‘Painting’ Personal Portraits in Media
To Create Unique Perspectives On Lives
Are personal legacy portraits really about art, and do we need an artist? On a daily basis our high tech world may seem a gigantic endless mass of mostly uninteresting information, facts and figures of little real value to us much of the time. Indeed only a rare combination of musical notes makes for a great song, or a rare combination of thoughts comprise a great idea. So we revere and admire highly crafted poetry and prose, as well as art, music and literature. But what about the lives of people – are lengthy biographies the best, most efficient and personal, way to capture and communicate to others who these folks are or were? The same applies to resumes, personal profiles, picture albums and much else – that is useful but limited in its application and role. So are any of these forms likely to capture the overall essence of a person in an easily accessible comprehensive form?
Perhaps, but only if the reader or observer is interested in a long story or lots of details, facts and factors, good and bad – in the form of mostly solid information, chronically and thoughtfully organized . Surely these forms are seldom the modern equivalent of the great portraits on canvas of past persons of fame and power where the artist sought to capture their essence and soul. Today, with modern technology and media in hand we have another way to go, the artistically crafted personal legacy portrait as a way to capture and communicate who we are to others. But who is to create such a thing, and is it easy to do?
When the equivalent of a De Vinci or Van Gogh is on hand to do the deed we have a ready answer, but when we try to capture the essence of a life by crystallizing and distilling what is most important in a personal legacy portrait ourselves, we may hit the artist’s wall. Lots of good material, many good ideas, but how to put it all together in a well crafted attractive piece? Frustration and even despair often face the artist; the more gifted they are the more likely they are to experience the highly charged emotional journey of trying to say or do something really creative and unique.
The good news is that life is a dynamic ever changing journey, and so is the essence of the story of any life. The personal legacy portrait we seek should ultimately be a piece of personal art – painted in words, pictures, sound and video. But it is unlikely to achieve that mark in its first version or iteration, that comes later. The problem you see is that the object we are seeking does not yet exist anywhere, but only pretends to be accessible in a large number of disorganized scattered bits and pieces – photo albums, letters, videos and all the rest. So why should we expect that all of this can come together in a meaningful fashion quickly and easily. The personal legacy we are seeking is at present like the thousands of unassembled pieces in a jigsaw puzzle, except in this case there is no photo or schematic to follow. This is where the role of the artist or creator comes in – you or someone who helps you.
In the role art plays in our lives the artist herself or himself is on center stage. In their careers they evolve from Beginner to Novice, to Journeyman, to Craftsman, to Master and ultimately to Artist – as the highest achievement in any human endeavor. The art work they (and we) create is mostly of modest value, but on rare occasion a poet like Wordsworth writes a poem like Daffodils or a musician like Tchaikovsky composes his Piano Concerto or a painter like Van Gogh paints his Self Portrait. The same is likely to hold with personal legacy portraits of ordinary folks or even the most famous. We should expect little else. The difference here is that a personal legacy portrait is indeed something very personal, and if done right of very great value to the individual and to his or her family, friends and admirers.
So we have a choice to keep it plain and simple as in homemade, or to let it evolve into something we are really proud of. In the latter case we may want to seek a little professional help from a gifted ‘Personal Portrait Artist’. Such a person must be endowed in many ways including but not limited to:
- Creative writing..
- Photo and Video editing.
- Layout and design
- Story telling
Working together with such an artist is ultimately one of the best ways to go. The only question is: should one give it a go on ones own first and try to assemble the information and draft an initial version alone before seeking the help of a master or should one work with an expert right from the start. In either case the journey is more than worth the price of admission as the process of creating a personal legacy portrait is of enormous personal value in and of itself. You get to review, remember and bring together a whole lot that may at first seem vague and distant and to put it all in perspective as a unified impression of a life – carefully tailored to communicate and earn the interest and praise of others.
Yes, we all have the opportunity to present ourselves and our lives in a meaningful, interesting and artistic way. If we take the time to bless ourselves and our past in this way we have a fun journey in front of us with a cherished prize to attain. Should we get help in doing so? That is strictly up to us.