Friday, February 19, 2010


More from The Alchemy. Page scan, followed by text.

Observing that we liked to make costumes and create our own identities, my mother taught us a technique that became a revelation to us.

She unrolled a bit of one of her tall rolls of paper. She suggested that one of us lie down on the paper while the other outlined the shape with a marker. What we each had was a perfectly crude approximation of our own small figure.

The idea, my mother said, was to then make a 'Self Portrait' by filling in the shape with any version of our self that we chose or could imagine!

I'm in my late twenties now and the ideas behind these early exercises in creativity and improvision (sic) are used by me every day in my adult life. I realized that the self portrait project was a metaphor for teaching me to create my own life.

The outline is the situation that you are born into. But it is up to you to design it any way that you imagine!

We had to make choices and envision ideas. Then follow through on them. It wasn't just the finished project. It was the process of the problem solving that was the most fun for us.

Your ideas, actions and choices create your life. Your life is your self portrait. Which in turn shapes your identity.

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