Crafting an Artistic 'Self'

Studio brief

A studio exploring identity in art practice, investigating strategies for representing the self in art including: creating alter egos/personae, telling personal truths, inventing histories and recording everyday activities.

The concept of identity as a dynamic relationship between self and society has taken precedence over the modernist notion of self-expression since the 1960s.

With a critical eye developed through the lenses of feminism, the sexual revolution, post-colonialism, queer politics and globalization, artists now examine identity as a socially constructed representation of self.

Often their art not only describes this condition, but also tries to formulate strategies to break out of confining representations. Many come from recent thinking in cultural studies, sociology, philosophy and psychology. In this studio we learn how to use these critical tools to negotiate new representations of self. Using art examples, identity may be viewed not as a confining social ‘label’, but as an open-ended questioning or de-limiting of the self, coming from an engagement with culture. 

Art themes and concepts taught:

  • self-portraiture/alter egos
  • autobiographical narratives
  • body art
  • identity politics
  • socially-engaged practice
  • theories of the self/identity 

In this studio, art students will demonstrate their ability to:

  • create and analyse a series of self-initiated, identity-based works
  • recognise and understand critical/theoretical frameworks of identity construction
  • use these frameworks to interpret their work and others orally and in writing 
Image credit Oriana Fox, Radical Makeover (2010)


Course Fine Art BA (Hons)
Tutors Oriana Fox
Mel Brimfield