March 18, 2023

Breaking Tradition: Innovative Approaches to Portrait Art

By Morkven

Tradition has always been an essential element in the art world. However, contemporary artists are breaking the norm and creating innovative approaches to portrait art. Artists are defying convention and challenging viewers to think about portraiture in new ways. Let us explore some of the innovative approaches to portrait art.

First, digital portraiture has been gaining popularity over the years. Digital art is created with digital tools like software, tablets, and computers. The process of creating digital portraits is fascinating as artists can adjust the color, form, or shape of the image quickly. Artists can create portraits that defy traditional conventions while showcasing collaboration between technology and art. With the rise of digital tools in portraiture, artists are freer to experiment with different styles and subjects that defy traditional portrait art.

Additionally, installation art has become a popular form of portraiture in the contemporary scene. Rather than capturing the subject in a single frame, installation art immerses the viewer in a complete sensory experience. Installation artworks can be created in different forms, such as sculptures or mixed media installations. The unique feature of installation art is that it incorporates space and environment into the portrait, engaging the viewer in an interactive way. For example, David Altmejd’s installation art manipulates the viewer’s experience by distorting the perception of reality in their living environment.

Another approach to portrait art is social commentary. Portrait art has the power to tell a story as it captures the essence of the subject in a single frame. Some artists leverage this by highlighting social injustices, stereotypes, or issues through their portraits. Often, social commentary portraiture deconstructs traditional patriarchal norms, eliminates stereotypes, and portrays the image of the subject powered by their identity or locality. Artists such as Kehinde Wiley challenge the traditional portraiture and transform the common subject into royals, aristocrats, even religious icons.

The rise of street art has also created another innovative approach to portraiture. Street art is an unconventional form of art that has evolved over time, incorporating varying materials like stickers, stencils, and spray paints for urban rejuvenations. Street artists paint portraits that are larger than life on public walls, telling stories and reflecting the diversity of the community. For instance, Shepard Fairey’s iconic Obama “Hope” poster depicts the former US president’s portrait in an unconventional style, igniting interest and curiosity among the public.

Moreover, multimedia abstract portraits have been on the rise in recent years. Multimedia portraits derive from an amalgam of visual elements and play with impressions, colors, and shapes. Visible, a multimedia artist, integrates digital media, traditional painting, and printmaking techniques in his portraits. Multimedia abstract portraiture allows for versatility and experimentation in art forms. It emphasizes the timeless, almost metaphysical aspects of the subject, and leaves an indelible impression on the viewer.

In conclusion, contemporary artists are breaking tradition and defying traditional approaches to the portrait art form. The digital portraiture, installation art, social commentary, street art, and multimedia abstract portraiture have created revolutionized avenues for artists to express their creativity. Portrait art no longer is just a representation of the subject in the image but emphasizes the story, connection and interpretation of the artist to the subject. The innovative approaches to portrait art have provided a platform for artists to experiment with new styles, techniques and approaches, giving rise to new art forms that challenge and inspire viewers.