John Seal
EVENT: My Friends, at King County Art Gallery (506 Second Ave, Room 200, 296-7580). Through March 30.

Tell me about the connection between starting with something as quick and immediately gratifying as a Polaroid and making it into something as big and time-consuming as a painting. "I make them big to enhance the pop-art sensibility, enlarging the egos of my friends. They're almost as big if not bigger than the viewers themselves, making them sort of iconic. They also have visual impact. Working from photos adds to the pop-kitsch of the whole thing, especially working from Polaroids. It also has an interesting way of capturing people, rather than having them sit for you, which gives you and your subjects more time to think about how they want themselves presented. Whereas working from a photo, you re-create a moment."

So out of a series of pictures that describe a time, you pick one that describes a moment. "It's more than trying to iconify?... iconigraph?... iconate?... a moment. It's more the person. I'll take several shots of the person, and the moment where they reveal the most about themselves, what I like about them, when they're the most themselves as I see them--that's the picture I use."

It's sort of the opposite of Warhol's portraits. He picked images that revealed people's public selves, not images that revealed the most about them personally. "This is one of the central themes of the project, to relay a sense of these contemporary, goofy, kind of fucked-up kids. It's presented in a way that's true to how they live their lives. There's a partial social-documentation aspect to it. The pop iconography, the kitschy aspects like the gargantuan frames, the outsizing of the figures themselves are all parts of it."