Unselfie Project Brings New Twist to Social Media Portraits

Need to update your social media avatar? Many people turn to selfies. There's no escaping them on your social media newsfeeds. One Montgomery County woman is offering a new artistic twist on the self-portrait -- the unselfie.

"We are so saturated today with everybody and their selfies. Everybody is just snapping pictures. It's not original anymore," said Abington illustrator Michele Melcher. "I don't think people realize they are individuals."

Melcher has launched "The Unselfie Project" on Kickstarter to celebrate the originality of people.

The public can support Melcher's work and get their very own unselfie by supporting her campaign, which ends on May 31. So far, she has 229 backers and has raised $12,000 which is more than double her goal.

She offers various levels of support with different perks. An original black and white unselfie is $30 and a color unselfie is $50. The highest level of support is $650. This backer level receives an old master watercolor unselfie, and original painting. Donors levels starting at $30 or more receive a personalized digitally drawn unselfie digital file for their use. Backers are permitted to submit photos of their pets too.

Melcher describes her portrait project as "more graphic and not photo realistic." She uses flat colors to give her work an organic feel.

Melcher grew up in Pipersville, Bucks County. It was her rural upbringing that spawned her interest in art and taken her far.

"I've been drawing since I was a kid. I grew up in the middle of nowhere. Drawing was what I did to pass the time," she said.

For the past decade, she's been an illustrator drawing children's books and campaigns for corporate clients. The University of the Arts graduate is taking her talent to a new clientele on the Internet via the unselfie project.

After Melcher graduated from school, the pressure was to move to New York City to get illustration work. The rise of the Internet and social media has allowed her to work for top clients right from her home in Montgomery County. So now she's drawing upon social media and crowdfunding to propel her work beyond her corporate work.

After the Kickstarter campaign ends, Melcher plans to offer unselfies on her website as an option for purchase.

Contact Sarah Glover at 610-668-5580, sarah.glover@nbcuni.com or follow @skyphoto on Twitter.

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