Today I had my first tutorial with Clinton since November and I had been dreading it. Since having to stop working on my research through December and January being dedicated to Contested Territories, I am well aware I am behind on my practice. I have managed to read more on it, but not get fully stuck in to making. I mentioned how I felt disheartened since we found out last week that the pieces of work are not assessed. After feeling a fraud for wanting to exhibit an image I had made a couple of years ago, I felt it was only right to make a zine to map out some the protests going on across the world. Now I feel this was unnecessary and I have taken the long way round. The project has taken me a lot longer than expected, possibly four times longer, due to making the work and external factors. After looking through my work with Clinton, it is obvious that I haven’t exhausted all options for the images. I could have played a bit more. And what is painfully obvious now it is pointed out, is the type. I think I have clung to the sentiment of cutting out the words from the newspapers and magazines to show the desire for anonymity. But realistically, it isn’t the most aesthetically complimenting way. I do not know where the time has gone. When I look at what I have made I can’t understand why they have taken me so long, especially when I haven’t experimented with variations and type, but I genuinely have worked every minute I could have on it.
It was brought to my attention that this project is still not a waste in the sense that although the work is not being marked, I will still have learned from it. I have made the conscious decision to not read the academic reading and focus on the editorial reading. Being interested in editorial illustration, I am interested in the information that is readily available and aimed at my target audience. This is one medium that contributes to the way my target audience thinks. It is also a medium that divides and persuades. I am interested in how my views differ greatly to my family’s and I wonder if that is partially down to reading and watching different media coverage. It is also critically in tune with what is going on right now, not histories people have written about. I engage with this and articles can fan the flames of my area of interest and will help me generate work in response. After so much academic reading and not much practice, I needed this ignition. The subject matter is in-line with my interest in identity. Contested territories has also made me start to learn InDesign, question my layout, what information needs to be included or not, and led me to think about print. I have benefited from the conversations with the group and it has helped me to understand more of what is needed to be done to form an exhibition. I have been pleasantly surprised at how well the group has come together, I didn’t expect that from a group of 20. Some have taken a more back seat approach but that has given others room to share their expertise and there have been no objections to proposals, only the generation of ideas.
I visited the print services at The Shed today to get a rough estimate on pricing for my zine and for my large print. I was quoted very little for the zine but I am expecting the price to rise once I take my work ready and go through the different kinds of paper. The large image for my exhibition is 7ft x 4.6 ft. I want her to be large and occupy space. She needs to command attention and own her body as other people judge and debate it. The Shed can only print 3ft at the widest. If I scale her down she is not going to have the impact I need her to have. I could either test reducing her to maybe 6ft and seeing how she looks if I trim the sides of the image. Another option is to print her out in two halves and join her up. Although this is a risk as I have requested that she has a space to free hang within the room from one of the pipes running across the ceiling; so she occupies the space in the room and not against a wall. If I join her and there are any lights behind her, I run the risk of a visible shadow where the seam is. Angela asked me to call into The Shed again so I can speak to her or her team.
Returning to the subject of my practice, I spoke to Clinton about how I have started to question and splice the language used in children’s magazines aimed at girls and boys. I would like to highlight the differences and make the language nonsensical, ridiculous even, and hopefully people may look at the material that is aimed at children. I felt sad reading the girl’s magazine. The tasks were all about love, baking, fashion, best friends; sickeningly sweet. Asking to write a letter to someone they love, enlightening them to the fact Valentines Day is the 14th February, and asking them to tick the correct box in correspondence to what Barbie and her friends were wearing. The magazine also asked them to send in a photograph of themselves to be in with a chance of winning a free future edition. Gary Spicer mentioned not patronising kids when making my work yet I feel both of the magazines I worked through did this. The girls magazine stated the competition entrants must be three years and over and on another page pictured a girl of eight. There are five years of advancement blurred into a pink blancmange. The boys magazine did include a girl, in an almost token-like way. She was allowed to review one film out of ten and that film was Beauty and the Beast. The language used in this magazine was more varied and the whole feeling of the magazine was more of a real life approach. There were a lot of photographs of character figures rather than illustrations, and more screen shots of games and films. The readers were encouraged to ‘check this out’, go on the internet and feed them with ‘facts’ from pages headlined ‘all you need to know about…’. It was still very stereotypical; computer games, football, superheros, and fart jokes, but I can almost forgive them. It is conditioning, but I was more disturbed by the Pink magazines way of encouraging the girls to stay at home and thread some paper ribbons through a heart. The girl’s magazine also prompted the girls to ask for adult help numerous times where the boy’s magazine encouraged self-improvement and felt more independent. I was concerned with one piece around the Best Superhero Powers section that included ‘Rage’ stating that the madder you got, the more powerful you become.
It was suggested to try out forensic questioning. To choose a typical gendered spread and pick it apart. Question everything about it, why were these colours used, the shapes, who are the publishes, who are the designers, what is the aim, where does the reference or narrative come from, who is the real target audience? Really dig deep. My picking apart of toys should also be seen as 3D sketches and experiments rather than focusing on trying to make a finished piece or illustrating a particular section of text. The information will already be imbedded, so I need to relax and be guided by the questions the work asks back.