I know why the world is smiling
Smiling so tenderly
It hears the same old story
Through all eternity
(Petula Clark - "This is my song")
The composition of this image is mainly symmetrical since the main element is a vinyl record. In the center lies the vinyl sticker on which the self-portrait is visible. The self-portrait makes the composition slightly less balanced, because it is painted as if it were spinning, during playback.
The person's face is painted with intense, crusty textures, to suggest a poor physical condition. I point out the intense suffering of the person with tears of blood, nasal bleeding and bloody lips. His eyes are entirely black, because I wanted to suggest he is suffering, he has deep emotional issues, that he feels empty on the inside. The needle arm, used for playback, leaves traces of blood on the disc. In this manner I point out the suffering caused by the passage of time, the song of life, and that life consists mostly of pain. Even the disc is cracked and broken.
Life is music
I chose music as the central theme for this self-portrait, because I want to remind people that "music is above all". Through music, a composer has direct access to the individual's senses, emotions and feelings. There are many people out there that think music makes their life bearable. I would say, it certainly does make life richer.
The vinyl has a circular shape and the music is often listened on repeat, both are cyclical in nature. These can be correlated with various aspects of life. The song or an entire album can be played again and again, whenever one choses to listen to the record, yet the disc and the needle wear out in time, with each playback. People often have repeated experiences. If what they experience repeatedly is something painful, it leads to a psychological and physical wear down. As time passes by, these reoccuring events will leave marks that will become increasingly more prominent on the person. At some point, a vinyl can become unusable and unrecoverable, if it is not properly taken care of or it is over-used. A person can cease to function properly as well, that is, have a psychological or physical breakdown. One must avoid too much exertion and to take care of himself or herself.
The four symbols
In the corners of the image there are four symbols meant to suggest the main existential concerns of the person in the picture or the musical themes of the vinyl. The first symbol is a standard printing character that represents a generic monetary unit. The second symbol is a heart, representing the love theme. The third symbol is a combination between the symbol typically used in Islam and the cross specific to Christianity. I made a combination of the two symbols, because there is no standard symbol for spirituality or faith, in general. I wanted to avoid choosing a particular symbol such as Atheism, Christianity, Buddhism or another one, because it would not have been representative for the person I painted. Finally, the fourth symbol is a standard symbol for accessibility and people with disabilities.
The colors are mostly warm and vivid. Red tones are predominant, because they imply blood, passion and suffering. The entire image has rough and coarse textures, especially in the background of the disc. With this I emphasize once again the difficult existence of the person I portrayed.