Sunday, 19 April 2015

Dragging On...

Ha ha. Puns.

Okay so this project has actually been and gone and completed but it took up literally all hours of the day and was physically and mentally exhausting so it's only now, a week after the deadline and on the last evening of a holiday in Antigua with my mum that I'm ready to go back to that dark time in my life and write it all up. I didn't bring my hard drive with me so I only have a couple of bits to put up now, when I return I can do another post rounding it off. This works out fairly well as this is basically what I walked into my interim crit with where I had to propose my edition and essentially prove it was a good idea.

So this image is vaguely traced out from a This Is England movie poster I was talking about in a previous post, I took the body language and stances of all these aggression looking 80's skinheads and made them into my drag characters, which was actually lots more difficult then it sounds. This scrap of paper is actually very small, so I blew it up to close enough the size of my finished print (it actually was much bigger but I count that as a positive because when I did drawings from it and then had to shrink them down slightly they had even more detail and fidelity). I'd spend the last week getting back in contact with all these people and asking them how they felt about wearing drag and got loads of fantastic insights into peoples drag experiences, positive and negative. I really wanted to use this information in some way because it gives my project a more personal and intimate viewpoint,  and I think that's what makes my work interesting, the fact that I am immersed in what I am documenting.

During my crit I explained all this and it was suggested that maybe I could set it out like an old classic Western movie poster, where each character had a name and an introductory phrase next to them, giving each one a separate personality and angle. I've always been slightly wary of using text in my work, I feel personally that if you need to resort to literally spelling something out it means that your work isn't strong enough to speak for itself, but I gave it a go and cracked out the Letraset. I think this would have worked if I didn't have quite so many different characters, it makes the whole composition like an assault on the brain, there's far too much information. Plus I'm not entirely sure some of the people I interviewed would be especially happy with having their opinions blown up and sold...
I was also getting a bit nervous about making a large scale print, it's extremely intimidating, and I was worrying because I would have to sell them for a price out of my own budget that I wouldn't sell any. Basically I wouldn't spend that kind of cash on my own work so why should anyone else? The answer is because not everyone is a dirt poor student like me, but I brought up possibly changing my outcome into a concertina zine, sell it for slightly cheaper, and it would be less of a commanding object, therefore terrifying me a little less. But even speaking about it in the crit I knew if I didn't go for a big print it would be a decision made out of fear and lack of confidence, so even though in the crit people thought that might be a good plan I decided to stick with the original plan. I wanted to do something big and flamboyant in keeping with the aesthetics of drag, to shrink down my work would be taking a lazy way out.
So that's a round-up for the first half of my process for this project. It's been really testing having to actually consider audience and pricing and actually putting your work into the world for the first time, but that is supposed to be the end game of this degree. And it's quite exciting as well to be honest.

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