Soupbone Collective

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Artist’s note on the portraits

“Drawing a portrait is a funny experience when you’ve haven’t met the sitter in person.

Traditional to the art of portraiture, particularly with life drawing—think Sky Portrait Artist of the Year, or if you don’t know it, think a ‘live’ painting session where artists have the sitter in front of them—is knowing the ‘essence’ of the person you’re drawing or painting. You might gauge this through speaking mundane conversations with them, seeing how they laugh, where their eyes rest in moments of awkwardness.

I could blame coronavirus, but the truth is, we are also, geographically, continents apart.

As I drew, I found myself imagining what members are like in person: if they express themselves with profuse gestations, or whether they are still; if they might have enjoyed being drawn or perhaps hated it. Yet, as I continued, I felt closer to each person; it was so intimate. I came away from it thinking about how the ‘modern’ human’s increasing dependence on the digital realm to connect with people might deconstruct ‘presence’ and thus, in this case, the art of portraiture; how, without realising, we adapt our way of understanding someone’s personhood through methods other than an in-person presence: here-ness.

To our excitement, Soupbone has flourished since its beginnings in 2019, predominantly online. I feel these portraits are a celebration of a community that, by existing, explores how the internet can bring such strikingly talented people, beautiful conversations and thoughts together.”

—Melissa Frateantonio | 11.10.20