Get your mind out of the gutter. I'm talking about altering books.
The instructor for my second class, Lorraine Reynolds
, says she's happiest when she's working in the studio, "gluin' and screwin'."
|Lorraine Reynolds' work|
So we proceeded to glue and screw in "Books Unbound." And guess what? I didn't have my traditional Artfest Meltdown.
This is monumental for me.
|Waaaay back in 2007|
First year: Meltdown in my very first class; I freaked out because I was falling behind and thought I wasn't 'getting it right.' Second year: freak-out on second day, and I actually left the building, I was so upset. Third year: mini-freakout in second class, full-blown attack in third class.
Fourth and final Artfest: Instructor says, "Does anyone know how to glue a block of pages together?" Why yes... yes I do. "Does anyone know how to cut a niche?" Why yes... yes I do.
So I'm actually prepared to pull the rest of the class techniques together into a semi-cohesive narrative! Whoo-hoo! "A short history" right there.
Putting together my ephemera and photos, I realized I could tell a "short history" of racial stereotyping from the European colonial era into the modern era. (What, your mind doesn't automatically go there?)
The "apology" text is from a postcard advertising a documentary about the Tuskegee experiment.
The background image is a postcard reproduction of an old French ad for Negrita liquor. A mammy figure serves up the bottle with her own image as a "negrita," essentially posing herself as an object of consumption.
The transparency is from one of my mother's baby pictures. My mother grew up in a time when blatant stereotypes in advertising (and elsewhere) were common and unremarkable. I placed her so the curve of her arm echoed the curve of the woman's arm in the ad.
That combination led me to create another vignette: a white woman examining a black woman (a cousin of my mother's) as if she were looking at an exotic specimen.
On the cover, I framed another French ad, this one for chocolate, and overlaid it with a framed image on glass of soldiers firing a cannon. Colonial wars for territory... anyone? England vs. Spain vs. France vs...
Yeah, it's a wee bit heavy: the subject matter as well as the book itself. But the week before Artfest, I'd spent a lot of time thinking of the stereotype at work in the Trayvon Martin murder: black teenage boy = threat. And it's come out in my work.
But I feel a bit lighter having dealt with a heavy issue. And the complete lack of freak-out in class feels pretty good too.
Tomorrow: enough seriousness. There's shopping to be done at Vendor Night.