Knowing how to draw does not make me an artist. Technique is a tool that may be used to create art but depending solely on technical skill would be a missed opportunity. I came to this realisation, going through my schooling striving to reach this level of technical skill, thinking that would make me an artist. I finally reached that goal and saw that there’s so much more to art-making.
These portraits were, for me, not "art", they were the execution of a technique, an almost mechanic exercise in copying a photograph, something that has taken me quite a few years to master, but nonetheless an acquired skill. I sought to create an example of a preconceived notion of "art", which in my opinion wasn't art, and only in assuming that, did they become art. This concept developed into an interaction with the subjects of their portraits that goes further than accepting the drawings at face-value. Each portrait took an average of five hours, 100 hours to finish all nineteen. But does the time spent executing the work validate its quality and art status?
My subjects were put to the test, I told them to destroy not only a work of "art" but an image of themselves. This revealed more about me and the participants than the drawings themselves, the outcome making a deeper connection to the person than merely seeing a look-alike drawing. Yes, as portraits they showcased my drawing abilities, but as an artist I starved for more. The artefacts that resulted are even more visually engaging and conceptually layered than the unaltered portraits since they revealed more of who the person is than how the person is.