Self Portrait 5; The Artist as an illusion

11 Jan

Self-Portrait 5; The artist as illusion

The initial intention with this image was to create a Picassoesque picture in which both side and frontal views were perceptible as a single but coherent figure.


Pablo Picasso, Head of a woman 1960. Metropolitan Museum NY. Picasso presents both full and profile views in a flattened simplified version of early cubist works to present simultaneous viewpoints.

I have yet to come anywhere close to the art of distortion such as that used by Picasso, Francis Bacon and others. Perhaps I am still too close to the original image. This is something to work upon. I have, however inadvertently created a figure-and-ground illusion in which it is difficult to hold the two images in the eye at the same time.


Roger Shepherd.

The picture by Roger Shepherd (2) illustrates this nicely – do you see a woman partially obscured by a candlestick or two women looking at each other? (More on this at  ). I find it fascinating that even though I created the collage, I still find it difficult to see one whilst looking at the other.

What strikes me about this portrait, this illusion, is that it is become a mask. The thing about a mask is that it disguises you, it hides you, it is not a window, but a wall. Behind it you may become something else – a demon, an animal or a God. In art everything is distorted, if only in bringing the 3D onto a two dimensional plane. Much of what I do in this series is accidental, and perhaps that is the way it should be. I know what I want to do, not necessarily how I did it, or even if I did it at all.

There is an element in this picture of the kiss of Judas.

5 Responses to “Self Portrait 5; The Artist as an illusion”

  1. Playamart - Zeebra Designs January 11, 2014 at 5:22 pm #

    wow!  it’s my good fortune to be awake at a late hour and catch this while the slow internet will open the images!  double wow!  

    i love this post!



    • Xraypics January 11, 2014 at 5:30 pm #

      Thankyou so much Lisa. Hey it’s good to hear from you again, glad your internet is working, and pleased you like this. Tony

  2. leecleland January 11, 2014 at 7:14 pm #

    Oh yes, yes this is clever, a very strong image. It took me a while but I can see both faces, just not at once as you said. Both sides of the image appear to have a hood over the hair made by the X-ray (?) which makes me think of Scott of the Antarctic and/or Robin Hood. I think the facial expression helps there. Like a chameleon you, the artist, are hidden from us, you hope to blend in and yet with that strong gaze you draw us in, but there is nothing to find

    • Xraypics January 11, 2014 at 8:07 pm #

      Great observation Lee, the ribs do look like a cowl on the left. I didn;t see that nor made the association before. Thankyou. Tony

  3. Carolyn November 17, 2014 at 8:50 am #

    I love the mask analogy. We all wear masks- emotionally or socially. Penetrating the veils can be quite disturbing. This is a great biographical portrait Tony. Thank you for sharing it.

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