PAINTING, PLAYING, PERSONAS: INSERTING CHANGE IN AN ESTABLISHED PAINTING PRACTICE
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This doctoral research project explores the impact and changes alternative identities —personas— and a play-based method have on my established painting practice while disentangling it from the belief that a single identity authentically makes a painting art. Its methodology provides a path to answering how using personas with 'play' within a painting practice form strategies meeting this project's aims. Three personas were created and applied across the first two stages of the studio inquiry using my painting practice's methods, including reiteration. In the third stage, continuing to paint independent of the personas, their impact and that of the infinite play method used and developed with them in this inquiry were assessed. Scholarly research on alternative identities, authenticity, naming, 'self-talk', and play was combined with phenomenological-based research methods of observation, reflection, and conversation and applied to the practices and paintings of other artists and mine. Information on how painters use alternative identities in their practices is fortified by this studio inquiry and the examples of contemporary visual artists Plinio Avila, Rubens Ghenov, and Caroline Kent. These artists demonstrate how alternative identities function uniquely in painters' practices and illuminate the benefits they bring while situating and differentiating my use of the personas in this project. Alternative identities enable painters via storytelling to occupy fictive spaces that grant freedom and expand their practices by shifting and changing modes of making and thought. The naming of alternative identities is significant in determining their stories, existence, function, and authenticity and situating them in the artist's practice. Painting with personas demands surrendering control, increased cognition of the artists' diverse roles, and awareness of the unseen. The connections made between the topics explored and the insight and findings revealed relative to scholarly and critical discourse and other artists' practices are its contribution to new knowledge.
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