Art deco patterns

As I am in the process of finishing my Catalyst book, I have been looking at art deco patterns for my front cover.

I was inspired by this beautiful white and gold edition of The Great Gatsby, and as a lover of beautiful books this makes my heart skip a beat every time I see it in a book store.

Art deco patterns are some of my favourite types of patterns. They are very bold and detailed at the same time and they just look very striking and elegant.

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I decided to create the design of my front cover as a dry point print. My illustrations on the inside of my book are very imperfect and a bit rough around the edges, I wanted to hand draw my pattern rather than having a perfectly symmetrical digital one. As my colours scheme is yellow, grey and black, I made a few tests to see which combination I liked best.

In the end I went for the black print on white paper. The other prints somehow clashed with the colours inside my book, the greys not matching up or the yellow looking too greenish.

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Creative Entrepreneurship introduction – Thinking about blogging

Creative entrepreneurship is the act of setting up a business in the creative industry. It means being a designer that is able to understand the consumer’s needs and create innovative business strategies. As a second year design student I still don’t feel as though I really know much about the creative industry and one of my biggest concerns is what I will end up doing after I graduate. I chose this CTS option because I want to learn how to sell my work and survive as an illustrator/graphic designer in this competitive industry which is reputedly so hard to push your way through. Whether you plan on being a freelancer or full-time employee, I believe having an entrepreneurial mindset is what makes us interesting as creators as it shows our abilities to problem solve in an original and innovative way.

In our first session we discussed the purpose of having a blog and how to make it interesting. Some people talked about the blogs they followed and what made them want to visit them regularly: frequent updates, good website design, quality of information, subject matter and viewpoint of the blogger. I personally like to follow blogs that are nicely designed and have good pictures. That is what will immediately draw me in. I mainly like to follow blogs about food, travel and fashion but also blogs about politics and culture. We were given some blog entries to read and reflect on, mine was from Seth Godin’s blog and was about clickbait media. I thought the article was interesting and eye opening, but then one of my classmates pointed out that Seth Godin is always very interested in self promotion. He writes about marketing and business and essentially about how to become a creative entrepreneur, having managed to turn himself into a brand people want to buy into. Nevertheless I enjoyed the article and found that the format of his blog goes hand in hand with the message he is trying to put across: we shouldn’t be spreading easy clickbait information, we should be focused on producing and reading thoughtful and intelligent media.

Reference list:

Godin, S. (2017). The candy diet. Available at: http://sethgodin.typepad.com/seths_blog/2017/01/the-candy-diet.html. (Accessed: 17/01/17)

 

 

Women’s magazines that don’t suck

One of my biggest peeves in life are mainstream magazines for women. They are just so awful that I cannot bear to look at most of them, and when I inadvertently lay eyes on one and can’t help but read a few sentences, a small part inside of me always dies a little and I end up regretting it. I think it is pretty obvious that they represent everything that is wrong with the world and they are the epitome of patriarchal ideology: gender roles and oppression galore! Recently I decided to go on a hunt for women’s magazines that actually aren’t terrible and that don’t make me want to rip my eyes out. I came across this article on autostraddle.com : 15 Women’s Magazines That Don’t Suck, Are Awesome. Some of the magazines mentioned were real gems that I will definitely be looking at regularly. I think women deserve media that isn’t weirdly obsessed with weight loss, doesn’t teach women that they are judged on and defined by the way they look, and that they have to buy countless products to try and change all the things that are ‘naturally wrong’ with their bodies. Generally, I think women deserve magazines that don’t tell you what to want and what to buy, as dictated by the patriarchy.

There are a bunch of magazines and websites out there that empower women, providing articles and news stories about a wide range of topics that include politics, art, movies, books, activism, culture . Having these media outlets is also really helpful in finding information and opinion outside of dominant mainstream sources like the BBC or The Times, for personal or research purposes. One of mine and many other people’s favourites is Bitch Magazine (http://bitchmedia.org) , which is a ‘non-profit, feminist independent media organisation’. The reason I love this magazine/website is because it represents a voice that we don’t usually see in popular culture, it opens up a dialogue and it welcomes any readers that are open to considering that feminism is not just for ‘women who don’t want to shave their legs’. They have been criticised for the name of their magazine before, but they explain that they took a word which was used to shut down women that expressed sentiments that ‘differentiated [them] from a doormat’ and reclaimed it, because being an outspoken woman is a great thing.

Some other magazines that I like include: Vagenda Magazine (http://vagendamagazine.com) and Bust (http://bust.com), The Gentlewoman (http://thegentlewoman.co.uk) and Shameless (http://shamelessmag.com)

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( if you want this funky pin geddit here http://www.bangupbetty.com/shop/liberalvagendaenamelpin)

Reference list

Autostraddle (2012) 15 Women’s Magazines That Don’t Suck, Are Awesome. Available at: https://www.autostraddle.com/14-good-womens-magazines-stuff-thats-worth-your-time-money-136118/ (Accessed: 04/12/16)

 

Feminist Avant Garde of the 1970s at the Photographer’s Gallery

The Photographer’s Gallery, located in a small lane just off Oxford Street, has three exhibitions on at the moment including one called ‘Feminist Avant Garde of the 1970s’, which immediately grabbed my attention and made me decide to go and see it. The exhibition is a collection of photographs, videos, collages and performances which were all made by pioneering feminist female artists in the 1970s. As I walked into the first room I was immediately absorbed by what I saw, and then went from piece to piece and room to room without ever getting bored, having quite a selection of different mediums to look at.

A lot of the work was about condemning misogyny and sexism through images that show the ways in which women are belittled, objectified and sexualised by patriarchy. In that sense, one could feel how dated second wave feminism is compared to today’s era of post-feminism. I think today an exhibition about feminist art would have been more focused on spitting on the patriarchy and empowering women rather than simply demonstrating that women are slaves to society, full stop. It was interesting to go back in time through this exhibition and be able to see how feminists responded to American/western society in the 70s, although quite frustrating because I was expecting to see a part of the exhibition that would show women overthrowing the government and liberating themselves from society’s oppressive expectations, but was left a little disappointed.

Also a very important point to raise was that the great majority of the exhibition showed no evidence of inclusion of women of colour or LGBTQ women in their definition of ‘feminism’. I think The Photographer’s Gallery should have been aware that they were obscuring the work of many women when they decided to only expose the work of white women. The names of Adrian Piper and Betye Saar (whose mixed media work includes collage) could be added to the list of artists who have produced work in the 70s that is closely linked to feminism and to fighting racial stereotypes, which is an integrant part of feminism. I believe there should have been a space in the exhibition for them. The Gay Liberation movement was also happening at the same time as the Feminist movement in the 1970s, which is no coincidence as the feminist movement created more visibility for gay women and gave them more freedom to be open about their sexuality, it would’ve therefore made sense to include some of their work in the collection, like Cathy Cade’s work for example. I think Feminist Avant Garde of the 1970s is an important exhibition to go and see to anyone who wants to learn about the history of feminism but they should keep in mind that the history of women of colour and of LGBTQ women is part of that history.

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Adrian Piper, Wet Paint, 1970
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Betye Saar, The Liberation of Aunt Jemima, 1972
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Cathy Cade, 1973

 

Reference list

Pizzo, J. (2014) 20 Important African-American Female Artists of the 20th century. Available at: http://uk.complex.com/style/2014/02/african-american-female-artists/ (Accessed: 03/12/16)

Spence, R. (2010) How women artists fought back in the ’70s. Available at: https://www.ft.com/content/c181e85e-27e0-11df-9598-00144feabdc0 (Accessed: 03/12/16)

Cade, C. http://www.cathycade.com (Accessed: 03/12/16)

Her Story at the Hackney Show Room

The Fringe! festival, launched in 2011, is a festival all about Queer film & Arts. This year it ran over the course of five days in November, hosting events in different venues across London. This was my first time going to Fringe! and I went to the Hackney Show Room where they were screening a web series called Her Story, directed by Sydney Freeland, which is a story that follows the lives of two transgender women in Los Angeles ( Violet and Paige) as they go through friendships, dating life and work life. We all sat down in a small but inviting room with tinsel covered walls and colourful lights. Before the screening there was a panel discussion about trans representation, led by Victoria Gigante, Mijke Drift, Kuchenga Shenje and Kay Fi’ain, where the audience could also interact and ask questions. This was very informative and inviting, and it really helped put ideas into perspective before we saw the film.

They talked about the importance of exploring non-binary genders on screen and the need to see trans films that aren’t all about trauma, because being trans is about more than that. This really transpired in ‘Her Story’, which was very different from the mainstream films about trans people I had seen before (such as Boys Don’t Cry or The Danish Girl). This raises the issue of cis people directing films about trans people: can you really give trans people the dignity they deserve if you are cis? For instance, in mainstream movies, if there are trans characters they are always played by cis actors, which is problematic. Her Story tackles the subject of transphobia within the LGBTQ+ community (in this case the Lesbian community). In the series, Allie, who is a cis lesbian woman, is writing an article about trans women and meets Violet. When she later tells her friends about this, they react with extremely transphobic comments, using the word ‘tranny’ and saying that she wouldn’t want to lose her ‘lesbian gold star’ by dating a transgender woman. This was an unexpected twist for me and I think people that aren’t part of the LGBTQ+ community often don’t realise that being in that community doesn’t mean you can’t still have oppressive views towards its’ other members.

Because the series was made by lesbian and trans women themselves, I found that it was really refreshing and sincere. James and Paige’s relationship was one of my favourite things about the show. James is unaware that she is transgender and Paige struggles with feeling the need to tell him but at the same time wanting to enjoy their relationship without worrying about his reaction. I think the show is brilliant because it tells an honest story about the dating lives of trans women in a positive way, which is not centred around the idea of suffering. It addresses transgender issues without stereotyping them, and it doesn’t ‘otherise’ transgender people in a way that alienates them from society. There needs to be more shows like Her Story on mainstream TV.

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24 hour project

This week we were required to do a 24 hour group project. It started on Wednesday at 2pm and ended 24 hours later. The brief was ‘Man-Woman-Machine’ and our group decided to make a stop motion animation about birth, comparing the womb to a machine.