‘Too Slutty?’ An Addendum on Facebook Portraiture

September 15, 2010 · Print This Article

I received a bit of feedback on last Monday’s post on Facebook portraiture that I thought I’d share here today. First was a stray observation made during an email exchange that Facebook has provided a great source for stock drunk girl imagery, if your work happens to be requiring that sort of thing at the moment. All I can say to that is, SO TRUE. And second, Enda O’Donoghue, an Irish artist who lives and works in Berlin, wrote me to tell me about the work that he’s been doing, which also draws from Facebook. O’Donoghue told me,

“I am an artist myself who has been using photos found on Facebook, Twitter pics, Flickr and various blogs as the starting point for my paintings. I make contact with each of the photographers behind the photos that I select to work with to ask for permission to use their photos. I have been compulsively collecting and cataloguing photographs found online for about 10 years I think. The photos that I have been working with most recently are most often the throw-away shots  which otherwise gather digital dust buried away on hard-drives, camera chips, mobile phones or uploaded and then lost or forgotten someplace on the Web.

Enda O'Donoghue, Too Slutty? (2010) Oil on Canvas, 140 x 170 cm.

“My process of painting is slow and methodical, firstly dissecting the image into sections on paper and then working over periods of weeks or months to reconstruct the image section by section as a painting, almost like a jigsaw puzzle that often doesn’t line up properly. For me it is interesting to take these very throw-away images and make the maybe pointless effort to trace the owner, contact them and seek permission then to spend the time and effort to paint these images often on quite on a large scale. Once completed I send images of the final painting back to the original photographers often to interesting results, such as here.”

Enda O'Donoghue. "I've found it.." (2010) Oil on Canvas, 130 x 100 cm.

What differentiates O’Donoghue’s paintings from the work I discussed on Monday, of course, is the fact that they don’t include the subject’s face.

Enda O'Donoghue. "In the Elevator" (2009) Oil on Canvas, 90 x 120 cm.

Here’s a link to an essay on O’Donoghue’s work written by Suzanne Trouve Feff. I thought it was fitting that Feff began her piece with the line: “Be careful the next time you post your pictures on Facebook, you could become a work of art.”