A little creative “duet” inspired by Amanda Charchian’s collaboration with Getty Museum and Jamie Beck’s #IsolationCreation.

During isolation, I thought why not create a collaborative series with cross disciplinary art applied to self portraits taken by my friends. Just something we can all look back and appreciate the fun and creativity during such an unusual time in our lives. I wanted to make something memorable.

Initially, the brief consisted of self-portraits photographed on iphones (above) and still are but as Duet grew I reached out to a few female artists that work with dslr and analogue (below respectively). 

Analogue takes time to photograph, develop, scan and essentially produce, its history dates back over 200 years since the first camera was built. The self-taught Anne Brigman photographed herself nude circa 1905 and was believed to be one of the first in the world. 

We tend to forget that it all started with analogue.

“Taking pictures is savoring life intensely, every hundredth of a second.”
Marc Riboud

a work in progress...

Read about my process


I experimented with acrylic which didn’t have the consistency I was looking for. Initially, I knew oil pastel would be the best way to create a rough and yet playful crayon texture. What’s amazing is that you don’t need an expensive professional artist oil pastel. Although the best ones are thought to be Sennelier or La Maison du Pastel used by the likes of Degas, Vincent van goh and Picasso. 

I chose Pentel’s oil pastel (inexpensive and wonderful to work with) which brought back so many memories growing up in Asia. Every time I use it, I can hear the pitter-patter of heavy rain outside the porch during monsoon season. 

The illustration inspiration came from Henri Matisse’s artworks and Unconditional Magazine’s featured female artists such as Christiane Spangsberg, Rachael McCully Kerwick and Marina Cecilie Roné (referred below respectively). A mixture of line art and modernism with minimalistic contemporary shapes and colours. 

Since I moved to the UK, having a printshop nearby wasn’t as convenient so I decided to invest in a printer. Canon’s pixma series are one of my favourites and it’s economical in so many levels. Printing it in real-time & finding the right papers to create on was more than an euphoric feeling. 

So far, the best paper I found (paper quality and surface) is Canon’s A4 Matte Photo Paper (MP101) at 170gsm. It’s still on the smooth side for oil pastel but it’s definitely a more workable surface compared to gloss / luster.

As a creative, being isolated at home can be challenging without the physical interaction and/or a creative distraction. The idea of uploading nude self portraits can be incredibly daunting and uncomfortable. Hopefully this project provides a fun and interactive way to embrace our bodies during a time we are least connected.

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