Project 13

In this post, 13 year old Rowan shares how she devised a project to help develop her skills, and how she used social media to help coordinate and share the projects aims and outcomes.

By Rowan Briggs Smith

I’d like to tell you about a project I undertook when I was 13. I like painting portraits, and to give myself a focus for them, I devised Project 13

Most of us love taking selfies, we like how you can really control how you look and have fun with filters. You can put a version of yourself out there for others to see.

But Project 13 is about what it’s like to be 13 when there are no filters.

Project 13 is a simple idea:

  • I set myself the challenge to paint 13 portraits of 13 year olds from my school whilst I am 13.
  • I invited my followers on Instagram to be part of the project, and after taking their photos, have painted them in my own time.
  • I wanted to show everyone what it’s really like to be a teenager – not just the side we decide to let people see.

I hope the portraits inspire others to see how we can use art to make a social statement, and portraiture in particular to explore identity.

Project 13, Lucy

The completed portraits were exhibited at Michaelhouse Centre, Cambridge.

Royal Academy Young Artists Summer Show

I am very lucky to have had 3 of the portraits to be selected to appear in the Royal Academy Young Artists Digital Exhibition.

And I am hugely grateful that one of the portraits “Anna” has been selected to hang in the inaugural Young Artists Summer Show at the Royal Academy, Piccadilly London from the 14th July to the 4th August 2019.

“Anna” is also one of 8 artworks out of 6200 submitted to be chosen by RA president Christopher Le Brun to win a prize for “Inspiring Artwork”

Digital Gallery

I also worked in collaboration with AccessArt Young Artist Mitch, who composed music in 13 time to accompany my paintings, to create a digital exhibition which you can enjoy below.

You can find out more about the project at

You can see press coverage at

Instagram: rowanbriggssmith_

Project 13, Lily

Project 13, Anna

A1 Ink Studies towards Project 13

Rowan is a member of the #BeACreativeProducer Project team



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