Chicago artist paints “100 zoom portraits” | Chicago News


Megan Williamson made hundreds of portraits from interviews she saw on the TV news. (WTTW News)

A landscape artist abandons the dirt for more formal paintings in a new series called “100 Portraits Zoom”.

What started as 300 screenshots of Zoom interviews from his favorite TV news shows, has since evolved into a statement of the times.

“I started because I can only look at the news on my phone, there are too many larger screens,” explains painter Megan Williamson. “I could cover what I didn’t want to watch by watching. It was during the lockdown, it was intense. But we suddenly started looking into each other’s homes and I found solace in there. So I started taking screenshots I had never worked from photographs before but there was something there.

As someone who has never painted portraits, Williamson never expected to make 100.

“One day I entered [to my studio] and there was about 20 on the wall and I said, “My friends are here,” she said.

Without realizing it, she had developed a routine that brought her comfort and comfort during a time of uncertainty.

“In a way, I feel like I’m partnering with these people,” Williamson said. “When I painted from the photographs, and I have several, I felt like I was climbing into their homes. I was starting to notice things while painting that I hadn’t noticed during the screenshot. I don’t remember everyone’s name, but I can tell you everything about what’s in their room and what they’re wearing.

From February to May, Williamson takes one portrait per day. She has recreated salons across the country and even a few guests seen in “Chicago Tonight”. Despite growing popularity, Williamson has no plans to offer them as individual portraits.

“I think of it as one piece. The 100 pieces are one, ”Williamson said.

This is a common connection.

“To see them all together, I hope this is the best Zoom call you’ve ever been on,” said Williamson. “It’s about our shared humanity. We all look at these screens. That’s why we’re here. To make connections. The look I choose to paint is, they just spoke or listened. thought. We ‘you all make so much screaming and not listening. It’s just a moment to be present. And seeing 100 people attending is really happy. It’s a hopeful series. “

Williamson plans to launch “100 Zoom Portraits” in newsrooms across the country.

Visit Williamson’s website to see close-ups of the portraits.

Follow Angel Idowu on Twitter: @ angelidowu3

Note: This story will be updated with a video.


Angel Idowu is the DuPage Foundation Arts Correspondent JCS Fund.



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