These paintings are from my new series “In Their Own Words.” After selecting subjects, I presented them with a questionnaire designed to engage them in abstracted self-representation. Inspired by psychology tests, the questionnaire begins with broad queries that are culturally proscribed to quantitatively define people, such as occupation, age and gender. Proceeding with more intimate questions, such as perceptions of happiness and preferred bathing habits, the questionnaire culminates with the subjects determining which color, shape and word best represents their perception of their authentic self. I then interview the subjects to gain a more intimate knowledge of their self-perception. I teach them the Sign Language sign for the single word by which they have chosen to define themselves. I sketch and photograph them nude from the waist up, capturing different but key stages of their specific sign. The subject plays a central role in defining the composition. All the paintings follow a strict format: the lighting, camera positioning, dimensions and the figures placement within the composition are fixed. The consistent figurative format varies only by subject-defined components. Finally, each subject, painted on a scale slightly larger than life, engages the viewers as active participants by "reading" the dynamically moving hands.