Last night’s premiere of Work of Art challenged the artestants to create portraits of one another—in a metaphorical bring-out-your-subject’s-essence-or-something way. With only 13 hours to do so, the inaugural contest drew out a surprising amount of stellar pieces, including Miles’s episode-winning, neo-Pointilist portrait of Nao, Trong’s red-leather 3-D cube representation of John, and Abdi’s fiery painting of Ryan. On the chopping block was Amanda, whose overly abstract portrait of Jaime Lynn was called “very good wallpaper” by judge Jeanne Greenberg Rohatyn and “fall foliage fail” by us here at Bravo HQ. Here’s our take on all 14 wannabe works of art, replete with cheeky new titles and snap-judgment analysis.
John's Portrait of Trong
Retitled: "Trong 3 Ways"
Artestant's Explanation: John wanted to show John in the multiple capacities that he occupies as a flowering creative figure: "writer, curator, artist."
Our Snap Judgment: Kind of a snooze--nothing quite captures the eye, and the "mirror reflections" of Trong's tri-polar self look like they were filled with Photoshop gradients our middle school self used to be fond of.
Trong's Portrait of John
Artestant's Explanation: There's really no need to explain why you would do a portrait on a faux snakeskin cube, so Trong took the opportunity to be humble: "I'm not 100 percent pleased with it."
Our Snap Judgment: The painting is great, and although we're at a loss as to why red snakeskin was in any way necessary to the work, we do know that art made on red snakeskin is universally awesome.
Mark's Portrait of Erik
Retitled: "Making KITTENZZ Look Bad-Ass"
Artestant's Explanation: Mark had his amazing Photoshop skills to thank.
Our Snap Judgment: Okay, fine. The Photoshopping is pretty amazing.
Erik's Portrait of Mark
Retitled: "A Study in Clowns"
Artestant's Explanation: He kept saying something about being an "untrained" amateur.
Our Snap Judgment: We'll defer to judge Jerry Saltz on this one. As a portrait of Mark, the representation of Mark's likeness is "neither here nor there... this is a painting of a clown."
Peregrine's Portrait of Nicole
Retitled: "Nudie Nicole"
Artestant's Explanation: Basically, Peregrine said that Nicole draws a lot of nudes, so she figured she'd give her a taste of her own medicine. Nicole's response: "It captures a part of me, but not 100 percent."
Our Snap Judgment: Nicole's right... there's something missing in this nude: her right boob is completely covered by a swatch of dangling hair.
Nicole's Portrait of Peregrine
Retitled: "Falcon-Eyed Peregrine"
Artestant's Explanation: To paraphrase: your eye really can't miss this one.
Our Snap Judgment: Those blue eyes are intense.
Jaime Lynn's Portrait of Amanda
Retitled: "Seeing Double: Amanda As Optical Illustion"
Artestant's Explanation: Jamie says "a little bit of glitz" gives the painting an air of "nobility."
Our Snap Judgment: Going with the nobility theme, this portrait could work well as an artsy
Amanda's Portrait of Jaime Lynn
Retitled: "Ethereal Amanda"
Artestant's Explanation: Amanda didn't want to use Jaime's face as an identifying marker.
Our Snap Judgment: Fall Foliage Fail.
Miles's Portrait of Nao
Retitled: "Nao That's What We Call Neo-Pointilism"
Artestant's Explanation: The pixelated representation of Nao's face offers a "small little point of relief."
Our Snap Judgment: Love the over-embossed face double hovering above the main face, and also the re-imagination of late 1800's pointilism.
Nao's Portrait of Miles
Retitled: "Miles of Dots and Lines"
Artestant's Explanation: The dots and lines somehow represent Miles's face? Even the judges were perplexed, and she delivered this zinger: "I’m not responsible for your experience of my work."
Our Snap Judgment: Don't snap at the the people who hold your fate in their hands. Never, never get snippy with the judges.
Jaclyn's Portrait of Judith
Retitled: "Judith Is Burning"
Artestant's Explanation: The black-and-white face surrounded by a maelstrom of red hues captures Judith's resilient essence.
Our Snap Judgment: When Judith said that she "disliked the expression" Jaclyn put on her face, we had to laugh, because: while saying that with a grimace, the expression on her face was exactly that of Jaclyn's portrait.
Judith's Portrait of Jaclyn
Retitled: "Jaclyn Is Purple and Proud"
Artestant's Explanation: The purple background and "proud" words captures Jaclyn's resilient essence.
Our Snap Judgment: Okay, it's abstract and all, but here's what comes to our mind when thinking about Purple Pride: (1) that was the slogan for our middle school track team, and (2) the gay pride parade.
Ryan's Portrait of Abdi
Retitled: "Adbi After Impressionism"
Artestant's Explanation: Ryan got his panties in a twist when he saw his tiny, shriveled work of art next to Abdi's massive piece. "I'm worried about the scale," he said. This is pretty much the art world equivalent of male insecurity about penis size.
Our Snap Judgment: Forget about scale, the background colors are richly hued and perfectly Monet-esque.
Abdi's Portrait of Ryan
Retitled: "Ryan Is Smoking, Hot"
Artestant's Explanation: Abdi says he really went outside of his "comfort zone" on this one.
Our Snap Judgment: If I had been a little more abstract, this could've beaten out Ryan's to be the winner.