Hello all, Vanessa here again. February’s theme had me thinking of the favourite things I like to document. I find that there are moments or thoughts or feelings that don’t always ‘fit’ in my other documenting modes. So in 2015/2016, I used a Basically Bare album to create a State of Me album. In here, I can document whatever, be it trivial or so super important. I covered the album with fabric remnants from Mexico, most featuring Frida and sugar skulls.
I love having this very personal space to document some of my more intense feelings. The kicker is the mixed media papers that come with the album. There are three chipboard dividers, watercolour pages and acetate pages. I really love having such different papers to use.
This month, I decided to document some of the anger I have been feeling over the events of January…namely the arrival Trump to the presidency and the Women’s March on Washington and all the flack that has come out of women expressing their opinions. I was told my art about the whole thing was a ‘disgusting display’ by a woman in a forum where one can share their art and get constructive criticism from it. In this case I was told to ‘take off my little ‘pussy’ hat and act like a real American’ (which is hilarious because I’m Canadian). In any case, that event prompted my first page:
I made that watercolour self-portrait because my printer wouldn’t collaborate and print the photo I had taken of myself with fist in hand. Sometimes when things go wrong it leads to something cool! It seems to me that things have been very polarized lately and even more so now. I wish for there to be a middle ground where people can speak and not immediately be told to shut down (from both sides).
Seeing the Women’s Marches made me feel like a part of something. And I hope that feeling of coming together collectively stays and can lead to something lasting. The hands coming together was my way of expressing this. I used a stencil by Roxanne Coble to make the hands; some hands I traced, some I used ink and stamped through the stencil. The next page is one of the acetate ones from the album. I love to use paint markers and sharpies on these pages.
I like that the other page peeks through! Here is a better look at what I drew on the page: neon pussy hats.
When the woman made the comment about my art and told me to take off my ”little ‘pussy’ hat”, she added quotation marks around the word. But if that man is going to use that word in such a way, I say we can reclaim it and use it as adults can and that there is power in reclaiming that rhetoric. Pussy Riot has been using this way for years 🙂
The next page is on a watercolour paper that also comes with the album. I painted the whole page with bold warm colours, colours that represented both my anger and the energy that emanates from this whole thing.
I used plain old scotch tape to make a hinge and add the ‘she’ tag. I have had that tag in my stash for a long time and it is just so perfect here! The woman’s fist I drew on Dura-lar which is a transparent film. It is milky and super smooth and I love using it to add layers and interest.
So there you have it, my anger at the present situation -and how that situation affected me personally- documented.
I hope that this inspires you to create you own space for dialogue. A dialogue with yourself to document your most intense feelings of vulnerability, joy or pain.
To see more of my State of Me album visit: