Before There Were Selfies, There Were Crayon Self-Portraits

I recently discovered a box of old schoolwork from my childhood. It was full of things that I don’t remember keeping at the time, but am now ticked that I did. There were old book reports from grade school, handouts to help me learn my “times tables” (that’s “multiplication” for you millennials out there), and lined sheets of cursive handwriting.

But the best thing about that box of old schoolwork were the countless drawings I made when I was a kid. I’m not sure if I did these drawings for school, or just for fun. But one thing is for certain: I was a weird kid.

I found a series of crayon self-portraits. Or as I like to call them, “selfie origin stories.” I don’t remember drawing any of these, so I don’t know if I made them from memory, or if I drew them while I was staring at myself in a mirror. But I suspect I was drawing myself as I imagined myself. And I imagined myself in a lot of ways. 

So allow me to present my groundbreaking 1970s series, “Self-Portraits of an Artist at 4 Years Old.”

Here I am as a bald kid who loves hitchhiking.

I also invented rapper’s Grillz, apparently.

Here I am imaging myself as a pony-tailed (accurate) pig-nosed (not accurate) girl with a snaggletooth (jury’s still out on this one). 

That, or I had just watched one of my favorite Twilight Zone episodes.

I do appreciate my willingness to work in mixed mediums. I was still using crayons, but also now incorporating some construction paper and a paper plate. 

Speaking of mixed mediums, here’s a self-portrait that featured some early collage work.

Am I imagining who I am, or who I want to be? I have no idea. And if I’m being honest, I still don’t know who I am or who I want to be. That’s art!

Here I am in my Goth phase having just tattooed my nipples blue. 

Spoiler: this one is oddly accurate. 

And here I am letting you all know here I am. 

I see that I was still rocking the goth phase and my obvious love of LSD.

Speaking of LSD…

I have flowers for hands. FLOWERS FOR HANDS!

Now this next one isn’t a self-portrait per se, but I wanted to include it. 

Jack on the Box? I was into some metaphysical shit when I was four. I suppose it’s true what they say: all work and no play makes Jess draw surreal crayon drawings.

I’ll end with maybe one of my favorite crayon self-portraits from my “Minimalist period.”

Nailed it.

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