I was sitting on a balcony watching the sun set over Brooklyn. My host’s French roommate, an aspiring cook, challenged me to make another self portrait. For four years I nurtured an idea of a self portrait.

We are reflections of the people we spend time with. All the people I’ve loved, cared for, and who have cared for me have shaped me. I am me as much as them.

Self Portrait With Friends

Ink & Graphite, 2019

Of course, I would draw a self-portrait with over 160 people’s names embedded in it. Looking back I do see a through-line of collaboration. From my exquisite corpse drawings in art school to my activism.

There are very few achievements in my life that aren’t the product of a “we”. Me in 2019 is no different. These are the people I carry with me in big and small ways. These are the people who have loved me, cared for me, hurt me, been kind to me, been angry at me.

Becoming is a lifelong process, in this post I describe the story of how this self portrait, a snapshot of that process, came into being over 6 years.