Mark Stephenson

Visual artist and designer

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Social portraits

"If Social Portraits was a filter, I’d take more selfies"

– Social Portrait 010 Aimie‍

#socialportraits is an ongoing exploration of the online persona through the painting and sharing of social media profile photos. As the paintings are completed they’re shared online using the hashtag #socialportraits for everyone to see, like, share, and comment on. I'm out to capture that epic selfie, perfect angle, big moment, the morning after or whatever it is that you have used to represent your carefully crafted online persona.

Social Portraits brings art, social media and people together in an engaging project that begins online and ends in a physical gallery.

As the portraits are completed I post them on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Ello etc. while using the hashtag #socialportraits.  


Through Social portraits I'm out to capture and share our online personas in the social networks but the project also exists in the physical world as paintings. To bring these two worlds together I created a set of emoji stickers and talk bubbles that engage visitors at the exhibitions to add reactions and comments alongside the paintings. The level of engagement has been fantastic, here are a few examples.

Crowdfunding campaign

To help fund Social Portraits and develop the network of participants to paint I launched a Kickstarter campaign. I would like to express a special thank you to the patrons: April and Bryan Stephenson and Erik Hagborg

Media & exhibition history

Media Coverage:

CTV Morning Live (video)

Metro: Modern-day portraits: Ottawa artist turns selfies into oil paintings

Apt613: Social Portraits: Where social media meets artistry

Ottawa/Gatineau culture blog Faison-iciOttawa Citizen


Social Portraits have been featured in the following exhibitions:

Selection of 2 Social Portraits in the Figureworks alumni Popup 2018

Selection of 2 Social Portraits in the CSArt Group Show 2018

Social Portraits solo exhibition City of Ottawa Trinity Gallery - Oct 19 to Nov 21, 2017

Selection of 4 Social Portraits in Figureworks 2016

Aknowledge the support of