Papa Sis was born sometime in the early 2000s, in a student accommodation living room in St Andrews. Ben, Mark and I were visiting Malcs, and a Hungover Tismey was sitting in an armchair, wrapped in a blanket, grumbling about how rubbish everything was. I don’t recall if it was Mark or Malcs who first coined Papa Sis to describe the curmudgeonly figure I cut, but it kind of stuck. Since then, it’s been recycled as a DJ and stage name, and I quite like it, so I’ve been planning some kind of self-portrait for Papa since starting this project in January.

I’ve been thinking a lot about personal branding recently. In a recent episode of Back To Work, Merlin Mann was talking about this, and said something that really struck a chord with me:

You can have a fancy car without being Fancy Car Guy’”

This happened to coincide with a difficult period at work, and with the news of my impending fatherhood. If anything is going to prompt a reassessment of priorities and assumptions, then that’s going to be it. Unconsciously, over a period of a few months, I started to gradually unpick my makeup and consider which bits of Tismey and Papa Sis are useful, and which just get in the way of things a bit. I don’t have a fancy car, so I’m never going to be Fancy Car Guy, but I have plenty of other tics that could end up unwittingly becoming my Defining Feature for some people. I started to think more carefully about the motivations behind my actions, and about whether I’d be happy with each decision, each purchase, each offhand comment, being reflective of me. As the months have gone on, and things have changed around me, I think this re-examination was a useful process to go through.

So, this montage of stuff’ self-portait had been kicking around for a while. And then Artie came along and, just like everyone said, immediately the focus of my time and attention completely shifted, so it made total sense for the focus of the shot to change too.