Two Sides of Myself

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  • Click on image to enlarge

    Photo: Stephen Pitkin/Pitkin Studio
  • Click on image to enlarge

    Photo: Stephen Pitkin/Pitkin Studio
1970s
Front: Marker, Glitter, acrylic, glue, pencil, on Plexiglas Back: Marker on Plexiglas
16 x 14.5 inches

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Description: 

Luster Willis was an accomplished portraitist who had sketched faces since childhood and went on to paint and carve likenesses both real and imagined, funny and serious.

Luster Willis was an accomplished portraitist who had sketched faces since childhood and went on to paint and carve likenesses both real and imagined, funny and serious. He viewed portraiture as a vehicle for gaining insight, stating, "I think I can see things and feel them with my imagination, then sketch them on a piece of paper. I think it helps me to understand people."" Willis's double- sided self-portrait on Plexiglas illustrates one solution to the problem of communicating this insight as he shows two different sides of himself on either side of the transparent surface. On one side, Willis portrays himself with a lighthearted expression and a glittering, jazzy costume. On the reverse of this image, using the same outline, Willis shows his more somber side, with darker variations of the same colors and the absence of glitter. Gone also are the wide eyes and big smile, replaced by a pensive, almost sorrowful, expression.