Professional Platforms- Week 3

Today we launched the new brief Protest and Survive. It is a series of week-long briefs spanning three weeks illustrating awareness or a protest around a global issue, a national issue, and a local issue.

Today’s session was composed of giving the students the tools they needed to produce and consider their work. We asked the students to produce a mind map a number of issues they are concerned about  and after forming groups of three and four they were to discus the issues for ten minutes. The issues that arose were war, poverty, climate change, deforestation, sexual harassment, terrorism, the refugee crisis, and animal cruelty. They were given an hour to research in more detail two of their issues and asked to produce five facts each to deliver to their peer groups. Some naturally noted the statistics and were considering making their imagery around these and another had noted that he had found there were more than one issue at play surrounding his chosen cause that he had not originally considered. This took us up to lunch time and without yet without giving the students any visual references, the group continued to be engaged and energetic with their ideas.

The afternoon began with my presentation on Hannah Hoch as a way of suggesting other ways of producing protest art. If I am honest, I should have prepared it more thoroughly to make sure the links and information were coherent and the point would be communicated but I was a bit wary spending so much time on this again for the work to not be used.  the presentation led to other visual examples such as stitch, posters, banners, badges, t-shirts, satire,  performance and fashion, and collaboration with other disciplines. I had a could have conversations afterwards regarding her work and how they never originally considered collage but a student felt it may be appropriate for her work. Throughout the session we prompted the students to consider colour, what they represent, how they can be used as semiotics, how they make people feel. Some still wanted to use black and white… and portraiture. Other conversations were considering how their chosen subject made them feel, were they angry, or sad? Some were confused and scared. Ready for tomorrow they need to equip their toolbox with visual referencing, words, and slogans. Earlier in the afternoon they were given ten minutes to produce ten ideas. Towards the end of the days we asked them to re-order their ideas after our discussions on colour, mode and approach, and evaluate how these effect how successful they now see them being.

I’m looking forward to hearing about the work that was produced. One of the girls was thinking about using herself as a performance to demonstrate against sexual abuse carried out by the church, another was thinking of using plastic to make a piece on climate change. This already shows they are thinking of the best medium to communicate rather than automatically working 2D or in their usual aesthetic.

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Professional Platforms – week 2

I was left feeling disheartened after this weeks PP.  I had spent the day on the previous Thursday preparing a presentation for the class covering my work, my experience on Foundation, BA, and MA, and I was to give examples of briefs and advice on selecting Universities. The presentation had been valuable for me as it allowed me to look over work I had forgotten about and realise just how far my work had come, but I would have appreciated being given the time to show this. It would have also been beneficial to the students as they would have seen how I am working on issues they have raised within their own Body projects.

I was asked if I would like to prepare a presentation on Hannah Hoch as part of the new brief for next week, called Protest and Survive, as I wrote my dissertation on her. I have done this but I have made sure that I have not spent too much time on it this week. I have also put together some artist research covering images taken of the Women’s March on Washington and Black Lives Matter protests, some of the posters and t-shirts designed for the marches, some of the pieces and events in The People’s Museum in Manchester, and also Helen Storey’s Dress For Our Time and In Praise of Air by Simon Armitage.

 

I spoke to the tutors about working in FE and it appears that I do need a PGCE. I did not know this and it seems it is hard to get into otherwise. I spoke to the careers adviser today and she said there are pathways into FE and the PGCE can be specifically for FE and not for all teaching. This makes it less intense and is possibly available as a separate student loan. The route to HE, which I would prefer, is different again. The way of getting in is more based on experience and there is a Graduate Training Assistant role. I am going to look into this and apply. I have spoken to Elle the Outreach co-ordinator about being interested in workshops and gaining some teaching experience and she has given me the email of the person who is working as a GTA now so I can see how she is finding it. I am also going to speak to Clinton again and John about any opportunities to shadow or volunteer. The careers advisor said to be careful of this, only offer a set amount of days and to make sure the experience and help is recognised, do not allow myself to be exploited.

 

I have booked a sign up tutorial with Clinton to speak about how I go about getting the most out of the placement and making sure I am ticking the boxes for the evidence. I know it would not look good on me to pull out of the agreement, especially if I am looking to be hired, but I need to be getting something out of it. I feel a little bit like a TA, but I’m not sure what I expected. Maybe a little more involvement when I came away feeling like I would not be eligible to do this role so there’s not really any point in training me for it. It also has made me think is it even worth going into more debt for a PGCE when the tutors believe the Foundation Diploma will be getting phased out in the end. Perhaps I am better off keeping my eye on MFA and getting my foot in the door to be involved with the University. I will suggest putting together a workshop with the students to help them speak about their work, especially as they will need to do this at interview for University. I will come up with a pitch over the weekend.

Pecha Kucha Practice 3

Pecha Kucha Nov 2017

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I came to the Pecha Kucha with a fair idea of my plan for the year. I did feel there was a chance the Tittymama Army might come to a halt as I seem to be hitting walls when it comes to  the engagement and research. I am trying to connect with women of colour and disabled women to communicate their experiences correctly and potentially stir up some engagement and organise workshops for women to make their own figures. Unfortunately, so far, my emails have not been responded to.

There were a number of suggestions for my work such as adding fabric to the sculptures. I think this could be something to play with, especially since I would mostly wear football kits and would hide my bra under my pillow rather than put it in the washing basket. Also, I was questioned about why I worked to conceal the cracks in the clay. I had not really thought about this beyond wanting the sculpture to survive the kiln and how they would be a sign of my inexperience with the material. They could have, however, shown the cracks of the stereotype, the imperfect notion of the ideal, the fragility of the masculinity, and if I am honest, the cracks in my relationship with this person. Maybe next time I will consider leaving them valuable to the narrative.

It was also suggested that I maybe experimented with other media. Maybe paper mache, silicone, padded materials and also how this could be performative. I’m really struggling with how to see all of this, maybe once this sinks in some ideas will arise. I could possibly encounter a creative block as I’ll be too worried about the Tittymamas not living up to their potential. As they are now, I need to think about where they are going to go. I was asked who my audience was and if I’m honest, I have not thought too much about the audience apart from how to bring people in by making them initially see the figures as small, funny, and soft until they get up close. When creating them I have thought more about the women that they represent and giving these people space.

I was asked about how men would see my work as they are who I need to engage to encourage change as women already ‘get it’. I’m not sure that I do need to bring it back to how men see them. Is that the point of what I am saying? It is not always about what men think and see? Can it not just be for the women it is representing? Creating a community and taking up space? It was also mentioned that not all men are like this, and I obviously know this and my work is not meant to be taking aim at all men. I know from the men who have engaged with the work that they have not felt the need to be defensive. I feel there was a clash of opinions, as there will be with this kind of work. It was suggested that being a mother and a mother of boys will make you see things differently. I’m not willing to quieten my experience because I am not mother. It was also mentioned that my peer used to feel as I do but now she is 30 years older and you change as you grow as a woman and you feel differently. I can’t help but feel that these issues might still concern me in 30 years time.

Another suggestion was to perhaps include other experiences to help connect with men, for example, a sculpture of a boy crying. I won’t be doing this for this project as this then opens up my research again and going down the route of personal experience was a way of narrowing it all down. In the future, definitely, I’ve thought about this and also about making pieces to highlight homelessness and animal cruelty.

The last Pecha Kucha helped a lot! I’ve even called meetings with my peers to hold them as a way of trying to see if there is something in my work I am missing, but this time, I feel completely stumped. I’m not sure if this will be the end of the Tittymamas as I know it, which is quite a turnaround as I felt so positive about trying to engage with people; I believed this idea had legs. I know that I am definitely enjoying working with clay and I do want to pursue this route. The Tittymamas could be used to create an animation or maybe even make a giant suit to go walking round the shops, I’m not sure. I could definitely make the models for the animation  but I would not have a clue where to start with the technical aspect of putting it all together. I could see it working as a sort of Jan Svankmajer Dialogue animation where I am tearing away at my changing body. I’m not sure… having ideas as I’m typing.

Busy week!

I spent a lot of time in the ceramics room last week. Most of my work has survived the kiln, luckily. I have tried to amend the cracks I found on my two heads but it’s got to the point where I just need to fire them now, see what happens and learn from it. After speaking to the technician, she thinks it could be down to either applying slip to clay that has dried too much or uneven drying.

The Almington clay I have began to use turns a very light pink tone and I wondered how this would affect the paint. I tested it and luckily it doesn’t distort it too much at all, I just have to check next to some of the others that the colour isn’t slightly enhanced by this in comparison to the unfired air-dry clay. I was going to test one of the other Tittymamas that I have already painted but I was advised that the paint will just burn off in the kiln. I have moved onto working with Ivory Stoneware which is a lovely texture. It feels somewhere between Almington and Polymer clay. It hardens up slightly allowing for you to build upon your base quite easily without the figure collapsing under the weight of the head and arms. I have began to make my army hollow now as advised so this should lead to more predictable drying and firing. I noticed the air holes had shrunk a fair amount in a couple of pieces and I had to put them in again before going into the kiln. It may be better to add these when the sculptures are leatherhard rather than as I am building them.  My name is down for a glaze and oxide induction now too which is exciting. I think oxides will work best for the work I am trying to produce as when looking through sample pieces of work in the kiln room I felt the glaze appeared to overpower any detail. Oxides produced a more illustrative and matte quality although I am interested in Underglazes. They seemed less glue like and I have noticed many of the artists I have researched use this as well as oxides.

I spoke to some of the 3D students about my project to see if there was anything I was missing or where they would take it. Most agreed that the material was the right media to use and suggested speaking to the Outreach team to see if they could help with putting together workshop. 3D printing was mentioned but the said it would cost a fortune and a fortune I don’t have…

I’ve been trying to reach out to people with regard to their experiences in society and how I can properly represent them through the Tittymamas. I posted on a couple of feminist groups to see if women of colour and disabled women would talk to me about how I can make their models. I have begun to render the disabled figures faceless as I feel this shows how my mum feels when she is in her wheelchair. I have noticed myself many of times that people talk to me when I am pushing her and not to her. She has said she feels like she is invisible and that people think she is stupid or infantile. I hoe this will convey the twice removed from privilege in society but I need to speak with people to know that I am being authentic to them and not interpreting their experience. I want the piece to be inclusive, not a white, cis-gendered, able-bodied, straight woman’s work. So far only white women have responded to the post. I need to figure out how to approach people to speak to them properly. Maybe print out arts of the project to show them along with the universities ethics form. I have arranged to speak with a friend to see how she felt when living in Cardiff and her experience in general. She said she will tell me about the comments on her hair and her Nigerian accent.

 

I have emailed a couple of people in Liverpool about locations for workshops and both Baltic Clay and News From Nowhere have responded with people and groups to contact. I will follow these up tomorrow.

On Monday I started a placement at Liverpool Community College with the Visual Communication/Illustration tutor on their Foundation diploma for ten weeks. I am hoping to come away with an idea of whether tutoring is for me or not. I am hopeful. In two weeks time we will be putting together three weeks worth of quick briefs for the students and I will be involved in writing and delivering them. For Monday I will be putting together a presentation going through my work but also my journey from my work on Foundation and where I saw myself to my work on MA. The idea is to give the students an insight to studying at university and to allow themselves to open up, experiment and deviate.

Oh! Laura Carlin came to give a talk today and it was great. She spoke of how your childhood influences your work whether you like it or not and also how you should not search for a ‘style’. Once you find your interest it will follow. I asked her about her use of colour as I see it as sophisticated and subtle. She said she feels scared of colour and she wishes she was more daring and bold. She began her BA only using black and white and then slowly introduced a third colour. She sticks to three colours or limited colour pallets as a comfort. Her illustrative ceramics exhibition is traveling around the UK next year. I will have to go to see it.

 

I think this is everything…

probably not.

 

On to practice 3!

Where to begin… back at the start of Practice 2? Well, I seem to have found exactly where my practice sits with myself. My own experience and my reaction to the blog post on feminism resulting in the death of femininity. I’ve gone with my instinct and begun to use clay to make my work. The army has led me to become more interested in illustrative ceramics. As well as digging my heels in and reaffirming that my broad scope of research in Practice 1 was necessary, I added artists to my research alongside keeping an eye on the necessary ongoing conversations surrounding gender and stereotyping. As I searched for artists it became apparent that it was a challenge to find illustrators that successfully challenged stereotypes beyond the surface (in my opinion). I found myself leaning towards fine artists communicating personal experience such as Louise Bourgeois and David Hockney, artists using a naive approach; Bob Traylor, Jonny Hannah, and literary creatives. Once I had decided to risk the outcome of MA and dive into the ceramic unknown, I began to source contemporary figurative ceramicists and illustrators using ceramics such as Claire Loder, Veronica Cay, Laura Bird, and Cathie Pilkington.

 

The plan is to continue making the Tittymama army. Ideally I will be connecting with women and collectively making the army. This could prove to be complicated. I will need to be able to afford to hire the location of the workshops and the materials, as well as secure participation. I need to research potential locations and participants and research how to run the workshops successfully. There would be a chance of engaging women from the university itself but it becomes complicated as if I were to hold the workshop it would have to take place in the ceramics room itself. I would have to get the approval of staff and also hope that people would stay late to make the figures. I need to work out exactly what I need to do.

 

Working with clay itself is proving challenging but satisfying. I was disappointed today to discover a piece I made last week has dried with cracks. I’m sure this is because there was too much moisture added to the slip I used for texture. I need to speak with the technician to see if I can rectify this or what I can do differently next time. I also (stupidly) knocked the head off a piece trying to ensure there was an air hole as the one I originally made shrunk as the piece dried out. It was brought to my attention that I could have made the piece without the bottom being closed. It all seems so obvious now. I’ve been told to start to make my Tittymamas hollow so they can be fired. Any moisture trapped deep inside will cause them to crack when they are fired. They do need to be put into the kiln as they are not strong enough to be transported; after every journey some part has broken off. This is taking a little extra time but not as much as I expected. I am also pressing type into the clay using stamps. I would like to tell some of the women’s stories, but not all. I want the type to be visible but not overpowering the figure.

 

All in all I feel that what I want to do is not viable for one year. well, six months really as I am part-time. To do one thing well would be better for my course. I need to discuss my ideas for the year with my tutor. My initial thoughts are to take the Tittymamas forward, still work on successfully making a 3D piece the has been fired and glazed so I have the knowledge and experience to take forward. I would like to work on my 2D idea to create a publication that looks like a children’s book but it is really reporting my

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experience with gender and gender stereotypes. I could work on this as a break from the clay. The outcome will be postponed until after the Tittymama piece.

draft 1- practice 2

Introduction.

After receiving my feedback for practice 1, I began to concentrate on my own personal experience of my gender and stereotyping and this changed the direction of my project.

I began to make work based on childhood memories and experiences throughout my life whilst searching for illustrators or designers who have tried to address gender issues with their work. As I struggled to find illustrators, I found my work resonated more with fine artists and authors who used personal experience, gender, feminism, childhood, the home/family, and naive aesthetics to create a network. I used a three-point mapping strategy to gain focus. As I worked through my memories and experience, I worked instinctively in a 2D aesthetic. The female body became prominent in my sketching and as I tried to understand my own feelings and instinct more, a blog post regarding a man’s expectation of femininity triggered me to work in 3D and I began to experiment with clay.

As a way of taking quick breaks from my practice, I have submitted some editorial pieces for an online creative newspaper and illustrated a music cover for a solo artist. During a housekeeping lecture there was a call out to join a collective called Other Grounds that are investigating ‘otherness’. I responded and met with the group during testing time.

Background.

Through questioning aspects of my upbringing and resurrecting my childhood memories I understand that my aversion to gender stereotyping through consumerism directly links to my own experience of feeling I did not fit within the expectations of my gender. For most of my life I have rebelled against it and also desperately tried to fit within it. I was aware of a difference and a hierarchy within my family unit from a very young age and began to question it. I felt my body almost betrayed me when it began to change at eight years old and it terrified me when I realised other people could see. I struggled between trying to be masculine and aggressive like my dad and as attractive and slim as my mother’s legend. I developed an eating disorder at the age of 13. I witness other children, such as my nephew, have these rigid expectations imposed on them and I am aware of the consequences. I want to promote acceptance with my work.

Research.

I began searching for artists and other creatives who have used personal experience and social commentary in regard to gender stereotypes to make their work. I found it difficult to find designers and illustrators whose work dug beneath the surface of the issue. I was unable to bounce from anything I found until I looked towards fine art and literary creatives. I noticed how the body reoccurred in my sketching and as I searched for artists who explored gender or feminism I found drawings by Louise Bourgeois that resonated with my own. Upon reading about Bourgeois, I discovered her work fundamentally concerns her experience, childhood, her family, and memories. I was also directed towards David Hockney’s early works when he explored his own feelings and sexuality as well as experimenting aesthetically. Out of the many 2D visual artists, I found myself returning to Bourgeois and Hockney.

My current aesthetic of digital collage is not appropriate for my project and I need to work on a more naive approach. Another branch to my research was to include illustrators and artists who work in a way that could be visually influential. Now that the work is about my experience, it has opened the subject matter to include navigating my gender and my body, as well as my experience of stereotyping.  Using a sketchbook and drawing is completely different to how I work but I began producing intuitive images to get the experiences out and onto the paper.

Journey.

To help express my own rejection of my femininity I searched online for similar experiences where I came across a blog post written by a man regarding feminism causing the death of femininity. I began to construct a clay army of women as a reaction to the blog and it’s comments, my experience, expectations surrounding femininity, and being reduced down to a body. Other Grounds plan to hold a small testing exhibition in October and a larger one in January. The Tittymamas will run alongside my practice and I will include the work in my Professional Platforms. I have not worked with clay before but feel it is the best method for communicating my feelings concerning the focus on the female body as a collective rather than seeing individual people. The ugliness and imperfection of the Tittymamas is imperative. They are not to be polished, all unique, and they will be painted in the soft, pastel colours that render young femininity as a way of mocking the soft stereotype. I realise that this will involve more work than if I made moulds for the bodies but it goes against the meaning behind the work. How many I make and how I will position them will depend on the venue of the January exhibition but the effect does rely on the mass.

I have been too anxious until now to experiment with different clays, firing, and glazes. I have never worked in ceramics and was unsure if I needed to take my work so far away from my usual practice, but it has been constantly on my mind that this is the route to pursue. I had already been shown the sculptures of Caren Garfen and Cathie Pilkington but felt I may be too late to step into a completely new territory and produce something of quality in time for the end of my MA. During a family holiday we visited Erwood Station Gallery, Powys, which features artists working in ceramics in an illustrative way. I found the folk-like ceramic figures by Suzanne Lanchberry and Jean Tolkovsky endearing making the hunch to experiment with clay more prominent. I could create scenes out of clay that would communicate my experiences in a more interesting way; interesting for the viewer and myself as I am connecting with clay more than my 2D images. In Hay-on-Wye I found a book on contemporary ceramics showcasing how clay is being used by illustrators, such as Laura Bird, to tell a narrative. There would be some significance in taking a memory and turning it into an artifact that’s purpose you expect to be decorative, to be put on show, yet the subject matter is not what you expect to be shown off or really discussed. I would like the viewer to be intrigued by the work before fully understanding the narrative. I have started to create scenes by returning to me intuitive images and using them to pinpoint what parts I want to make in clay. Although there is obviously a technical element to handbuilding there is something about not having a pencil or paintbrush that allows me to loosen up and allow the material to work with my idea for the image. I don’t want to control it the way I automatically do when I work 2d.

Moving Forward.

I plan to experiment further with different clays and will take my induction in glazing and mould making next term. If it were possible for me to pursue my MFA, I would, as it would give me more time to become experiment with ceramics. Even though I am concerned about the time scale, I do believe it will be more beneficial to me to take the leap and learn a skill whilst on my MA rather than experiment only with my 2D aesthetic when I could do that any time. It makes more sense to take advantage of having access to facilities and technical advice and build on this further once the MA is over.

After discussing my direction in my final tutorial, I would like to keep my intention open and allow room for development throughout practice three. There is the possibility of composing images for publishing, pieces designed for an exhibition space, or even using my work for workshops. I intend to stay situated within design and I believe there is room for my practice as an illustrator. My illustrations in clay can be displayed or photographed and made into 2D compositions. My work is suitable for editorial illustration as gender issues are being highlighted more and working with empathy lends itself to reportage. Publishing could also be feasible either for the context or visual language. ***I attended the Picture Hooks conference at MMU where Tiffany Leeson, of Egmont Publishing, spoke of how they were keen to work with creators of picture books promoting emotional intelligence. This is something I would be enthusiastic to engage with in the future.*** My work is feminist art, but could also be used for public arts, and community arts.

Although my work has taken a different direction to how I imagined in practice one, my initial research is relevant. I feel more confident in my position, my subject matter, and understand more about my own aversion to the push on stereotypes through gendered consumerism. Researching artists has helped me situate myself and I was surprised at how difficult it was to find illustrators who are addressing gender issues.

I will begin practice three by allowing the work to evolve and leave the outcome open until direction becomes clear either through feedback or natural progression.

 

 

Tittymama Army.

As I work my way through my MA research, I have encountered uncomfortable questions on my own childhood, my feelings, and my experience. I do struggle to find the correct words to communicate my findings at times and took to researching other women’s experiences of rejecting femininity whilst growing up. I hoped to be able to express myself more successfully after encountering similar experiences. Rather than finding what I hoped for, I came across a blog post addressing the so-called Death of Femininity brought on by feminism. The lengthy post attacks feminism and accuses feminism of interfering with the natural biological structure of power and the family unit. Women who are wanting to compete with men and unattractive to men and will live and die alone and are labelled masculine women. Their fertility is questioned. Women are talked about as if they are not individuals and only in relation to men.  The post had 19,188 followers at the time and the comments were as disturbing as the post itself.

In my opinion, as someone who was looking for help to word how and why I was rejecting femininity as a child, feminism is not the problem. As a child I did not feel overly feminine. Old photographs show I had a healthy balance of toys, interests, and clothes. I believe the rejection of my femininity was when I became aware that I did not feel and look like I felt I should to be a ‘proper girl’, and, that there was a hierarchy. Why did my dad always have the last say when my mum done more and knew more? Why, if I acted the same as my dad and liked some of the same things, could I not be like him? I didn’t look like my mum and the boys didn’t like me the way they liked my mum, so I must be more like my dad. Why did my dad tell me I would never be as tall as him? I’m only 2″ shorter. When my body began to change, I struggled. I struggled even more when I found that other people were aware of it. I became my body at a young age. I think this is why the breasts keep reoccurring in my images. My secondary school years were a battle between me wanting to embrace my gender but never feeling like I matched up to the expectations. I wasn’t as slim or attractive as my mum. I had a curvier body than a lot of the girls at school who still looked like girls in their uniform. I am the same body size now as I was when I was around 13. I felt fat. I began to turn to food for comfort and make myself sick repeatedly. I wanted to be attractive to boys, I wore short skirts like the others. On the flip side, I would wear tracksuits, trainers and football shirts. I accentuated my accent like the boys and deepened my voice. I remember I quit GCSE PE as I was trying to run the bleep test with my tracksuit top on. I was so hot that I was bright red in the face and felt sick but I would not remove my jacket in case the others would look at my chest. This struggle with my gender and the expectation with it continued up to my late 20s. I dealt with my eating disorder at about 26, embraced the fact that I didn’t want to look as feminine as my friends with my tattoos and unconventional hair, and brushed off my mum’s concerns about my sexuality and y lack of interest in children. I was OK with who I was. This all happened before my awareness of feminism. I have come to the conclusion it is internalised misogyny.

After rummaging through memories, stumbling across the blog post, hearing people’s comments regarding gender and stereotypes, the man in the pub declaring anyone who hired a woman of childbearing age insane, the friend on social media saying the pay gap doesn’t exist and women don’t want equal opportunities with their partner when it comes to parental leave and job roles, has all added to my belief that women are reduced down to a body. They are judged on what that body looks like, what they do with it, what they don’t do with it. They are sexualised as soon as they grow breasts, later the attention moves to their reproductive organs; if they are using them too much, if they are not using them but having sex for fun, and if they have chosen never to reproduce. Boobs and wombs.

I have began to create a Tittymama Army. I want to represent the women who are not conventionally feminine but still are women. Their femininity is not for people to pass judgement on. Reflecting on the blog post and it’s followers, I would be interested to know how they measure femininity. Is it attractiveness? Is it passiveness? Does a woman being disabled affect the measuring? Or what about women of colour? What is a women can’t bear children, does this affect their femininity? I would like to create enough of these women to fill a room. I am using the colour pallet that is assigned to young girls as an acknowledgement of the early expectation of femininity put on girls which may not represent them as an individual personality. The intention is to draw attention to how women are determined by their body. The finish is crude and intentionally not pretty. They do not have to please the eye. Some are faceless as they are twice removed from society’s expectations. I want the viewer to question whether the bodies are monstrous or is it their viewing of the bodies that is.

tittymama2tittymama1tittymamasa3-2

 

Half way through practice 2

It has been quite a while since I last posted. Since practice 1 has passed, I have been acting on the feedback I was given. I am focusing my project on my personal experience. This narrows my focus are but opens it up in other ways. It is helping me to understand my own aversion to gendered consumerism. I am unpacking my own childhood memories and my how I navigated through my own identity journey and body change. As I dealt with the expectations I developed an eating disorder.

At this point, my three points of focus are my own personal experience, my aesthetic approach, and other artists who have made work based on gender and identity.

Aesthetically, I would like to develop a look that would be suitable for children’s publishing. During the Picture Hooks conference in MMU, Egmont Publishing House stated they were interested in books that helped to develop children’s emotional intelligence. This is something I would like to work on in the future. I also feel that for me to successfully communicate my voice, my illustrations need to be of a childlike nature even though the time-frame of experience and events have continued beyond childhood. I can remember being aware of my gender, being aware of a hierarchy and expectations surrounding behaviour. I remember feeling like I shouldn’t be behaving the way I did and I remember feeling like my body was betraying me, almost, as it began to change. I would like to use a childlike aesthetic to trick my audience into engaging with the work before they realise what it is about.

As I have been making some sketchbook pieces I have been referring to the colour pallets that I dissected from the children’s magazines and toy catalogues. I have also included the t-shirt designs that I feel help to perpetuate stereotypes. I have been looking at a number of artists who I am drawn to for their aesthetics; Sara Fanelli; Heinrik Drescher; Jonny Hannah; Molly Martin; to name only a few.

Artists, and other creatives, who address a similar subject matter that I have looked to are Ranir Martar, Louise Borgeois, Angela Carter, Caroline Duffy, Nan Goldin, Sabrina Ward-Harrison.

It is becoming apparent that I need regular guidance or opinion as I worry that my work is too broad for an MA. At the moment I feel like I am clutching at too many mediums and at too many themes. In one way, I have gained focus, but lost it in another. I am deliberately putting myself out of my comfort zone but this leaves me feeling like an impostor. I am practicing my drawing as I have not drawn properly for years, and when I did, I would try to make the image look realistic. When I try to loosen up I feel it looks forced. I am hoping the more I keep on at it, something will click and I will find what works for me.

Here are some of my sketchbook images alongside some quick response images I have made for the Independent Press project. Independent Press is an online creative newspaper. Everyday an illustration is released alongside a story from the day’s news.

 

cry 1get it outlove memonstersoh, you're not fatPintsYou.-are.-a.-Girlthe cavernRivals-attack-Theresa-May-over-absence

BBC Debate: At one point, Mr Corbyn asked “where is Theresa May, what happened to her?” as he defended his own leadership abilities.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/election-2017-40105324Trump's eregious budget

White House denies ‘egregious’ accounting error

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-40023720?ocid=socialflow_facebook&ns_mchannel=social&ns_campaign=bbcnews&ns_source=facebook

She Drew The Gun- Poem

SDTG-1T

Can’t believe what I’m reading when I open up these sheets
they’ve got police getting busier, cleaning up the streets
‘Cos that’s what we need now to make the place neat
take the homeless mans rags,no sleeping bags no place to sleep
Because we’re far too civilised around here to see
an unkempt human being, a broken human being
open up your eyes are you seeing what I’m seeing, yeah
a misplaced made to feel disgraced human being
what it’s not enough to just pretend that you don’t see him
you can’t stand the sight so you’ve got to disappear him
well I hope you feel more comfortable doing your sight seeing
taking pictures, buying fucking Union Jack magnets and keyrings

Life give me something to believe in
No lies, just something to believe in
Am I the only one that’s grieving
these things that belong to you and you and me that they are thieving
It’s time for something to believe in
I’m tired, need something to believe in
Am I the only one that’s grieving
these things that belong to me that they are thieving

And how long until they build a wall and call it a private city
they got walls made out of laws to exclude you and me
Now they take away our right, to fight those laws for free
no legal aid, no more justice, only for the wealthy
Oh but they’re trying to build a more healthy society
So that everybody knows you don’t get nothin’ for free
No scroungers, no living room loungers, living off me
Can I suggest you’re seeing exactly what they want you to see
a monster, cancer, threat to your liberty
How ’bout a scapegoat for their crimes, a victim of the times
everything that your not meant to be
How ’bout a badly prepared, scared human being
how about a necessary cog in their economic machines

If their was no unemployment tell me how would things be
would you still feel lucky to be working 40 hours a week
Well like a caged bird and they got us by the beak
give us enough to eat, enough to sleep, enough to tweet
but there’s not enough space between the ground and our feet
we’re singing songs of freedom but we’re not flying free

Life give me something to believe in
No lies, just something to believe in
Am I the only one that’s grieving
these things that belong to you and me that they are thieving
It’s time for something to believe in
I’m tired, need something to believe in
Am I the only one that’s grieving
these things that belong to me that they are thieving

And this whole world’s got me hurting
got me feeling undeserving
got me questioning my worth in this sad system that we’re serving
found no place in this twisted race for property
is making profit the sole aim of humanity
Protect the banks, bring out the tanks if they disagree
while we’re at it let’s invest some more in military
All our friends have shares so why shouldn’t we

And now the markets are demanding that we give away for free
everything that our grandparents fought for to some company
It’s called wealth creation, yeah, it’s more efficient you see
Well sorry I forgot the free market would set us free
I forgot to only think about I am and me
while brothers and sisters have nothing to eat
brothers and sisters, at home and over seas
So I can’t lie down and I wont let it be
While we are working for a market that doesn’t work for we

These things that they’re thieving, yours and mine
I know that they’re still stealing, but there’s still time
if you feel this way too


Lyrics: She Drew The Gun – Poem

Let’s talk apps: meeting with Digital Innovations.

I messaged the Digital Innovations team back in December after thinking of an idea for a children’s app whilst participating on their Tech For Good workshop (The Shed, 6/12/16). We have been going back and forth since then until finally Paul contacted me to apologise as they have been spread so thinly. He then set a meeting up between Laurie Cooper and I where we met to discuss whether my idea had any legs.

I want to create an app which helps children to believe that any future vocation is possible regardless of gender. I came up with the storyboard during the workshop after we discussed the reasons behind women being under-represented in tech. It was suggested that girls need to visibly see role models in the industry before being able to see themselves. As I discussed my aim with Laurie he asked if I wanted to create the app to empower girls, I said it needs to be inclusive for everyone, not just girls.

Admittedly, I had not done any research as yet as i didn’t think the meeting would happen and I was in the midst of my practice deadline. My partner and I searched children’s apps over the weekend to see if there was anything on the market that was doing the same. We found something with a similar idea about showing many job-roles and you built your own character which looked a little androgynous, but it was a little messy compared to what I have in mind. There was also one that links children around the world and gives a day in the life story in different countries. I really like this concept.

As I searched through, I became quite disturbed by how many pregnancy surgery and plastic surgery apps there are. I’m not sure why there is a need for this? Are they trying to appeal to girls to be interested in the science and medical side to giving birth or are they trying to put girls off surgery by showing what can go wrong? There is room for more research here on my part.

 

There are so many apps that are trying to interest girls in science or engineering, but just as I saw in the toy stores, it’s as if everything needs to be pink to get them interested or the intention has to be linked to something associated with femininity; make up, baking, etc. One of the ones that appealed to me was an app called Fix It Girls where a female team fix things in the home. I really don’t remember things being so pink when I was a child, I don’t remember things having to be a certain colour to feel like they appealed to me. I remember not being interested in certain toys or subjects and looking at what my favourite things were then, seeing how they are not typically feminine and how I felt more ‘tomboy-ish’, but I don’t remember the colour being a determiner.

 

There are an excellent group called Tinybop who are developing educational apps in a visually beautiful way that encourages play. They are different to what I have in mind, however, I wish that they were around when I was a child as I would have been a lot more interested. These are going to appeal to the visual and kinaesthetic learners that could otherwise be lost when using text books and text-book diagrams.

At first I was thinking of aiming it at 4-7 year olds but as we were going through the details we found it may be better to aim at the youngest children possible. Laurie drew on how his daughter is obsessed with pink and he and his wife don’t know where this has come from. They guess it could have been nursery as they both went back to work when she was at a young age. We discussed other options, for example, if we aimed at 7-8 year old we could go into more detail regarding the vocations and refer to government legislation on education in schools about job possibilities, but we would be relying on the child having a certain amount of reading capabilities in order to skip the parents. If we aimed at 4 year-olds, the children would have to have a much simpler content, but if we are aiming young and they need help setting up the app at first, why not start even younger and say 1-4/5 years old?

When speaking about his daughter and his experience that pink does appeal to girls and form a part of their identity, Laurie suggested entering the child’s gender. I do not want this. I would rather a child enter their favourite colour so they feel the app is personally tailored to them and rather than expecting a girl to prefer pink, this gives more flexibility. All children can try the app in different colour combinations and choose the one that represents them the most. To invest the child even further they will be asked to draw something for the background and enter their name and age. Ethical implications were debated and we are sure we have the best ways to carry out the task whilst protecting the child.

Details and thoughts are all collated in the notebooks and the summary email. As advised, I have spoken to a friend who is a deputy manager of a nursery and she is interested in being involved in the design print stage. Laurie has given me a quote for the design spring so I now need to research where to apply for funding or sponsorship. The design sprint will run across 4 1/2 days. We would meet with Natalie for a half day workshop were we would discuss the logistics and see if Natalie’s experience highlights anything we have missed. I would then meet with the digital team and work with the artists to get some wire frames made to show how the app would look visually. There will then be a further quote to get the app up and running.

I am enthusiastic about this and truly believe it could be successful. It would be a great personal experience to work with others who are passionate about what the app stands for as Laurie does. Sometimes it would be helpful to me to have someone else who is on the same page to bounce ideas off rather than going around the ones in your own mind over and over.