Perfecting the Video Call Portrait

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Elisa Perez, a talented, Skype-loving painter takes portraits a step into the future. Her most recent project, called Screen Face, portrays people as they catch up with loved ones over Skype video calls.

“The idea for the project started while I was doing an Erasmus course in Brussels. Most contact with friends and family back in Spain was mainly via Skype,” says the artist. During these Skype-enabled conversations, she reflected on the many ways in which the Internet affected face-to-face interaction. From here, she launched her artistic endeavors—a process that included painting the portraits of those on “the other line,” and thereby representing a generation coming together through a computer screen.

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Unlike various social media platforms used to present “ideal lives” and “perfect selves,” Elisa’s portraits tap into a deeper, often unexplored sense of “reality.” Her paintings offer an intimate window into the lives and familiar surroundings of her subjects.

Interested in getting involved? Elisa’s process is pretty simple: just become a fan of her Facebook and make a request! Without any specific criteria in mind (other than a personal goal to get from 56 portraits to 100), she’ll pick her next character.

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Check out the video clip below, for a firsthand glance at how Elisa creates her pieces. Even while her subjects set about tackling other tasks—working, watching a movie, even just chatting with her—the Skype-enabled intimacy is apparent throughout the work.