This post is to act as an archive of the digital drawings I created while in my final year at Leeds Arts University.
I made these drawings to bring attention to the throw-away society I observed right on my door step in the Hyde Park area of Leeds. This started off my whole final year project, the outcome of which you can view here.
Wikipedia definition: Fast fashion is a contemporary term used by fashion retailers for designs that move from the catwalk quickly to capture current fashion trends. Fast fashion clothing collections are based on the most recent fashion trends presented at Fashion Week in both the spring and autumn of every year.
Unfortunately the fleeting and mass produced nature of fast fashion has many negative environmental impacts. Companies strive for turning over the maximum profit above considering ethical production. Its not just Boohoo that essentially use modern slavery, many brands like H&M and Zara now have “Sustainable” clothing lines that they seem to use as a distraction from the damage they are responsible for.
It is often the case that companies outsource their production to garment workers who don’t make a fair living wage. They do this for inexpensive production of clothing that is usually short lived and made by people having to put up with poor working conditions for a much less then fair wage.
Over 100 billion items of clothing are made per year, for a global population of only 7.7 billion.
30% of fast fashion is never sold. It goes straight to waste.
Fast fashion produces 1.2 billion tonnes of greenhouse emissions annually. This scale of production is not sustainable, it is harming people and the planet.
Fast fashion is responsible for 92 million tons of waste dumped in landfills every year.
It is the second largest polluter after the oil industry!
Some Alternatives To Fast Fashion:
The best alternative is not to buy new clothing at all, but to look after the clothes you already own so you can continue to wear those, mending items if you can. @venetialamanna on Instagram is a great source of inspiration for “OOTDs” (old outfit of the day).
Clothing swap shops! These come in the form of pop up events and less temporary shops. You just take a bunch of clothing you no longer wear and swap them out for second hand items that are new to you! Swap shops are often free or require only a small (sometimes optional) donation to charity. Try searching for clothing swap shop events near you on Facebook.
Depop. This is one of my favourite apps, there is no shortage of beautiful vintage pieces, affordable second hand staples and small business that are more likely to truly prioritise sustainability compared to any high street brand that claims to have a sustainable fashion line. Search for any kind of piece you’re after and you are bound to find it on Depop. You can also sell your old clothing on Depop very easily, no need for it to end up in landfill! Check out some of my favourite Depop sellers: @janettojo , @susamusa , @micromall , @selenasshop , @5thseason
Charity Shops. If you have a restricted budget charity shops are a fantastic resource for fairly priced second hand items. They are often great for basic clothing items, but if you dig a little you can definitely find some gems. If you are shopping at charity shops be aware that often the clothing in them can be the only option for people with little money. So be mindful, don’t forget to donate your own preloaded items and avoid using them too regularly, they are not to be viewed as cheap versions of vintage shops.
Vintage. Vintage shops come in a wide range of the reasonably priced to the very pricey. They can be found online and on high streets, so are easily accessible. I would recommend looking in vintage shops if you’re searching for occasion clothing, you never know what they might have.
A text based work responding to situations like, the coronavirus which is continuing to drag along and seemingly not getting any better. A thought/feeling written out.
“Shall all pass?” is a play on the title of the Fronteer Art postcard exhibition titled All Shall Pass . It is a pop art style digital drawing that reads “all shall pass?”, questioning the statement itself. This could be taken as a pessimistic view, however it is intended only to highlight the times when we find ourselves questioning things. A normal human reaction to situations such as the current pandemic.
This will be displayed as a 6×4 inch glossy digital print at the Fronteer Gallery in Sheffield.
After a very intense finish to my Fine Art degree this blog went into a kind of hibernation because I honestly just lacked motivation and energy to write a post.
However over the past month I have regained my productivity and begun making more artwork and even a fancy “professional” artist website.
So, I did finish this giant colouring in (a few months ago now) and it used up a lot of my crayons!
I think it’s interesting because it holds the anxiety I felt at the beginning of lockdown, it was my outlet for those feelings so they all channeled into it. It’s colourful playful aesthetic kind of makes light of the whole pandemic, which is what I feel I needed, despite the severity of it in reality.
Going forward I’m going to be posting more regularly. I will be moving to Glasgow and starting to create more artwork in my own space, focusing especially on environmental activist art, so watch this space!
I wanted to make this post, because it is so important to speak up about this. I have this platform for raising awareness that is separate from social media, it can be viewed by anyone with internet access, not just a small number of followers on my Instagram accounts.
Like many people I am sickened and heartbroken by the treatment of people of colour in countries all over the world, including the UK. The murder of George Floyd at the hands of the police in Minnesota is a tragedy that should never have happened and it is unfortunately by no means an isolated incident. The racist system of black oppression and white privilege has taken the lives of too many over hundreds of years and it has to stop.
I am listening and learning, recognising my privilege and working to support people of colour. This post is intended to promote the work and amplify the voices of people in the black community and other people of colour, as we come together to oppose white supremacy and call for justice.
Continue to be actively anti-racist! Share anti-racism on social media, sign petitions, donate, educate yourself, educate the people around you by having conversations, support black owned businesses, vote!
You can email your MP, @michaelaccullen has created an email template available on Instagram.
For many, joining an actual protest is not an option. But you can protest from the comfort of your own home. Put messages of support for the black community in your window, just as we did with the rainbows for the NHS.
Keep supporting keep spreading kindness.
As @millennialblack on Instagram has put so very well…
As I have previously discussed on this blog, the pandemic has changed how graduating art students will be showcasing work this year. For my practice this has meant not fulfilling what I had planned, in terms of how my work is experienced by an audience. So I thought I’d share my original proposal, prior to the pandemic, before the online degree show is up.
I imagined a miniature park style installation, based upon and representative of my local area and it’s struggle with waste. With terraces and streets brought inside, being consumed by an abundance of bins, rubbish piles and scattered litter. There would have been a projection of a polluted sky in the background.
This is a collage mocking-up how my installation night have looked. The viewers would be like giants among the small structures and the waste would stand out, being larger then the terraces and more saturated.
What I would want viewers to take away from this representation of throw-away society is the severity of the problem and the need for positive environmental change, in ways that they could influence by living sustainably. Its purpose would be to encourage viewers to make small changes like refusing single-use items, by educating them on how to do it.
Below is my mock-up pages for a “welcome leaflet” that would have accompanied the installation. It includes alarming facts and figures among playful tongue-in-cheek games. Aesthetically it is inspired by similar leaflets that you might get when visiting quintessential British towns, usually discussing the locations history or promoting a railway etc. It is kind of cheesy/vintage looking.
The sites are all disgusting scenes of waste. I was comically pretending that they are a kind of ‘selling point’, attracting visitors to “Red Brick Miniature Park”. While showing the pictures of real grimness that inspired this idea in the first place.
If I were to actually make the leaflet I would have gone a little further with “The Facts”. By making clear that our excessive waste has a devastating global impact and drawing upon the more socio-political factors involved.
I would have also gone into more detail on “Taking Action”. Specifically in terms of how we can all take part in environmental activism and call out corporations on their harmful ways.
This piece “It’s Not F*cked” is a simple statement of my opinion that with a combined effort we can make a positive impact on the climate crisis. It is a response to anyone that doesn’t see the point in making an effort against environmental issues because “we’re already too far” gone or (as I often hear as an excuse), “we’re already fucked”.
It’s not Fucked is a sentiment that can also be reassuring in times like this pandemic. It’s a simple, playful reminder that we will get through it.
Is there an upside to the current pandemic situation? It seems that lockdown has its environmental benefits in the forms of cleaner rivers, bluer skies, plummeting drops in traffic and pollution levels etc.
“People need to realise that if we control and cut down boat traffic in Venice and its lagoon then we could all discover a unique biosphere.” A quote from Matteo Bisol who runs Venissa a restaurant on the tiny lagoon island of Mazzorb, he has been campaigning for a more eco-responsible, sustainable model of tourism in Venice.
Apparently the clearer waters in Venice are due to the lack of boats, so there is much less disruption on the muddy floor of the canal causing less sediment to rise up. The amount of tourism in Venice (and many other places in the world) is already showing the resilience of nature. It did not disappear, but with less human interruption it will come back and thrive in places where we are usually dominant.
With all of this in mind and the current reliance on science, I wonder…
Why aren’t we treating climate change like an infectious disease?
We are experiencing a pandemic, which means numerous countries on lockdown, experts all over the world working on covid-19. The majority of people are relying on scientists for solutions and guidance. But when it comes to climate change and environmental issues there are more mixed beliefs. People can be very sceptical of the facts around climate concerns, maybe because they often sound so doom and gloom. We need to listen to environmental experts and not be deterred by alarming information in order to make positive changes. We must not be put off by the scale of the issue and always strive to make sustainable choices.
This excerpt is from an article publish on March 5th 2020, shedding some light on how pollution impacts our health.
It is obvious why Coronavirus has to be treated with such urgency. But it is important to recognise that the climate breakdown also poses imminent danger, the effects of which are being felt in many countries already (wildfires, extreme weather, flooding…). The reason that many people disregard environmental issues is that they fail to make a connection between the cause and the consequences. People view the consequences of climate change as something that will happen in the far flung future.
To sum up:
‘Urgent action to prevent a pandemic is of course necessary and pressing. But the climate crisis represents a far graver and deadlier existential threat, and yet the same sense of urgency is absent. Coronavirus shows it can be done – but it needs determination and willpower, which, when it comes to the future of our planet, are desperately lacking.’ (From the above article, Jones, 2020)
Lockdown has caused me and many of my peers at art university to change our way of making. In this strange time we can’t access studio spaces or specialist workshops and in my case most of my materials, which were locked in at uni.
So we have had to adapt, making use of what we might have in the house, or can still get our hands on!
This for me has meant going miniature. My materials and space have decreased so naturally my work has too. I have been testing tiny diorama -esque displays of the area that I live in which is consumed by waste. The result is a quaint representation of urban Leeds, ironic being that the subject matter is throw-away society. I like how the toy-like appearance gets you to look closer, revealing the dirt, bins and litter.
I made my diorama out of a few bits I had managed to print at uni before the lockdown (they were only intended for sketchbook documentation) and parts of pictures from old magazines. Having to adapt to a new situation has been stressful and I often feel as if I am having to compromise on the quality of my work. But I have definitely become more resourceful in my practice and I am beginning to see the different work I am producing as a new approach rather then a compromise.
Some miniature inspiration:
Elgin Park is Michael Paul Smith’s dream-like reconstruction of a real place.
Chinese artist Zhang Xiangxi uses old television sets to create intricately sculpted rooms.
I recently came across @monstermailman on Instagram. The best inspiration for hyper realistic miniatures, often of everyday objects.
Christine McConnell is a master at crafts. Many of which are beautiful miniature creations, she has a YouTube channel and even her own Netflix show. I highly recommend looking her up to get you in the mood to make!
Another week gone by and the coronavirus situation hasn’t gotten better although I think I’m dealing with it a little better. I’d say this is largely due to a big oil pastel drawing I have been doing in times of stress. It’s literally just the words “Covid-19 Anxiety” but I think since it’s so colourful and fun to draw it takes some of my fear away and gets what is on my mind (and everyone else) out and onto paper.
I will continue to post it’s progress since it’s looking like I’ll have time to fill in the whole thing with crazy oil pastel colours!
Degree Show Cancellation 😦
Like most other art degree end of year exhibitions, ours too (the Leeds Arts University Degree Show 2020) has unfortunately been cancelled due to the damn coronavirus. I am devastated.
With an awareness that there are many much worse things happening because of this pandemic I am trying not to dwell on it too much. It is what it is. But I feel it necessary (and cathartic) to discuss. For us art students this is a culmination of 3 years hard work and learning. It is the event that sets off many graduates careers, where they have the opportunity to showcase their work to important audiences with offers of funding and residencies etc. It is also a celebration of graduating, of finishing an art degree, which in my opinion is a task not to be underestimated, it’s hard!
There will be no physical degree show. BUT there is opportunity for some kind of online degree show. With our creativity and ingenuity we will make something that showcases our practices, it will be strange not to exhibit a physical piece to an audience. But I am excited to see what we come up with!