Everything in Moderation
As anyone who’s never eaten pizza or double chocolate chip ice cream knows, moderation is key to most things. With VanGoYourself, we get a daily stream of recreations from people all over the world. Moderating them could, strictly speaking, be described as a job, but usually it’s more like an entertaining way to start most days.
I used to very mildly agonise over this: someone (or a few people) have taken time out of their day to come on to our humble site, pick a painting and join in. Is it too dismissive not to republish their recreation in all its glory? Then again, if someone’s taken a grand old painting full of dressing-up potential and uploaded a selfie of themselves staring blankly in the exact opposite direction of the sitter (which no-one has done yet, but you get the drift), it doesn’t make sense to publish that alongside all the really high-quality impersonations we receive.
On the main site, theoretically it should encourage ever-more creative takes if we keep the quality control relatively high (I’d be particularly keen to encourage more people to get their pooches involved, as those have been some of the funniest ones we’ve had so far.) Fortunately, the submissions that don’t make it through to the promised land still get to glow in the wild and untameable garden of our Tumblr, which remains as unmoderated as a forage in the fridge after six months on Weight Watchers.
Aside from the occasional shouts of “look at this one! Make sure you publish this!” emanating like excitable honks from the enclave behind me at VanGoYourself headquarters, I think my favourite part of the submission process is the Tips and Tricks bit. I’m not too sure who writes these, but they’re perceptive and frequently pick out elements of the painting you might not necessarily notice at first. They appear to the right once you’ve picked the painting you want to recreate. For example, on Isabella and the Pot of Basil, painted by William Holman Hunt in 1868 and held at the Laing Art Gallery all the way up in Toontown, the description says: “Attention to detail, earthy colours and luxurious fabrics will capture the essence of this masterpiece. Skulls on the pot refer to Lorenzo's death, and dying roses on the ground symbolise the end of love.” For Girl in a White Kimono, at the Rijksmuseum in the ‘dam, it suggests using a spare pair of curtains, and asks you to imagine yourself as “a silky cloud hovering lightly over a mountain of heavy, earthy fabric in serene contemplation.” Now that’s escapism. Makes me want to try them more. Visit vangoyourself.com and click ‘Go’ to pick your own. It’s all about the props. A firm hat tip, too, to those who gave it a go on our little trip to Vienna: this one, featuring a grand piano (from the 19th century painting Mozart in Vienna, naturally) hits the right note.
Scores on the doors on this windy Sunday evening in thrall to Novak Djokovic’s eye for a baseline: €2,154 in, from 55 backers. Marvellous scenes. Eight days to go, keep getting involved – at the risk of sounding like a record with a finger-sized crack in it, we’re equally chuffed whether you pose as a painting, become a VanGoYourself advocate or fling a few notes at us. Links to the right. #VanGoForIt.
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