I believe a self portrait should display a physical likeness as well as embody the personality of the artist. I decided to use my skills and experience with clay to build a sculpture that represents both of these aspects. While designing the sculpture I realized it would be crucial to hollow out the clay from the inside. By doing this I would be able to smooth out the clay platelets and strengthen the structure of the piece. During this process I encountered an unforeseen issue. As I cut in to the shoulder and neck the clay began to crumble due to a lack of consistency when being built.
It was from this error that my project was forced to evolve into something completely unexpected. My concern was that once finished the sculpture would not successfully stand on its own. I sculpted a hand which could be placed under the chin to help support the head. However, once fired the bust was able to stand un- aided and the crutch-hand was no longer
necessary. With some manipulation I was able to adjust the hand and evoke contrasting emotions. When the curled fingers of the hand were placed in front of the face, it appeared to be a curled fist of a fighter, and that’s exactly what I considered the process of this project to be. In fact, the traumatic notions pushed me to embrace the imperfections by using a crackle Raku glaze. This allowed smoke to filter through the cracks and exaggerate them further.
With The Fighter’s hand in place, I finished the piece with a sound component. From within the statue came a recording of bamboo breaking which I used to mimic the sound of glass cracking. As a learning experience it taught me that perseverance and unexpected evolution can often result in artwork taking on new and more personal meanings. My self portrait is as much about who I am as the journey it undertook.