Tuesday, August 14, 2012

A busy week; a revelation

There is so much going on lately, I can barely keep my head on straight. If I were to blog about it all, we'd be here all night! I did a screenprinting workshop over the past weekend, and had a blast teaching people how to print on clay. (A friend of mine saw this on Facebook and was like "What?!? You can screen print on clay?!?!?" Mwah hahahahaha, this is how I suck you in...) I made a screen of my Picard mug designs, and ended up printing the Star Trek insignia/communicator, which I cut out and plan to make into a brooch. It just so happens that the freakin' enormous gaming convention Gen Con is this weekend, and two amazing actors, Nichelle Nichols(!!!) and Wil Wheaton, will be guests of honor there. I pretty much have to go, wearing my handmade pin, with Maddy in her Star Trek onesie. Do you think it'd be weird if I asked them to autograph my child? But I digress... I've been nerdin' out pretty hard lately, I gotta say;) Between getting to teach clay techniques and making all this Star Trek stuff, I'm pretty much exploding with nerdiness. It's making me pretty happy:D

The Kickstarter is going amazingly well - I'm at $2200 now, which is soooo amazing! I met with a program coordinator with Big Brothers/Big Sisters today, and we're putting together a workshop with 10 littles and their bigs. That's 20 girls and women getting to make awesome art, for free! And it's all thanks to you awesome people! Anyway, I've been hard at work in the studio, in my sketchbook, and on the internet sending out press releases and messages to people. It's exhausting, but exhilarating. I'm just buzzing with energy and ideas! I feel like I could do ANYTHING!

I finally finished painting these two plates I made months and months ago. I kept meaning to sit down and paint them, but I just now got around to it. They are for another show that is in the works with some friends of mine... and I will let you know all about that in the near future. SPOILERS;)

This is a jar somewhat related to the Girl Stories series. I made it before the idea had really crystallized in my head; I was thinking of girls and princess culture at the time, and had just finished reading a poem about feeling like a queen rather than a princess. I liked the connotation of that - power, strength, dignity, respect, wisdom - nothing at all like the pinky-pink princess culture we market to our young ones. The queen here is still not a girl of action, though. She was even mouthless and pale before I began filling her in. The old fairy tale princess tropes creep into my head too, I realize. I gave her a big grin, and made it so she's making the seedlings grow, rather than just wandering through them placidly. She looks a bit like my sis-in-law Mariah now.

On a more serious note, I feel like this Girl Stories project is really making me more conscious of the work I make, and what it's about. I've done a lot of pretty things, without really thinking much about the aesthetic I was referencing, or why I made girls that looked this way or that. I've been thinking a lot about the lack of girls of color in my work. My sister in law is black, and I was inspired in part by her love of nerdy things to do this project. Meanwhile, I was still drawing nothing but little white girls. I realized that just this week, and I was gobsmacked that I hadn't even noticed, or thought about it. I have to keep working to be conscious of my own sense of privilege if I truly want to help promote the voices of all women, not just the white ones.


Conduit Press said...

you CAN do anything Lori, and you are;) I'm so proud of you! and I adore that Queen jar

Candice Hartsough McDonald said...

You're doing great!

Although it's awesome you are wanting to branch out and represent other cultures, don't feel too bad about yourself that you kept drawing little white girls. I'm pretty sure it's just normal for a particular race to draw its own race. I always draw white people, too, without really thinking about it at all, that's just what happens. I do work for this magazine, and they have to ask me every now and then to draw a particular race, or have a mixture of races. Anyway, I'm just saying, you are normal :D

Lori Leaumont said...

I'm not saying I feel bad necessarily (although I did feel a bit bad about specifically being inspired by my sis-in-law without it occurring to me to make a character that looked like her); it's just that I want my work to be more socially conscious.

My project is about addressing the lack of well rounded and diverse female characters in pop and nerd media. I could probably count on one hand the number of women of color represented in video games, and I can think of maybe two that aren't sexed up in some way. The reason we're lacking in these areas is because most of this media is dominated by (white/asian) men, who by default make characters they can relate to (and women they find attractive, or that fit characterizations of women they've seen in similar media in the past). I'm doing the same thing, aren't I? Saying that I draw white girls because I am white (which isn't even entirely true; I have olive skin, and my Dad's side of the family comes from Haiti several generations back) is just not good enough.

This isn't about beating myself up or feeling guilty; it's about being aware of what I make, and why. I don't completely discount all things I've made in the past. I made those things at that time in my life. I just want to be sure I"m moving forward.

Thanks for kind words, Candice!