Call me old fashioned, call me overprotective, but I’m a little weird about having my daughter’s face all over the internet. I’m sure I don’t need to tell you that the internet, while a wonderful and amazing resource, can be quite creepy.
If there’s anything that I’ve learned from the “Collaborations” post going viral is that nothing is sacred. People are free to say and do anything from behind the protective shield of a computer screen. And they do.
I am reminded of an installation piece by Iraqi artist Wafaa Bilal, who lived in a room for a month with an internet-controlled paint gun. Anyone at all could log on and shoot him, with no repercussions, no consequences. And they did. A LOT. SO much so that he was haunted and traumatized by it. As this article states, “…when people no longer fear reprisal from their actions then they will become monsters with little regard for other human beings.”
So if I’m so protective of her, why post anything at all about my daughter? Simply put: she is an enormous part of my life. I know the things I do with and for her are things another mother or father might like to know, or might feel better for having read. People can be nasty, and while I’m a big girl and can handle it, I feel there’s no real reason (other than the fact that she is, in fact, super adorable) to show her face. Cropping and sideshots, folks. That’s just how it goes.
But since my artistic likenesses aren’t exactly photorealistic, I feel fairly comfortable sharing a painting I did of her. My first one of her, actually–and it was pretty intimidating. Photos rarely capture someone’s personality, and I find with portraits, I will sometimes paint it as closely as I can to the photo, and yet there is something always missing: the personality, which (unless you know the person) is difficult to grasp and (even if you do know them) is difficult to separate from.
One time, my daughter told me she wanted a “gown” to play dressup, so we got some pink thing (a dress? A nightgown?) at my friend’s vintage clothing sale for $3. At the time, her kid-drawings were nothing more than circles with faces, and lines for arms and legs. She called them “monsters,” so I recreated them in acrylic in the background.
When she saw the final piece, she looked for a minute with a critical eye and said, “…is that me?”
“Yes,” I said.
“Is that mine drawings?”
“Yes,” I said. “I put them on the painting. Do you like it?”
She paused for a long time. “I think it is beautiful.” She said.
And that’s pretty cool.