I SEE YOU LIKE THIS
By Jessica Wilson with Matilda Woodroofe
From Melbourne, Australia
About the Company
I See You Like This is a mobile photo studio and interactive portraiture project that allows children to see their adults as subjects through the lens of their own imaginations.
With our ever-growing appetite to document our lives through photos and selfies, children are so often the reluctant subjects of their caretaker or parent’s cameras; asked to smile, look natural, look that way, and come in closer. In this unique hands-on arts experience, children will become the art director of a creative portrait of their adult.
The child artist is empowered to observe, style, and portray their adult, while adults are able to experience being "seen" by their young person, often for the first time. With an exciting selection of materials and objects, the child uses their adult’s face as the canvas for a unique, and often bizarre, portrait. Each artwork is then captured by a professional photographer and can become a take-away and/or part of a public exhibition. This event can be run in one-on-one appointments or festival settings.
I SEE YOU LIKE THIS was created by Jessica Wilson with designer Matilda Woodroofe to celebrate the fascinating relationship that is at the heart of individual identity – between parent and child. The project was developed through Artplay’s New Ideas Lab in 2016 and has since played in numerous places including Arts Centre Melbourne, Westwind Festival in Cologne and Krokus Festival in Belgium amassing a collection of nearly 2000 portraits.
Best for: 1st grade +
Fine Arts: Creative Design, Photography
Emotional/Social Development: Relationship to Others, Self-Awareness, Self-Management, Social-Awareness, Curiosity, Imagination, Perspective, Empathy, Perspective-taking, Relationship Skills, Social Engagement, Relationship-building, Problem-solving
Beginning with questions to the child artist about what kind of person their parent or caretaker is, the child artist then chooses an object which best represents their adult subject, before art directing a creative portrait directly onto their adult's face! Captured by a professional photographer, each image can be used in a range of contexts including public exhibitions, large scale paste ups or private printed or USB take-homes.
This event can be run in APPOINTMENT FORM as one-on-one appointments with or without studio structure (26 pairs per day) or EN MASS FORM in festival contexts (70-100 pairs per day) or a COMBINATION FORM with 5 sets of 10 pairs in one hour sessions. Please see tech rider for more details.
How Does It Work?
I SEE YOU LIKE THIS was commissioned by Artplay's New Ideas Lab.
I SEE YOU LIKE THIS was created by JESSICA WILSON with MATILDA WOODROOFE.
I SEE YOU LIKE THIS has had seasons at Artplay, The Arts Centre Melbourne, Belgium’s Krokusfestival, at West Wind Festival in Cologne in Germany, Darebin Arts Centre, Stonnington City Council, the Taste of Tasmania, Roola Boola, Kingston City Council, Whydham Council’s Children’s Week Picnic, Whitehorse City Council, Melbourne Knowledge Week, Midsummer Festival, Monash University, Portland Performing Arts Centre, Home of the Arts, Gippsland Performing Arts.
Audience & Critical Acclaim
Parent feedback to I SEE YOU LIKE THIS:
" I felt nervous when you asked my son to consider what kind of person I am."
"She has never taken this kind of interest in me."
"My daughter has never looked at me in this way." (referring to the child carefully drawing her parent's eyes).
"It was surprisingly relaxing letting her make the portrait so close to me."
"I felt closer to him doing this."
Press quotes on Jessica Wilson’s other works can be found on the ABOUT page on Jessica Wilson’s website.
About Jessica Wilson
In Jessica's own words:
"I am an established artist with a practice in image-based theatre and participative art. I conceive, produce and direct projects which respond to people and places and which are defined by strong aesthetic languages and ambition in purpose. My strength is in marrying poetics and pragmatics - bringing together artists, non-artists and non-arts industries and technologies in unusual experiences, which engage with broad audiences.
I have a long history of experimentation with buses, because I love the idea of bridging the gap between theatre and film, working with landscape as an artform, and attracting a non-theatre going audience.
My bus work PASSENGER (created with Ian Pidd and Nicola Gunn) premiered in Melbourne before being re-routed onto London for the Greenwich and Docklands International Festival and Sydney for Art & About this year. Last year I also created THE NARRATOR, in collaboration with a team of Latvian artists for the Valmieras International Festival.
With a strong international profile I have started to receive many invitations to adapt my tested ideas to new landscape and people. Examples of this are Latvia and Koln where I adapted I SEE YOU LIKE THIS to 3 different contexts for the Westwind Festival.
I SEE YOU LIKE THIS is part of a suite works with child identity at their core. In it, a child art directs a bizarre photo portrait using their parent’s face as their canvas and the image is exhibited in a professional context. ISYLT has undertaken countless seasons since its creation in 2016, in Australia and Europe, amassing a collection of over 1400 portraits. It was the only Australian project selected to Showcase at IPAY in USA in 2020.
I am very interested in reimagining landscape by ‘theatricalising’ sites in unusual ways and holding a dramatic arc whilst moving an audience across place. I received a 2019 VICTORIAN CREATOR grant to explore this territory further. THE WAYFINDERS is one of the new projects emerging from this time - a new open-air beacon-triggered sound experience for young children produced through Artplay’s New Ideas Lab.
My existing suite of projects build on a long history of theatre works for young people presented by Sydney Opera House, Arts Centre Melbourne, Artplay, national festivals and international venues including the New Victory in NY, Redmoon in Chicago, and Le Coups De Theatre in Montreal.
I always produce my own work, but did undertake a stint as the AD / CEO of Terrapin between 1999 and 2004. I have consistently created large-scale open-air theatre, which is where my practice began. And I sometimes conceive and mange long-span participative projects such as THE EDGE OF US which was a 2 year long Small Town Transformation project where 5 small towns created thousands of light based sculptures on the water’s edge and permanent light galleries were built in 2018.
Across my 25-year carer,I have remarkably raised $5.5 million towards artistic ventures I have visioned myself. I sit on panels, work regularly as a mentor and as a teacher practitioner in university contexts including Monash, Deakin and University of Melbourne.
SOME PROJECT HIGHLIGHTS ARE…..
PASSENGER (Producer, CoDirector): theatre with its audience onboard a traveling bus. Passenger frames the world as a film and evolves an ordinary conversation between two passengers into a dramatic Western film. Passenger premiered in Docklands Melbourne, played at London's Greenwich and Docklands Festival in 2019 and at Art and About in 2020. It received funds from the Australia Council and the City of Melbourne towards its development and UK tour.
THE NARRATOR (Director): a 2019 commission of Latvia’s Valmiera Theatre Festival resulting in a work on board a bus for children under the original title Unwanted.
THE EDGE OF US (Artistic Director): a Vic Govt Small Town Transformation project in 5 tiny Westernport towns resulting in the installation and activation of 5 outdoor light galleries and a two-year long program of ambitious participative art making.
I SEE YOU LIKE THIS (Director, Producer): roles are reversed when children use a parent's face as the canvas for a professional photo portrait. ISYLT was developed through Artplay's New Ideas Lab in 2017, has been presented in seasons at Arts Centre Melbourne, Darebin Arts Centre, Melbourne Knowledge Week, at Krokus Festival in Belgium and in Cologne amassing a collection of over 1000 portraits.
DWELLING (Director, Producer): large scale open air work for the 2014 Big West Festival inside a custom built house and involving animated projection and participative performance. Dwelling was nominated for a Green Room award for its visual aesthetics and was funded by the Australia Council as well as philanthropics.
STILL AWAKE STILL! (Director, CoProducer, Devisor): a theatre work for children which was premiered at the Arts Centre Melbourne before undertaking big Australian and US tours with Playing Australia support, notably to the New Victory Theater on 42nd Street in NY.
HOW HIGH THE SKY (CoDirector, CoCreator): an acclaimed interactive works for baby / parent pairs, produced by Polyglot for the Melbourne Festival at the Arts Centre 2012.
DREAM MASONS (Creative Producer, CoDirector): a massive spectacle which took place on the wall of the Salamanca Arts Centre and played to 14,000 Hobartians across 3 nights.
DR EGG AND THE MAN WITH NO EAR (Producer, Director, CoWriter): a puppet and animation based work which performed at the Sydney Opera House, the Victorian Arts Centre, in Chicago at Redmoon Theater (2008 - nominated for 4 Jeff Awards), and Canada. DR EGG won the AWGIE for Best Script for Young Audiences in 2011.
I began my career as co-director of BRINK PERFORMANCE GROUP in Brisbane (1994-1999) making the feature work UNDER THE BIG SKY set on the Kangaroo Point cliffs for QPAT's Stage X festival. I have been based in Melbourne since 2005."
To learn more, visit Jessica's website.
A series on online creative journeys
A series on online creative journeys