The relationship between artist and subject/model goes back almost to mankind’s nascence. The advent of cell phones has made expectations veer off from a portrait’s purpose. This is especially true in regards to the public’s expectations.
The ability now of anyone, at any given time to whip out their phone and make a movie or take photos makes the casual viewer come to expect a work of art to lean towards hyper realism.
This defeats the purpose of art, exact visual reportage down to the smallest skin pore and one might as well just snap a photo. Portraits allow for multi layers of enjoyment and contemplation. Done right and they can be revisited, offering up new things with each viewing.
It is a matter of choice for every artist, but personally I always want my pieces to look like the subject. A commonality is that for every artist the dynamic with the subject. It is as if the artist is describing the subject but instead of words, utilized are the technique and style (voice) of the artist. I describe you, but my words are my own.
With portraits, the likeness is captured but so are psychological insights. Not only are the subject’s positioning and posing conjured up but present too are aspects of personality that do not come to the fore in photos unless blatantly apparent (i.e drunk, crying, laughing et al)
I always try to use subjects who are not professional models as I want the body language to be their own and not the expected or academic positioning. Ideally, subjects are people within my orbit, the added trust of knowing each other bolstering the organic conveyance of emotion, which is the ultimate goal for all my work.
Ganache 9×12 Watercolor & Multi Media Paper