BABEWORLD READING GROUP: The Carrier Bag Theory of Fiction

Lectures/Talks, Reading Groups

The_Carrier_Bag_Theory_of_Fiction_-_Ursu

The Carrier Bag Theory of Fiction by Ursula K Le Guin, lead by Elena

  • the human aspect- not sure if we agree that heroes are the driver of a story, necessarily- people in the modern day enjoy watching people do mundane everyday activities- i.e. ASMR videos, or the TV show Gogglebox
  • the container as the most important human invention
  • collecting and storing v.s. the spear and violence
  • you harvest something but you need to get the excess home, the excess that you cannot eat then and there
  • the container being more important than what is inside
  • if capitalism is the container- there might be one or two good things inside the container, but the container still needs to be changed/remade
  • oppressive systems and structures could be seen as containers
  • the work we make, as marginalised groups, might not be as meaningful or important if not for the “containers” we are in
  • are we submitting to the container by being part of it, by taking part- i.e. being working class and going to uni- are we becoming part of the problem (container)?
  • can we spread the knowledge and power we have acquired?
  • are we forgetting and leaving behind our original communities (containers)?
  • you carry everything with you- you are the container for your memories, experiences, ect
  • personally I think this text needs to be handled carefully lest it be spun and used for TERF (Trans Exclusionary Radical Feminist) rhetoric with the undercurrents of how the container is inherently female (Read: womb, the act of harvesting, home, childcare) juxtaposed with the spear- violence, thrusting, penetrative, adventure, male
  • I am not saying this text is inherently transphobic, just that we need to discuss these interpretations and be aware of them
  • this text is a product of the times- in the 80s Science Fiction was dominated by men, the “hero” role of fighting aliens, so as a woman Science Fiction writer at the time this must have been how she felt trying to write her stories at the time
  • Also in that era trans people had much less of a voice and presence, which is important to note
  • “It is the story that makes the difference”
  • the idea that people only want to see the extremes- easier to turn into a narrative, to simplify something and make it easier to digest, but doesn’t show the full nuance and scope of a situation. It is easier to visualise a hero saving a village than a mum feeding her kids, and you don’t have to learn from it or put yourself in it- because no one is that extreme
  • It’s easier to focus on one or two individuals rather than the whole system they are propping up and are part of- i.e. the current Dominic Cummings scandal- what he did was wrong and he should be fired, but the media focusing on him means that we aren’t looking at the wider issues- that the whole political party in power are corrupt and doing a huge amount of terrible things, that getting rid of him won’t really make that much difference to the bigger picture, he would just be replaced by someone else equally (or more) corrupt
  • the human connection can be really important; it can make a story feel more real, more relatable, you are more likely to learn something
  • “It is a strange realism, but it is a strange reality”
  • science fiction as an extension or mirror to reality, rather than a mythological tale of heroism
  • the book or novel as a container for a story, rather than a spear travelling in a linear direction
  • not relating to this violent hero narrative and deciding to create your own narrative
  • you don’t always have to be the hero of the story, you can be a villain, or just a person- not a hero or a villain, just a human being
  • the best stories are where things go wrong, or you expect something to happen and it doesn’t (or not quite in the way you planned/thought) and where life happens
  • life is messy and doesn’t always have a clear conclusion, needing a conclusion can be reductive
  • the world will always need saving somehow, there will always be things that need to change, there is no clearly defined finish line in real life

Anna Suggested this podcast, linked below:

Designing a Poetry Anthology for the Make Our Rights Reality Campaign

Commissioned Works

MORR Poetry Anthology Digital

ourminds_frontcover

Anthology front cover

I recently undertook a commission to design a poetry anthology for the Make Our Rights Reality campaign– a youth led campaign for a human rights based approach to mental health which I have been part of for a few years. I have designed a digital PDF version (linked above) as well as a version for print and an EPUB ebook version. It can also be found on the campaign website here.

This isn’t my first time designing a book for digital PDFs and for print, but it is my first time working to a company brief- they supplied the content as well as their branding guidelines (colours, fonts, logos, ect) and I maintained a dialogue of sending drafts and getting feedback then making changes as needed. It was also my first time working with the EPUB format- I had to essentially throw the graphic design rules in my head out the window as EPUBs don’t keep formatting such as kerning, tracking, and leading as they are made so that sizing and fonts can be changed to enable easier reading. Images had to be removed for this version too as they were far too small and not resizable on the EPUB, as well as removing the decorative bits of design and page numbers. I also had to reformat the text so that titles, author names and the actual poems were all in one text box to keep the content in the right order- everything kept shifting and moving to the wrong place every time I exported it as an EPUB. I’m really pleased that I stuck it out and finished this version in the end as I learnt a lot about that particular format and would feel more comfortable doing this if needed in the future.

Overall I am pleased with the work I have done on this and the charity I worked with are very happy so my first ever commission was a success! My main criticism of myself was that it took me longer to complete than I would have liked- the EPUB was trickier than I thought it would be to figure out (and isn’t as aesthetically pleasing because of the restrictions of the format) and with quarantine happening feedback was slower coming which slowed down my process. I think next time I’m going to give myself a tighter deadline and schedule to stick to to make it easier for myself and to deliver faster. I’m looking forward to receiving my own printed version too which will hopefully be printed and sent out soon!

READING GROUP PLAN AND NOTES FROM GROUP: The Blob by Dr Charlotte Cooper

FAT Project, Lectures/Talks, Reading Groups, Uncategorized

I am leading next week’s Babeworld3000 reading group, and have chosen to examine a zine made by Dr. Charlotte Cooper, The Blob. This post is essentially my notes covering what I want to discuss during the group so that I have something prepped!

I have chosen this text as it is something very close to my heart- I have lived my whole life as a fat person, and like the author I was was particularly affected by the Obesity section of the now closed Medicine Now exhibit at the Wellcome Collection- particularly by a sculpture by the artist John Isaacs, called “I Can’t Help The Way I Feel” which is the piece that inspired the zine we are reading. I think speaking about marginalisations is super important and I have learnt a lot from our reading groups so far, and whilst we talk about a lot of different intersections- class, race, gender, disability, mental illness, sexuality- we haven’t given much time to the discussion of being fat, and what that means in the society we live in. I think this has a lot to do with how we view being fat. We see those other things as things we cannot change about ourselves, or things that we are born into, but being fat is often still seen as a moral failing, or a flaw that we can work on and change, as opposed to simply being a different body type or being a product of various other factors. All this is why I decided to suggest this text, so that we can open up the discussion and get to grips with how being fat can interact with our other marginalisations. 

The sculpture mentioned above provoked a very visceral reaction in me, so much so that I made a video using clips I filmed on my phone of it, interspersed with clips of my own body and other related imagery called “I Can’t Help The Way I Feel: My Fat Body”. It also inspired me to run a drawing workshop by the same name, which wasn’t as successful as I had hoped, but which has continued and evolved into the FAT Project I am currently working on, including the zine I made during my residency at The Playground and a series of sculptures  and drawings I have been working on.

I think it’s really important that fat people control our own narratives; if the sculpture, which Dr. Charlotte Cooper nicknamed “The Blob”, had been made by a fat artist who was exploring their own relationship to and feelings surrounding their body and body image I think my reaction to it would have been a little different. I would still have had the visceral reactions of disgust and uncomfortable-ness that it provokes, I think, but knowing that someone like me had made it to express themselves would make it feel more genuine and relatable. Finding out that is was in fact made by someone who is not, and it seems never has been, fat felt like a slap in the face. I am not saying that thin people can’t have body issues or eating disorders (for clarification, don’t jump down my throat!!) but for someone to come along and create this narrative, to decide he knows how fat people feel about being fat is just really gross in my opinion. It isn’t the only work of his that sensationalises, trivialises, and makes the fat experience seem “gross” or “other”. He has made a whole series of fat sculptures where they seem to melt onto the pavement and ooze as they dominate the spaces they are installed in.

john-isaac-i-can-t-help

“I Can’t Help The Way I Feel” AKA “The Blob”

Points we could discuss:

  • This idea of co-opting or taking over narratives from marginalised groups- when people who do not belong to a certain group of marginalised people try to tell us how we feel or how we should feel (i.e. how THEY think we should feel) it takes spaces/opportunities/audiences away from those people
  • The “Headless Fatty” concept
  • Fat as symbolism for wealth, greed, laziness, ugliness, as a fetish, or as the “maternal”
  • doctors and fat people
  • body positivity movement being co-opted by thinner, white, cis, straight people when fat queer people, fat people of colour, fat disabled people, FAT fat people are still facing stigma and trauma at higher levels
  • the links to poverty and fatness- as discussed in our first reading group session
  • The Adele situation currently happening
  • The idea that fat people are a modern creation- see Historical Fat People Instagram

Then we’ll see where all this takes us I guess!

Further reading/watching/resources:

Please feel free to message me with other resources that discuss fatness, and specifically fatness alongside other intersections (i.e. being a fat person of colour, being fat and queer, being fat and LGBTQ+, ect)

EDIT:
Really pleased with how the group went, everyone seemed to engage well with the material and topic and I really enjoyed taking on a more active role as leader- I hope to do it again sometime in the future!

We also discussed:

  • Jameela Jamil- the idea of a thin person starting the “I Weigh” movement, how it feels as if she is taking up space that an actually fat fat activist could be using, how it has gained popularity because she has thin privilege and is famous- yes she is doing good work, yes she has had issues with body dysmorphia and eating disorders in the past, but she is undeniably thin and conventionally attractive and so her spear heading the movement in this way is harmful in the long run
  • Instagram
  • fatness and dating/relationships
  • Georgina discussed fatness and sex work
  • Feeling like you have to over perform femininity as a fat person- always having a full face of makeup, looking well put together, not wearing certain clothes (i.e fitted/bright colours/revealing), having certain haircuts/styles, always having to look your best so as not to fit the fat slobby stereotype
  • fatness and disability/mental health/eating disorders
  • Lizzo and Cupcakke – online bullying, especially aimed at fat, black women who decide to be visible
  • power dynamics and institutions- having to censor yourself and beg institutions to be given a platform/commissions, and being blacklisted when you refuse and are critical of them
  • “But is it Healthy?” – this idea of thinness equating health and fatness meaning someone is unhealthy- it isn’t anyone’s business, and thinness doesn’t always equal health, you CAN be fat and healthy (but your health is no one else’s business!! If you wouldn’t ask a thin person about their health then why do you demand to know the medical history of every fat person you meet??)
  • Reclaiming harmful narratives and turning them into positive experiences that raise awareness or celebrate the truths of marginalised groups- i.e. Dr Charlotte Coopers’ dance piece in front of The Blob “But Is It Healthy?” or my drawing workshop and subsequent fat projects
  • bullying of fat people is still seen as publicly acceptable because it is seen as something a person can actually change (unlike other marginalisations) and as a moral failing
  • Lockdown weight gain memes and posts and how it can affect those of us with eating disorders and those of us who are larger anyway
  • The idea of your body being public property

READING GROUP WITH BABEWORLD3000: The Problem With Imposter Syndrome

Lectures/Talks, Reading Groups

EXCERPT 3 IMPOSTER SYNDROME
(there are a few pages missing)

Notes made during the 3rd reading group The Problem With Impostor Syndrome is a chapter from a book called Steal As Much As You Can by Nathalie Olah:

  • the writing style uses a lot of academic language to make it more palatable to academia
  • the way it portrays mental health in the workplace is very centred on middle class white collar working environments- it is wildly different in working class workplaces
  • the dissonance between big brands and companies pumping out mental health slogans who at the same time pay their workers minimum (i.e. not liveable wages) which is a large factor in poor mental health amongst the working class
  • “Advertorials”- editorials in magazines that are meant to subtly advertise a product or brand they want you to buy into
  • M&S LGBTQ sandwiches- they could donate to LGBTQ charities any time of the year but they did this during Pride for publicity, made into a meme/sell-able novelty/joke/gimmick for clout – banks/companies at Pride ect
  • Brands co-opt marginalised people’s narratives and then toss them away when it’s no longer profitable
  • Kim Kardashian and her white saviour complex
  •  appropriation of platforms- safe spaces are taken over and appropriated by brands and the media
  • Advertising that masquerades as activism, whose tactics go a long way in corrupting our language and stripping our lives of a certain sensitivity; because no sooner have we found a way to articulate our feelings, then it’s commandeered by an advertsing industry which by default reduces it to cliche, leaving us once again unable to articulate ourselves…becoming emotionally impotent”
  • allies need to know when to step back and listen
  • placing responsibilities with the individual rather than the systems in place that cause the difficulties they are facing via phrases like “reach out” and “love yourself” than brands pump out
  • social mobility- forcing people to perform and change things about themselves in order to move up the social ladder
  • people forget or ignore their privileges and assume that because they have been successful that anyone from their background or similar can too
  • “radical education” – Radical to who???
  • solidarity is a choice- you can choose to act or not act, whereas people you are in “solidarity” with don’t necessarily have a choice
  • “code switching”
  • Whilst it might go against the ideas peddled by most self-help and management books, I would suggest that rather than internalising the structural shame imposed by the corporate workplace, as well as by certain seats of learning and social circles, it is important for all of us to remain vigilant to the many ways in which is dehumanises and strips us of our identity” we are always told it’s our fault for not being good enough, not the systems failing us, is the message we’re fed- we just need to try harder! We need to realise that these are lies and stay vigilant to these messages we are being fed as they impact how we treat ourselves and others
  • we are sold the idea that the “working class dream” is to no longer be working class
  • discussion around accents and how it can change how we are perceived, understood and treated; and how we change our accents to fit different situations or as a way to distance ourselves from where we are from
  • To do this, it’s essential to remember that in the market economy, you- your body and your mind- are no more than a commodity in the eyes of your employer, and that any attempt they make to improve your wellbeing is for the sake of securing profit” CORPORATIONS AND BRANDS ARE NOT YOUR FRIENDS!!! YOU ARE A COMMODITY TO THEM
  • “…find ways of putting that experience as an imposter to good use: writing about your experiences, harnessing the dynamics you witness to mount political movements to create a more empowered workforce” this bit kind of doesn’t match up to the rest of the text in my opinion- it takes a lot of mental energy to be able to do these things, on top of already working probably full time and trying to manage your life. When you are already mentally ill/a person of colour/working class/trans/gay/under privileged in some other way being expected to then be an activist and fight for your rights on top of all this is a really big ask! Yes we are angry, but we’re too exhausted to constantly be fighting it on top of the everyday battles we face.
  • Allies need to step up and help marginalised people in this and support them- stepping in when you can see your friends struggling under the weight of their marginalisations
  • An example: If you are cis and in a meeting rather than waiting for your trans/non-binary friends to announce their pronouns, jump in and introduce yourself with your pronouns! This takes the pressure off of them, normalises the conversation, and gets everyone else to share their pronouns without making your trans/non-binary friends feel awkward or uncomfortable and making them feel like they have to out themselves just to have their pronouns respected

BABEWORLD3000 Reading Group: Intro to “Taking Up Space”

Lectures/Talks, Reading Groups

TAKING UP SPACE EXCERPT

Notes made during the second BABEWORLD3000 reading group, reading the introduction to Taking Up Space: The Black Girl’s Manifesto for Change by Chelsea Kwakye and Ore Ogunbiyi

  • the expectations placed on minorities- remembering where you come from, but not allowing yourself to be tokenised
  • the pressure to succeed that others who are not marginalised will not experience, or at least not to the same degree
  • being black and British as a unique experience
  • “For as long as I can remember, I’ve loved the fact that no one could pin down my identity. I never wanted to have one defining characteristic. I wanted people to see that I could be all of them at once. I wanted to be complex, be able to change my mind, have opinions and interests that didn’t necessarily make sense all the time. My identity was never just me: it was perfect distillation of everyone around me.” 
  • the quote above particularly spoke to me as I have Borderline Personality Disorder- I find my personality becoming defined by different aspects of my identity, because I don’t know what else “I” am, and it often feels like my personality is made up of bits I have stolen from other people- certain opinions, likes, dislikes, that belong to people I know, rather than being my own
  • already exhausted by microaggressions and you then have to educate your peers every time your marginalised group is mentioned or discussed
  • reductive- reducing people down to one single aspect of their identity- i.e. being black, or working class, or disabled- you are a “black artist”, or “disabled artist”, ect- you become an involuntary spokesperson for that whole group of people
  • a lot of us talking about how to our families and friends we sound “posh” or “well spoken” but in the art world we never feel good enough, people point out our accents, ask where we are from, we have to change parts of ourselves to fit in, dilute our identities and break ourselves down into bite-size digestible chunks
  • maintaining the effort of being “presentable”
  • discussing how in the media black British people are rarely called British, despite being born here or having spent the majority of their lives here- for example the recent thing with the Windrush Generation, compare this to African Americans who are considered “American”. Also discussing the COVID19 pandemic currently happening and how the media is reporting the fact that British people of colour are dying at higher rates but skirting round the reasons why this is happening- institutionalised racism- and still refusing to call these people British. One example is a BBC News headline from a few days ago: “Coronavirus: Black African deaths three times higher than white Britons- study” – Why is it worded this way, as if to imply that they are not British?
  • having to hide disabilities and mental health issues to get into these institutions
  • people who have privilege often don’t want to acknowledge that they have privilege
  • “It would soon become my most defining characteristic, in a place in which I had thought I would have licence to explore every facet of my identity.” Obviously the author is talking about being black at uni, but for me it relates to being reduced to a few parts of my identity- i.e. being working class, fat, LGBTQ+ (when I eventually came out) and mentally ill. It felt like the only acceptable bit of identity that I could explore during my degree at uni was being queer, the other things were not seen as acceptable- I shouldn’t flaunt my fatness, or my mental illness, or be “too working class” whatever that means. Even in LGBTQ+ circles though, particularly in the LGBTQ+ society at my uni I was made to feel not “queer enough”- I hadn’t yet dated a woman or other genders apart from cisgender men, and I didn’t and still don’t look stereotypically “non-binary” (i.e. skinny, shaved head, masc clothes, wearing a binder to change my chest)
  • I made a conscious decision on my MA to be loud and outspoken about all aspects of my identity, but it is exhausting to always have to be that token person to bring up accessibility, classism, racism, ect
  • “As a minority in a predominantly white space, to take up space itself an act of resistance.”

Reading Group With Babeworld3000: “The Pleasure Button: Low Income Food Inequality”

Lectures/Talks, Reading Groups

FIRST READING – THE PLEASURE BUTTON- LOW INCOME FOOD INEQUALITY- EXCERPT FROM KNOW YOUR PLACE
PDF of scans of the text above

Notes made during the reading group:

  • Fish and chips on a Friday night with my Granddad
  • sharing of working class experiences via the reading group
  • “aftertaste of regret” – this hit me because immediately after eating or drinking a “treat” you start to regret it and think about all the things you should have spent the money on instead. Also as someone with an eating disorder I am also hit with the guilt that I shouldn’t have eaten something that unhealthy, and start to spiral about that
  • coca cola- Andy Warhol, shared experience- everyone knows what it tastes like and can have the same experience
  • “press the button” really like the rhythm, it flows well
  • “the pleasure button” it’s exactly that, scratching an itch
  • being working class isn’t a monolith- it can vary area to area, and is really diverse- there are some experiences that are universal, but some that are dependant on various factors
  • This text is definitely very focused on the British working class experience, but it does feel super white
  • Right wingers see working class people as pawns but we are also demonised by the left
  • commodification of working class aesthetics and foods by non working class people
  • “Distracting myself from depression” “I associate bad food with free time”
  • the more visible markers of class and the invisible boxes that are tangible but harder to see
  • fast food is immediate relief and a break from reality- nothing exists but that momentary enjoyment- it can be all we have in an otherwise mundane and hopeless existence full of worry
  • facts mixed with lived experience and feelings
  • real life lived experiences are just as valid as facts and figures, if not more so
  • the current education system needs to change- representation needs to improve, and the curriculum needs to become more diverse and accessible, the system needs to change so that we don’t just have to conform and fit into the system in order to learn, achieve and become successful- we shouldn’t have to perform to fit in

This is the first time I’ve been part of a reading group like this and I really enjoyed it! It was nice to be part of a group of working class artists like myself (I found at uni I was always in the minority in this regard) and to be reading a piece of work specifically about class with these people; we all found we had shared experiences and common ground despite being from a range of places in and outside of the UK. The essay focused on food and it definitely rang true to a lot of my own experiences growing up and even now living alone in London and being self sufficient- my choices even aged 25 are deeply rooted in my working class childhood.

Antidepressants Monoprints and Crit with Babeworld3000

Personal Projects

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I’ve made myself a little DIY monoprint set up for my room consisting of a sheet of perspex and a roller and ink from a home linocut kit. The above photos show the set up and the process for the series I made about 2 months ago (I was going to wait until I had scans to upload but I decided to just upload the photos from my phone as I want to document what I’m doing regardless). I knew I wanted to write, but with monoprinting your prints come out reversed and I am rubbish at writing backwards, so I wrote out each thing on tracing paper first which I then flipped and placed on top of the sheet of paper I was printing onto, so that I could trace the backwards writing- meaning the prints were the right way.

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The series consists of 13 prints- 3 are the names of the 3 antidepressants I have taken (one of which I am currently taking), and then 10 of the side effects I have experienced from these medications.

I made this as I have just recently switched antidepressants and am now on the third kind I have tried since I first started taking them aged 17, and I wanted to bring attention to some of the side effects that particularly effect me. Some of these side effects I didn’t even realise I was experiencing because of my medication- for instance the increased sensitivity to sunlight one- I used to tan really well and it took a lot of exposure to the sun for me to burn, but over the years this has changed and I now burn very easily and become easily fatigued if I spend too long in the sun. I also get dehydrated faster when it’s hot and it was only last summer that I read somewhere that it is a common side effect of long term antidepressant use. I think it’s really important to discuss relying on medication to be able to function; there is a lot of stigma still particularly towards those who take medication for mental health issues, a lot of misinformation, and a lot of jargon.

I was stuck on what to do next with this series of prints, so I put them aside for over a month to figure out where I wanted to go with it, and then saw a few days ago that Babeworld3000 are doing bi monthly zoom call crits and a reading group, so I figured joining the crit would be a good way to get feedback on this work. They gave me some really good stuff to work with and I enjoyed being able to feedback to others- it was something I really missed from uni!

I’m going to add the notes that the peeps who run Babeworld3000 made during the call once they email them out, but here are the things I jotted down just after my turn:

  • Make it into a zine- educational (one of the people who runs Babeworld3000 also took part in the exhibition I was in with WANK Collective last year and really liked the zines I displayed- she suggested making these into a zine and others agreed)
  • liked that it’s in my own language, more accessible, feels more real, honest
  • Printing onto the side effects leaflets?
  • Side effects bingo- everyone who has also taken these kinds of meds really connected with it and we joked about creating a “side effects bingo” which could be something fun on it’s own or as part of a zine
  • liked the medium
  • side effects bunting

To Do:

  • add notes from Babeworld3000 once they are emailed out
  • consider how to turn the prints into a zine- do I want to monoprint the whole zine, is this feasible? Or do I want to scan them in and create the zine digitally?
  • decide what else could go in the zine/what I want on the front and back covers, what size, is it going to be stapled, hand stitched, or just folded?
  • Take better photos or scan the prints in for portfolio

EDIT: CRIT NOTES FROM BABEWORLD3000:

Kat

  • Monoprint series for feedback
  • How to show? Maybe zines
  • Your past zines could be shared with a zine made from these new prints in sort of a library. 
  • All these perspectives on your own experience shows how multifaceted you are
  • The prints are extremely relatable with the whole group raising hands or saying “same” 
  • The bingo sheet at the back of the zine is an extension of this – like Instagram bingos where we can share parts of ourselves in a humorous and relatable way
  • The zine format is accessible and flips the whole doctors pamphlet thing on its head 
  • print on the list of side effects but using an accessible code of language – colloquial and loaded language.

Further GIF Experiments

Personal Projects, Work in Progress

3d_gif_attempt-Recovered.gif

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Making a gif banner seems a bit hit and miss- the lowest down one is the best one I’ve managed to make so far, but I’m still not 100% happy with it so I’m going to keep experimenting until I get it right. Also it turns out RedBubble only accept PNG or JPEG for their site banners so I’ll have to do something else for it.  I do want to get to grips with this process though and I would like a new gif banner for this blog, so I will keep tinkering!

Photoshop Experimentation

Personal Projects

3d_gif_attempt

I am making a Redbubble account to sell some of my designs on, as all my work has been cancelled due to Covid19- I would prefer to print my designs onto products first i.e. via screen printing at 3rd Rail Print Space, but it is shut due to the pandemic and I need a form of income during this time.

I was playing around on Photoshop with the aim of making a banner for my Redbubble shop and to replace the gif banner currently on this blog. It was going to be a larger version of the one I already use, but as I was messing around on Photoshop I came across a way to make the text 3D, which I did, and then began playing around to animate it- resulting in this. I watched a few Youtube videos, but mostly just figured it out as I went.

Given it is my first time using the 3D functions on Photoshop and given how long ago I made the first gif I am really pleased with how this turned out, however I am working on it further as I want it to be a little bit slower (so it is easier for people to read) and I want it to flow a little better and look less clunky, so I’m going to keep working on it!2020-03-29.png

FAT Research: V&A Visit

FAT Project, Personal Projects, Photographs

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Above: photographs taken of classical marble sculptures in one of the rooms at the Victoria and Albert Museum, taken on my phone

I spent about 3 hours in this part of the museum drawing and photographing some of the sculptures shown above, partly for practice as I am wildly out of practice in terms of drawing, and also for research as part of my FAT project. I wanted to look at the body types and poses in particular, which is why I have photographed and sketched them from different angles.

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Above: photos of a variety of sketches done yesterday at the V&A, taken on my phone. Some are on A3, and some are A5.

I started off trying to realistically capture the forms and shading using pencils and pastels, but I wasn’t entirely happy with my efforts, so I then used blind contour drawings in felt tip pens to warm up a little, before shifting back to pencil, the moving on to simple line drawings using just a fine liner pen to capture the forms. I have been struggling lately to motivate myself to get out and make art, due to overworking and poor mental health, so even though I am very critical of the drawings themselves I am deeply proud of myself for getting out and travelling across London to the V&A to actually make some art.

I think given how out of practice I am the drawings aren’t a total loss, I still managed to capture the forms and that was the main point of the exercise- to practice and to study the body types and poses, which I think come across in my drawings. I particularly like the line drawings, they aren’t perfect but it was freeing to draw directly with pen and simplify the sculptures down to the bare essentials. Also with the pencil and pastel drawings I tried harder not to erase too many of my mistakes- I quite like seeing the bits I’ve re-positioned and redrawn as it shows the development of the drawing, and it was helpful to get me out of my perfectionist mindset.

I would like to go back and draw some of the sculptures in other rooms, mainly focusing on European, as I am white British and I am examining the lack of diversity in classical European sculptures in particular. I think next time I might take some other drawing materials such as watercolours or inks to try and do some more gestural studies. I would also like to try redrawing the sculptures with different body types (I will probably use images of myself in similar poses as a reference) and possibly experiment with digital drawings on Illustrator.