portrait by mark nilsson
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.

12 responses to “portrait”

  1. heather says:

    very cool

  2. Ayama says:

    ;D for th cbf!! One has been told I have s stare that kills :D is it wrong to say it makes me proud?

  3. cindy says:

    i don’t know about your eyes & mouth being too small for your face and all that other stuff cause i think you’re a pretty girl. i love the painting with all it’s textures and can’t imagine sitting there for an hour. that was a feat in itself!

  4. Jesse says:

    Ha! I have chronic bitch face too :) But I love the portrait; it might not look like a photograph of you, but there’s a thoughtful expression and a poise to it.

  5. jackie says:

    I saw this morning but was busy getting my ass ready for work…I love that you did this!!! o agree with jesse’s assessment. but I don’t know what you are talking about with the bitch face. or I should say I’ve never seen it in person. i have chronic sneer face. now I have to check out your links.

  6. Regina says:

    I love it! He is fearless with the paint ( I could take a lesson from that). I may have to get one myself!

  7. fran says:

    its so expressive. I really like this alot.

  8. Aimee says:

    it’s awesome!

  9. la ninja says:

    embracing cbf condition ;)

  10. melinda says:

    Hey now.
    AWESOME portrait.
    CBF sounds like a terrible misinterpretation of “Strong Beautiful Woman Face”?

  11. Carina says:

    Hooray for chronic bitch-face! (Me too!)

    And yay for a beautiful souvenir with a cool story!

  12. Chandler says:

    I also have chronic bitch face. I like to tell myself it keeps the annoying people away, and filters through to the folks nice enough to see past my CBF.

    Love the portrait! Beautiful color scheme—it’ll be a nice bright spot, come winter.

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