George Condo, Symbiotic Fear, 2020 © George Condo

Family Saturday at Home: On Portraits

This ‘Family Saturday at Home’ takes its inspiration from the online exhibition ‘George Condo. Drawings for Distanced Figures.’

Join our popular Family Saturdays from the comfort of home with a new series of creative, hands-on activities to enjoy together with your children. These are aimed at 6+ but can be easily adapted and guided for younger children. For this session, we will focus on portraits.

About George Condo ‘I think the whole act of making art has nothing to do with the medium within which you work... You can paint, draw, write, etc. but the act itself always remains the same.’ – George Condo George Condo was born in 1957 and lives and works in New York. He is known for his significant contribution to contemporary American painting. For over forty years, he has worked in painting, drawing, sculpture and printmaking. Condo applies both technical skill and his art historical knowledge to produce original images that merge art history with contemporary culture. Most of Condo’s paintings are portraits, not of living individuals but of invented characters, captured in ways that reveal the humanity inherent in their fractured psychological states. Condo collapses hierarchies, between painting and drawing, the beautiful and the grotesque, and the comic and the tragic. Artificial Realism is the term used by Condo to describe some of his paintings. ‘Picasso painted a violin from four different perspectives at one time,’ Condo said. ‘I do the same with psychological states.’ You can find out more about George Condo here.

George Condo in his studio with his work ‘Linear Contact’, 2020

George Condo, Parallel Lives, 2020 © George Condo

You will need:

  • Paper scraps

  • Scissors or a scalpel

  • Glue stick

  • Magazines or newspapers

  • Coloured crayons, pastels, pencils, pens or paint

  • Mirror

Activity 1 Make a photomontage portrait

  • Find some old magazines or newspapers

  • Look for portraits, collect as many as you can

  • Select one large face and cut it out. Stick it onto a piece of paper

  • Cut out different features: eyes, nose, mouth, ears, hair

  • Stick your different features onto the face to make a portrait of mixed emotions and appearances

Activity 2 Make a psychological portrait George Condo said that in Cubism, artists like Picasso captured the same subject from many different viewpoints. For Condo, a number of different emotions can take place in a single portrait.

  • Write down as many different emotions that you can think of, such as confused, delighted, excited; think of at least 7

  • Look in a mirror and practice making an expression to fit each emotion

  • Take each emotion at a time and make a line drawing of your face

  • Repeat this, 6 more times for each emotion but draw each new drawing over the top of your previous ones

  • Use a thick black pen to go over some of the lines of each drawing

  • Do you want add colour? You may want to paint your psychological portrait, if so, use bright colours like Condo!

Activity 3 Make a fractured drawing

  • Close your eyes and draw shapes on a piece of paper without taking your pen or pencil off the page

  • Open your eyes; what forms can you see in the overlapping shapes?

  • Turn your overlapping forms into faces and people, animals, plants, buildings, etc.

  • Colour-in some of the shapes with bright colours

Activity 2, make a psychological portrait

Activity 3, make a fractured drawing

We would love to see what you create! Can you photograph your artwork or ask someone to help you? Here are two easy ways to share your artwork with us:

For more activities related to George Condo and portraits visit: Tate Gallery: Make Pop Art like Andy Warhol National Portrait Gallery: Young People's Guide to Self-Portraiture BBC: How to Draw a Portrait

Family Saturdays have been a popular monthly event at Hauser & Wirth Somerset and Hauser & Wirth Los Angeles. As we embark on our new shared reality, our education team will continue to create activities connected to our exhibitions and artists – encouraging practical hands-on tasks and imaginative narratives to enjoy together as a family.