The Personals series was completed during the JD Beltran's 2001 residency at the Bellevue Art Museum in Bellevue, Washington. Previously she had only created portraits of subjects she knew very well - her goal was to recreate a persona, not merely illustrate someone. The Bellevue Art Museum, however, requested that her residency project incorporate public interaction. She created four new portraits of subjects she initially did not know but grew to know over the two month period of the residency. Prior to her arrival for the residency, the museum placed ads in the Seattle Weekly as well as in the Seattle area personals sections of Yahoo.com and Match.com, in both “Women Seeking Men” and “Men Seeking Women,” seeking potential portrait subjects. Those interested in the project were to reply back to her, sending a personal ad and photograph. After receiving close to one hundred replies, she chose four subjects - two men and two women - and followed them around for eight weeks like a private paparazzi, photographing them, videotaping them, writing to them, talking to them and doing many lunches and dinners.
Over the course of two months Beltran completed a suite of portraits for each subject, which included a painting, a video, a photograph, and a charcoal drawing. Also exhibited in the works are the subjects’ original personal ads - their own self-portrait in text - along with a scrapbook chronicling her meetings and encounters and the evolution of her relationship with each subject. As part of the project, she also completed a self-portrait at the same time.