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This Is Pointless

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English 11: Philosophy
It’s All About You The Self-Portrait

The Assignment:

To create a mixed media self-portrait through which you reveal a “secret of your soul” -- an element of your identity such as a passion, a belief, a characteristic, or a value that you hold close to your “core” [or, in other words, that you believe plays a significant role in defining your true self].

Why a Self Portrait?

A self-portrait allows you to see your beauty, understand your shadows, and express your feelings and reflections. It is a powerful tool that can help you to understand yourself on a deeper level, ultimately promoting inner peace, change, and personal growth.

Where do I Start – and End?

Obviously, attempting to understand yourself is a process that necessitates an introspective journey.

• Begin by experimenting with some of the warm up techniques that are listed on the back of this page. These techniques should get you thinking in a reflective direction.

• Once you have completed some of the warm up activities, log on to Moodle, and review the “It’s All About You” PowerPoint posted there. It contains examples of self–portraits from various professional artists (along with, in many cases, their statements of intent); some instructional tips on art techniques, terms, and materials you might use to create your own work; and sample projects from previous years’ philosophy students .

• Draft your ideas, considering both the “soul secret” on which you plan to focus and the materials you might use in your execution; gather your materials; and create your portrait. Make sure to leave yourself enough time for experimentation and error – especially if you are delving into an area (of artistic execution) that is new to you.

• Finally, write a brief statement of intent (approximately one typewritten page) in which you explain both the meaning of your portrait (the secret) and include how you utilized artistic language/symbolism and different materials to communicate that meaning. You might consider dedicating a paragraph to each of these focal areas.

Warm Up Activities

1) Look through family photos and scrapbooks – which images jump out at you?
2) Read your old journals, diaries, and letters; review your certificates, awards, and keepsakes – do they allow you to examine yourself at different stages of your development?
3) Look at your planner – what does this say about how you live your life?
4) Examine your bedroom – determine what is important to you by what your “personal space” reveals
5) Journal or freewrite, using the following statements as prompts [as they apply to you]:

• What is your most painful moment? Your happiest moment?
• Are there any places you have visited that hold significant memories for you – or trigger emotional responses? What about songs?
• What do you value most – in life? In yourself? In others?
• What do you hope to discover when you’re older?
• What do you think often but seldom or never say?
• What do the books on your bookshelves say about you? The songs on your i-Pod?
• What is your most vivid childhood memory?
• What do you consider your greatest failure? Your greatest success?
• What experience[s] has changed your outlook on life – or shifted your values or beliefs?
• What do you hope to accomplish in your life?
• For what answers do you continually search or seek?
• Do you have a relationship with God – or a spiritual force in your life?
• What do you consider beautiful?
• What is your vision of an ideal day?
• Do you think imagination and fantasy are productive or destructive?…...

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