Figure and Ground acrylic painting early on. Charcoal drawing progress. The success of the THIR posters. What do all these having in common? Moving into the fear, out of the comfort zone.
I wrote early on about not knowing how to push myself out of my comfort zone whilst also trusting my intuition and gut instinct. I feel more like I’ve got that figured out now: don’t avoid doing something just because it scares you, but try to stand by your guiding principles whilst you do it (trust yourself). Part of this as well is don’t be afraid/resistant to collecting a broad scope of research, even if you feel like you know where to go with the work. Give your intuition other things to look at to. You can’t come up with something if you didn’t plant it in your subconsciousness.
Life drawing has been so helpful in developing my drawing skills and style in general, breaking the hurdle of feeling like I ‘couldn’t draw people’, and forcing me into new ground with media that made me very uncomfortable. I need to make sure I keep going and devoting energy to it.
I’m producing a lot of work, learning a lot of new skills, and because of having to face a lot of evaluation and feedback (which I’ve never formally had before on any of my artistic work) I’m learning to know how to take advice alongside knowing what I like + who I am.
I think I’m improving at making research of other artists + practitioners and documenting that research a more organic part of my process. I’ve also been working on being comfortable with my research being more visual and broad and less pages and pages of dense notes on every single thing I look into (feeling like I hadn’t *done* research if I hadn’t written an essay was a residue of my academic training). I think I’m succeeding at these things by trying to do my research on my phone whenever it occurs to me, and immediately uploading screenshots and quick notes onto my blog, so that leaving a record and research trail is an intrinsic part of the doing the research, rather than something left on the to do list for later/never.*
Most successful project? Favourite project? Are they the same?
Probably trans happiness is real. Because it combines the factors of feeling important to me, operating on multiple strands (shirts, bags, posters, stickers, online, etc), and being the project that’s had the most interaction with the external world. Also possibly because it’s my latest project.
(how does it compare to other activist campaigns I’ve researched ? See more below)
Areas for Improvement
*The above said, there’s still plenty of room to look especially more at other artists in my research, and to neaten up the way I put it on my blog to make it easier to re-consume later (eg, cropping screenshots nicely, being careful to choose good images for cover photos for posts).
There’s further room too in the evaluation process, to compare my work more to other artists, especially those used in research and inspiration. For example, in evaluating how successful my small ‘trans happiness is real’ stickers are, I should also be looking at them in the context of Site Seekers and Notes to Strangers. Eg: when I was looking at the site seekers’ stickers in context on the streets of Oxford, I noticed that a lot of them had experienced a lot of water damage, and the colours and ink had bled and become a lot less legible because of it. It’s because of this that I decided to try using sticky back plastic to DIY-laminate my stickers, which did help with waterproofing, and a lot of my stickers continue to be noticeably more legible than the site seekers ones which appeared in the same week. The DIY method does also keep the stickers looking clearly hand-made, rough and ready, which is an aspect I liked of the site seekers work, because it makes the work feel very personal (important, given that the messages are things like ‘it’s okay not to be okay’ and ‘trans futures aren’t tragedies’). The next step is to try to find a way to produce the stickers which allows them to be weatherproof as well as very sticky (which the sticky-back plastic isn’t necessarily) but also still personable and handmade. It’s because of this that I’m resisting simply producing a design with a digital font and getting the stickers made professionally. I’d rather find a way to draw my own digital design at least.
I could also stand to remind myself to leave fewer stones unturned (and unrecorded) in the planning and research phases of work, rather than hitting on an idea that appeals to me and heading straight to development (like I nearly did with the youtube channel idea this afternoon). Trust my intuition and gut, but make sure I’ve shown it a range of things to possibly get drawn to.