6. Charles and Ray Eames


The heart of Design Thinking is found within the process of doing a self-portrait. It requires examining the main people, events, circumstances, etc. that have had a profound effect on who we are. This kind of examination reveals answers to questions such as why, and how. A self-portrait then is a visual symbolic representation of answers to those questions just as you are the literal personification of them. You are the product of the zeitgeist influences that have been a part of your life.


Create a Self-Portrait, which evokes an emotional response by telling a story about you. Do this with a chair.


  • Write down 5 personal traits/interests/beliefs that most people don’t know about you
  • Write down 3 locations that are special to you
  • Write down 2 things that are most inspiring to you
  • Write down the person you most admire or respect
  • From this entire list, decide which ones influence you the most in making you who you are. Those are the things that you will need to somehow represent in creating your self-portrait.

Find a chair that you can add to or modify. The chair you pick will have a definite influence on what you do, so choose carefully. In addition to what you already own, thrift stores and yard sales are possible sources to check out.

  • Pay attention to the style of the chair that you pick to start with.
  • Think about what the chair was designed for originally; comfort, work, bar stool, pool lounge, desk chair, dinner table, kitchen chair, child’s high chair, etc.
  • What material(s) is it made of. You may choose to either contrast these original chair materials or instead work with it.
  • You can alter the chair by substituting or rebuilding parts of it or by totally replacing parts if you wish. In fact, you could completely build a new chair from scratch using a variety of different chair parts, a chair assemblage!
  • You might include sound or motion/movement (kenetics)
  • ln the end it must be a functional chair. You must be able to sit in it.

Artist intent (think about why you are doing what you are doing, make whatever you do meaningful)

Neatness, originality, creativity, and care are prime considerations.


Your design must contain the following elements:

  • a face, or a portion of a face
  • some reference to movement
  • a pattern (repetition, interval, and variation)
  • part or all letters of at least one word
  • reference to a system of visual symbols (numbers, letters, pictographs, mathematical
  • symbols, etc.)
  • a unified color scheme


The choice of materials is totally up to you but because you are working with a 3D object (a chair) a sculptural approach is necessary.

  • chair parts, carving, building or adding as well as subtracting from the existing chair

In addition, the use of symbols or other images is also necessary but up to you how you create them.

  • pencil, pen, marker, colored pencil, paint, photo copier, camera, collage, charcoal, computer, lacquer transfers are some possible techniques)

Analysis: Above all else your result should tell a story in some way. The story is you.


  • Self-Portraits
  • Symbols
  • Sculpture and/or building techniques
  • Image techniques
  • Look at the following art movements for possible inspiration:
    • Surrealism,
    • Post-Modernism,
    • Op Art,
    • Fantasy Art,
    • Pop Art,
    • Art Nouveau,
    • Illusionary Art,
    • Memphis,
    • Art Deco,
    • Expressionism,
    • Baroque

Due Date: April 12