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Edmonton artist using Facebook for portrait-painting mission

Click to play video: 'The Endless Portrait Project' The Endless Portrait Project
WATCH ABOVE: It started with a simple Facebook post and now an Edmonton artist is well on his way to painting 1,000 portraits by Sept. 9. Emily Mertz explains – Aug 29, 2016

Tim Mikula wants to paint 1,000 portraits by Sept. 9.

Last winter, he wrote a simple message on Facebook: “like this status and I’ll paint you a portrait.”

“At the beginning there was about 80 likes…but as I continued posting the responses, it sort of had a snowball effect. From that, I ended up doing about 370 portraits and I got a taste for it.”

As of Monday, Aug. 29, the Endless Portrait Project has approximately 800 portraits using acrylics with help from a grant from the Edmonton Arts Council.

“It’s honestly been really fun,” he said. “I’ve just been sort of reconnecting with people.

“We’ve been friends on Facebook – but I just played hockey with them when I was in Grade 10 or whatever. It’s a fairly superficial level but it’s sort of reconnecting with them and seeing what they’re up to in their lives.”

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Mikula’s paintings range in style from quite realistic to very abstract. They also vary in colour. Mikula admits some of what’s created depends on his mood and what style or shade he’s feeling that day.

“I’m trying very hard to make it as reflective as possible, but I’m not a great artist,” he said with a smile. “I’m also an impatient man so I don’t like spending more than 10 to 15 minutes on a portrait.  A lot of times I’ll just pick a colour. I can’t explain it. It’s not a conscious process. I think there’s sort of just a lot of randomness to the way it ends up.”

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Edmonton artist Tim Mikula is trying to paint 1,000 portraits by Sept. 9. Emily Mertz, Global News
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Edmonton artist Tim Mikula is trying to paint 1,000 portraits by Sept. 9. Emily Mertz, Global News
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Emily Mertz, Global News
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Edmonton artist Tim Mikula is trying to paint 1,000 portraits by Sept. 9. Emily Mertz, Global News
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Edmonton artist Tim Mikula is trying to paint 1,000 portraits by Sept. 9. Emily Mertz, Global News

To continue, Mikula needs your help.

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“I would be more than happy to paint like anyone. If they could just send me a message on Facebook or email me, I’d love that because I am also running thin on faces. I think I have 40 more to do and the last resort is I’m just going to start painting strangers and emailing them the portrait I did. If someone wants it, I’d much rather do that.”

He’s also at Mile Zero Dance studio every Sunday between 3 and 5 p.m. to paint anyone who walks in.

“If I see someone walking by when I’m in here painting and they’re just sort of looking, I invite them in to paint them,” Mikula said.

He explained Facebook was the easiest way to spread the word, get consent from subjects and collect photos quickly. And, while Facebook is filled with selfies, he hopes his project might offer a bit of variety.

“I kind of consider it almost the opposite of a selfie,” Mikula said. “There’s no problem with selfies, but rather than taking two seconds to take a picture of yourself, I’m spending 10 or 15 minutes to create a picture of someone else. I just like that gesture as well.”

The art will be on display until Sept. 9 at Mile Zero Dance studio (10816-95 Street, Edmonton).

After that? Who’s to say the portraits will stop? It’s called the Endless Portrait Project after all.

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WATCH: An Edmonton artist is painting hundreds of portraits and he will create one for you – all you have to do is send him a message on Facebook. 

Click to play video: 'Edmonton artist uses Facebook in hopes of painting 1,000 portraits' Edmonton artist uses Facebook in hopes of painting 1,000 portraits
Edmonton artist uses Facebook in hopes of painting 1,000 portraits – Aug 29, 2016

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