#FACEYOURSELF @Peconic Community School

I was fortunate to set up #faceyourself, the programmable portrait machine, at Peconic Community School this past weekend. They hosted a Maker Fair and my 9 year-old daughter was entertained for a continuous four hour period. On her own, she constructed life-size cardboard sculptures, made glow-in-the-dark slime, played in a black light room, bought a turkey and cheese sandwich, explored mixed-media collage and made a no-sew skirt. Does a maker fair get any better than that? No, it doesn’t. This was the BEST maker fair because it was planned, organized and facilitated by a group of people who are genuinely passionate about empowering children. Props to Shannon Timoney, Sharon Cook, Miranda Milligan, Eileen DeCecco, Liz Casey-Searl and Kathryn Casey-Quigley.

I did not do all of these things that my daughter did. I wore florescent pink glasses with polka-dots and painted portraits of children and adults using the programmable portrait making machine. Here are some finished products of the paintings with their programmers.

If anyone out there has photos of the machine in action, I would LOVE to post them here so send them my way.

Are you curious about #faceyourself? If so, continue.

My friend, Joy Lai, introduced me to videos of the Face-O-Mat. It was built by artist, Tobias Gutmann as a portrait making machine. Tobias’ machine was created to comment on how we are obsessed with machines. The videos on his website inspired me to do something with my own twist.

I often struggle with feeling comfortable in my own skin. I dislike this feeling and so, I want others to see themselves as beautiful. So, I decided to put myself out there and draw people. This would force me to be myself and talk to strangers and just see what happens. This would allow me to create art that will, hopefully, help you SEE your natural beauty.

faceyourself

So I bought the largest box I could at the local shipping store, went home and made #faceyourself. This up-cycled cardboard box has interactive dials and switches and pom pom punch holes that allow you to program your portrait. The choices are:

COLOR or NEUTRAL
ABSTRACT > MINIMALIST or CUBIST
CONCRETE > NATURAL or ALTERED
and
HUMAN or ANIMAL or MYTHOLOGICAL

Basically, there are a number of different groupings you can create. Is anyone out there eager to take on an Algebraic equation to figure it out? It would be considered Algebra, right? You just let me know. I invite the guest to choose how they wish to be painted by talking them through all the dials, slides and pom pom holes. Then I stare at them. And observe. And paint. When I feel like I am done, I write a special message, sign and date it. Then I push the portrait through a slot while making old-school computer noises like “beep beep boop” and watch as people are excited, intrigued, or really disappointed. It is a humbling and fulfilling experience. You should make one too. Just ask Tobias first.

Look out for #faceyourself in your town. I accept invitations too!

Artfully,
MJ

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