on monday, after i visited the willem de kooning retrospective at the museum of modern art, i had my portrait painted. the artist is mark nilsson, and he had a folding table set up on the sidewalk of 53rd street outside of moma with a sign that said $40. i circled the block while he finished up another customer, and then i sat down for an hour while he painted me. i was amazed at how easy it was to keep my head still… to maintain a gaze in one direction… and ignore the audience that would gather here and there. at one point, city surveyors were on both sides of us, taking their numbers/pictures with mark and i in the middle…
when the portrait was finished, mark found a box to to protect the painting as i carried it back to my hotel, as it was really wet and thick. an italian tourist peered into the box while i waited at a crosswalk, and she made a comment that made me think she thought i should be insulted by the likeness. my eyes and mouth may seem too small for my face, but that’s the way they are in real life. and yes, i have chronic bitch face. but for $40, i now have a portrait of myself. and i love it.
last night mark sent me a video that 2 film students made when he first started doing street portraits. you can watch it here.
update, october 2012: mark was featured in the new york times. article here.