, fear, anger, etc.) and explain why they made this choices, find in Internet images that represent these feelings (love – a heart, a couple, mother and child, etc.), write a question for the group to answer individually related to their portrait theme as a game and share it in large group. Some of those activities were easier, others resulted more challenging, but they helped in directing their creative thinking in different ways. Most of the girls were shy sharing in large group but in individual conversations they shared some beautiful thoughts which served as inspiration for the portraits.

Work in progress ...

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