This New Portrait Website Reveals What Total Strangers Think Of You

selfless portraits main image

While Facebook may connect people across the globe its novelty is starting to wear off. 

Ivan Cash, a freelance interactive artist and Jeff Greenspan, BuzzFeed’s chief creative officer, have dreamed dreamed up an amazing concept that builds perfectly on Facebook’s ability to bring people together.

What if you could have a complete stranger draw your profile picture based on how they interpreted you?

The duo started a project called Selfless Portraits, a collaborative art initiative that takes advantage of Facebook’s 1 billion user audience to bring together random people in a raw, almost vulnerable way, and that’s a good thing.

Greenspan explained to Business Insider his inspiration for Selfless Portraits: 

Facebook is such a prominent part of our culture these days and we use it because we want to be more connected with our friends, our acquaintances, and our family. And yet, the reality is that sometimes it’s difficult to really make a meaningful connection with someone through the Facebook platform. It has its limitations. It encourages breath over depth.

Click here to head straight to some of Selfless Portraits most interesting photos >

Selfless Portraits has been live for just two months and its goal is to bridge the gap between technology and humanity.

After signing up, users upload their Facebook profile to be hand drawn by another Facebook user somewhere else in the world. 

selfless portraits facebook mergeHere’s an example of one of Selfless Portraits popular photos.

But don’t worry if you don’t have the skills of Picasso. The community includes both amateurs and professionals. In order to receive a finished product both parties must complete and upload the drawing of their randomly-assigned subject. The assigned drawings aren’t one on one, meaning you won’t necessarily be paired with the same person who draws your photo.

You may be wondering why Selfless Portraits doesn’t allow you to chose who you get to draw or why you can’t draw your friends, Greenspan explains:

There’s something really exciting about the concept of a stranger that represents the unknown, the mysterious, but also the possibility of a connection, whereas a Facebook friend is already a known connection. While this project admittedly might have been more popular if it was people drawing their friends, there’s something much more powerful and hopefully inspiring about having strangers come together and collaborating remotely.

The response so far has been really positive, after two months they site has amassed over 20,000 drawings from over 115 countries around the world.

“We’ve been floored by the level of creativity,” Cash said. “We thought we had a good handle on how the site was going to be used but the community has found ways of using the platform we never imagined.”

For example, users have drawn a leg where an arm was supposed to be or an animals head on a human and vice versa.

selfless portraits

The two don’t see the project expanding to platforms like Instagram or Twitter for now.

“What we really like about Facebook is the profile picture aspect,” Greenspan said. “It’s very different from the type of images that are on Twitter or Instagram like say for instance, one’s breakfast. I’m not saying there isn’t something to be done with those types of images too but for now Facebook fits perfectly with what we’re trying to do.” 

Cash and Greenspan stressed that they could not have done this project without the help of their producer, Luis Peña, and development company Rally Interactive.

This portrait of a gentleman from California was beautifully executed by someone from Brazil.

This portrait of a UK native was drawn by another user in Brazil. The interpretation is spot on.

Some artists simply draw their piece with basic tools like pen and paper.

But the art isn't limited to just drawing. This portrait digitizes the subject and places him in a totally different environment.

Many users have taken their creativity to the next level and the project has grown into something the founders Jeff Greenspan and Ivan Cash never imagined. This interpretation re-imagines the subject as if he were in a tiger suit.

Greenspan hopes that,

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