Have Your Portrait Painted via Webcam with Telportraiture

Getting a portrait of yourself painted has, traditionally, been a pretty arduous process. Meet the artist, strike the right pose (I always go, as I’m sure many others do as well, for a garden gnome tucked under one arm and boxer briefs worn over a pair of denim capris) then sit and wait endlessly while the painting is worked on. Well, the digital age looks to be changing the possibilities of portraiture, making it both more affordable and comfortable through the efforts of one determined artist’s Kickstarter campaign.

Janet Bruesselbach, the artist in question, has just launched Teleportraiture, an ongoing project that looks to redefine how we think of the portrait. Each piece is created through video software that allows Bruesselbach to capture her subject without requiring two people to share a single geographic location. Teleportraiture is meant to be something of a statement on intimacy in the modern world, Bruesselbach commenting on portraiture’s nature as an art based on “the intimacy generated during the interaction between painter and subject.” By removing the usual, immediately physical aspect of the process, these portraits will “examine the strange intimacy and charged emotions around communicating remotely, by making the archaic oil portraiture tradition site-unspecific and international in a way that, if anything, makes it more personalized.” The end result will be a series of 20 to 30 portraits, several recordings of painting sessions and an eventual show at a New York City exhibition space.

Sound exciting? I think so. Blending old methods with current technology in such an immediate manner is seriously interesting and worthy of attention. Better yet, those who pledge enough money to the Kickstarter campaign can actually be one of the subjects in Bruesselbach’s series.

Painting portraits, even digitally, still takes a certain amount of money but, as mentioned above, Teleportraiture provides one of the most intriguing incentives for donation to date. The most notable benchmarks are set above $50. From this point upward, contributers to Teleportraiture are able to either sit for a portrait painting that goes into the show and/or receive a framed and shipped copy of the end result. Certain tiers give access to videos of the other creative sessions or reward invitations to the exhibition. There are many other, less expensive rewards designed to allow for a peek into the process as well, smaller donations allowing entry to Google+ chat sessions during a painting.

Bruesselbach will use the generated funds for painting supplies (like oils, frames and canvas), studio and exhibition space rental, promotion, printing and more. A detailed breakdown of every cost can be viewed on Kickstarter, showing exactly where each dollar is headed for people that have issues with trusting others.

Bruesselbach’s work is impressive and well worth checking out. Luckily there are many different ways to do just that: head over to her official website, Tumblr page or, well, the Telportraiture Kickstarter to see examples of some of the artist’s past work (and some samples from the portrait series to date). If you like it, you may also like donating! Teleportraiture will be funded on Wednesday, October 12 at 8.00pm EST if its goal (of $5,000) is reached on time.