The 2017 Women's Leadership Forum was March 16th at the Seaport World Trade Center in Boston. Arnold Worldwide created a campaign called Leave Your Mark for the event where women were invited to doodle all over a women's room walls, which Arnold decked out in illustrated wall decals. I was invited to design some of those wall decals for the event along with some other beautiful Massart alum including Krista Perry & Lauren May (aka Monster Tea Party)! Big thanks to Sophie London for inviting us to participate in such a unique project!
Very excited to be a part of a big group show called Miss Representation taking place at Junior High Gallery in LA December 10th through January 6th! The show sheds light on the lack of diversity in mainstream culture and the art world. It will feature works made by women of color artists, a terribly under-represented group, exhibiting works subverting iconic white-centric imagery and will allow WOC artists to exhibit work that expresses their experiences as such. Curated by Erika Paget and Maritza Lugo! Big thank you to both for inviting me to participate!
I made two pieces for the show! As an Italian-Puerto Rican girl who has experienced life in predominately white settings, it was very confusing to grow up looking latina but being surrounded by very white counterparts. Plus it didn't help that every girl on all my favorite TV shows seemed to be white and thin with straight blond hair (like every female character on Full House, Lizzie McGuire, Sabrina the Teenage Witch, etc). It raised a lot of questions - "Why are my elbows and knees so dark?" "Why are my arms so hairy?" "What's with these frizzy baby hairs framing my face?" "Why do my thighs have to touch?" So when you feel like you don't fit in, it certainly takes a hit on your self esteem. I wanted to confront that feeling with the both pieces I made for the show. Like Farrah subverts that iconic 1970's poster of Farrah Fawcett, highlighting her blond hair and thin physique, with a curvy brown girl assuming the same pose. Feeling Strange puts to words that ever-present feeling of insecurity and alienation.
Check it out! It's called OkStupid and it's about my experiences with online dating.
It's not the first time I've made a zine, but it is the first one that I put a lot of work into and I'm actually pretty proud of it. I made a few in college too with very limited runs. It seems that all my long-form/narrative illustrative artwork has to be about heartbreak and/or emotional upset ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
At any rate, I just wanted to share some of the material and interactions that inspired me to make OkStupid and my process of going about making it.
In the summer of 2015, I decided to join the online dating community for a few reasons: I figured I should actually try and make an effort to date since college had just ended and I had no real luck there, and it would serve as a good distraction for an unsatisfactory day job, and I was lonely (duh). So I signed up and was immediately overwhelmed with messages, pictures, and users visiting my profile, ranging from totally lewd, predatory and horrifying to hilarious, ridiculous, and corny. I think I was only active on the site for 6-8 weeks, but I racked up over 1000 "likes" and nearly 300 messages (see some real winners below).
This was especially funny to me, because real life interactions were not like this for me, and probably isn't for most people. But it was also really depressing. For someone who isn't exactly known for charming the fellas, you would hope that at least a community like this would be easier for get your footing in the dating world. These websites have their advantages in making introductions easier, but it's still a total shitshow like real life. So I continued to feel a lot of pessimism and skepticism and negativity and constantly felt a nauseating combination of helpless, hopeless, and just plain creeped out.
I immediately thought that all of these experiences and feelings would make for great material for some project. Shortly there after, in keeping with my nature, I figured a zine would be the best way to communicate my thoughts and feelings about this stuff.
I pulled from a variety of artists and illustrators for inspiration for this zine. I really love the emotional honesty, sharp wit, and sincerity in the work of artists like Tracey Emin, Louise Bourgeois, Jenny Holzer and Courtney Love's lyrics in her band Hole, but I love the bold and colorful quality of work by illustrators like Mike Perry, Lea Maupetit and Emily Eldridge. So I decided I wanted the zine to have a confessional, honest quality with an exciting bold illustrations.
Above (in order): Tracey Emin, Louise Bourgeois, Jenny Holzer, Emily Eldridge, Mike Perry, Lea Maupetit.
After gathering up my source materials and deciding on the visual direction from other artists, I also looked to my own sketchbooks, which are basically just diaries to me; a visual representation of me crying and complaining about whatever's upsetting me in my life. I knew having my point-of-view prominently displayed would be what makes it a worthwhile project. Here are some spreads from sketchbooks I had kept up until that point:
Finally, I got to work! I sketched out how the whole thing would be laid out, used Illustrator to create a rough pattern for the end pages, and got to painting. I primarily used gouache throughout, but I also used a good deal of white gel pen and some pencil touches. I'm always so busy between my day job and my small etsy business, so it ended up taking months to get the 14 pages painted, plus the end pages, plus the front and back cover, but I got it done!
I made a tiny, extremely rough little book dummy with just enough detail just to figure out how I should set up the scanned in paintings to be printed. I print the copies myself with my Epson Artisan 1430 and assemble them myself!
My etsy shop Over it Studio just turned one last week! I figured I'd get this blog thing goin' by sharing pics from the markets I've done this past month and some process pictures of the stuff I've made.
First (obviously) I have to make everything, which I do out of my bedroom! Usually I'm getting this stuff done on a free weekend or on a weeknight after a long day at work, hopped up on caffeine so I can stay up and get everything done as I'm sloppily tripping over the mess on the out-of-frame floor in my room.
For the past year of tabling at markets, I'd usually set up all my stuff just flat on the table so people could only look down at my items. I could see that other vendors had figured out ways to prop up their items, which makes things more eye-catching from a distance. SO I finally invested in some vintage barbie lunchboxes to help me out! (And by invested I mean got them for super cheap on etsy) (I luv etsy)).
Now I've got these lunchboxes that prop up my work and keep it organized enough for shoppers to sift through! Plus I repurposed some old picture frames that I had/thrifted, re-painted them, and made them into sticker and patch displays too. So far so gewd!
And here's all my set ups from the last three markets this month! La Brasa was nice because it takes place at a beautiful trendy restaurant and the event is super organized. Next was my first time doing the South End Open Markets, and I tell ya, doing those big outdoor markets like the South End Open Markets is tough! Definitely have a lot of respect for those vendors who do that stuff every Sunday May thru October; it's a lot of work transporting those big tents and weights and constantly making merchandise! Last was the Black Market presented by the Boston Hassle and Ignore Rock n' Roll Heroes. Love this event because it's just my audience -- mostly college kids or 20-somethings looking for cute and edgy accessories from underground culture and small businesses. One of the only markets where I feel my curse word-ridden apparel is actually welcome!
Check out this lil feature my shop got on The Modern Girls Blog along with some other Boston area makers!