Self-Portrait Made Out of Q-tips

I’m currently in the process of applying to a digital design program, and as part of the lengthy application, I had to make a self-portrait. Not just any self-portrait, though. I had to make a self-portrait without using any standard art supplies. No painting, drawing, photography, clay, pastels, or any of that allowed!

I’ve only ever done a self-portrait ONCE and that was pencil when I was 15. It’s been 13 years, in case you were wondering. In fact, until two weeks ago, I absolutely loathed the idea of self-portraits. (Those are for narcissists and lazy artists who can’t think of a good subject!)

I figured if I was going to do this, I might as well

do something unique. I’ve admired portraits out of screws. QR codes, and crayons. Except that all those would have been more expensive and large scale than I was willing to deal with for this application. Plus, they’d all been done before.

So finally, I settled on… Q-tips! I chose to dye them with food products I consume to keep with the theme of avoiding art supplies and also to give it an extra personal touch.

What it took:

Over 2500 q-tips

Chocolate, chai concentrate, cinnamon, ginger, sangria, strawberries, tomato soup, and apple juice

Floral foam

Clear packing tape to hold the foam in place


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