Great Yarmouth teacher making an impact in the art world with unusual ‘selfie’
09:50 18 February 2014
Â© GB Fine Art Photography
A Great Yarmouth teacher is making a name for herself in the art world after her innovative ‘selfie’ went on show at the National Portrait Gallery.
Androulla Michaels, fine art and photography teacher at East Norfolk Sixth Form in Gorleston, had her work screened live at the London gallery as part of a one-off debate, entitled ‘the Curated Ego: What makes a good selfie?’ During the show Ms Michaels’ work captured the eye of influential curator Kathleen Soriano, director of exhibitions at the Royal Academy, who took to Twitter to “favourite” one of her unusual self portraits.
“The work gained a great response, but at the end of the night the cherry on the cake was when my work was favourited by Kathleen Soriano,” said Ms Michaels, 29.
“Since then, the work has also been acknowledged by Saatchie Online and the National Open Art Exhibition.
“I have also been approached by the gallery Highwaymans, in Bury St Edmunds, to showcase my first solo exhibition based on this project.” Ms Michaels’ works chosen for the National Portrait Gallery were from a recent project called Internal Landscape. They are part of a collection of innovative self portraits created by combining paintings with what she calls “cameraless photography”.
Ms Michaels doesn’t reveal exactly how the self-portrait’s were created, but said it involved close up images of make-up removal swabs.
“Each evening I have to remove my make-up before I feel clean and ready to go to sleep,” she said.
“One evening whilst performing this ritual, quite by coincidence, I noticed how each swab appeared to contain a world within itself. Each had a smudged painterly aspect but more poetically could be said to contain an abstract transcription of the day’s residues.”
The artist, raised by a Greek Orthadox family in Yarmouth, has worked at ENSF for eight years. The students, she said, give her inspiration every day.
“Being in an art environment where I am surrounded each day by mature, dedicated and fresh talented students not only gives me pleasure to share my own skills and knowledge with them, but allows both the students and I to bounce ideas and newly discovered art techniques and approaches between each other as though we are at art school.
“And this inspirational energy that is created as a class together naturally feeds into both the students artwork and mine.
Following the success at the National Portrait Gallery, she is entering her work into this year’s Royal Academy Summer Exhibition.