At the beginning of lockdown I made a huge to do list - from new goals, to old projects that haven't yet fabricated. My creative flow before lockdown was very much hindered by my 'part-time' (ending up to be full time most of the time) job, resulting in a struggle to create as much as I'd like to. So I knew I had to make the most of all the spare time I now have - a dream come true! Of course, I don't want to romanticise this time, as our situation is extremely worrying, but I'm trying to take all the positives I can from it by building myself up creatively, physically and mentally.
I've been working through my list by focusing on a different project each day, to try and avoid a big blurry mess. There's been a huge influx of daily & weekly drawing challenges on intsagram, which really help to break up the days whilst bringing a little burst of newness to your work flow. A few great examples I've been following are Artful Daily Challenge, WOI Fridays, Mintea Challenge & Drawn Together Challenge. I've finally started to use twitter more frequently too, which has been another amazing place to find quarantine challenges & other helpful resources for creatives in such strange times.
I've also been using this time to read and listen to podcasts which would usually get put on the back burner. By reading I mean the kind of things that will help me on my creative journey. Andy J Pizza's 'Creative Pep Talk' podcast series has been so helpful. I still have tons I want to listen to but so far, one thing that really resonated with me is to question who I am as a creative. What is my purpose, and who do I want to connect with through my art? Hearing this couldn't have come at a better time, as one of the main goals on my list was to start a new personal series. Asking myself these questions has really helped to me to come up with new ideas for an off-shoot of my existing series - 'My Body Is My Temple.'
I brainstormed different topics that i truly care about, from environmental issues, to health and wellbeing. 'My Body Is My Temple' focuses on the bond between females and nature, which I use as a symbol for peaceful protest equality. I wanted to focus on creating more of a connection with my audience for this off-shoot series, so decided to focus on body image and what are often perceived to be flaws. I, a long with far too many people, have really struggled with my body image, through things people have said to me in the past, and the twisted social ideals that we have become accustomed to. In recent years I've introduced yoga, a healthier lifestyle, and surrounded myself with positive and supportive people, which has definitely enabled me to see myself in a more positive light. I still have a way to go, but I realised this has been such a huge part of my life and I know it is for so many others, which is why I've decided to make this the main focus of my new series.
I plan to magnify certain areas of the body that don't fit with beauty ideals and are generally perceived as dirty or imperfect. It has always frustrated me that the natural form is seen in this way. Everyone is entitled to dress/look however they choose, but personally I think the natural look is the most beautiful of all (plus it takes so much less time to get ready!). Essentially, I want to portray these 'flaws' through the beauty of nature, in hope of reversing people's perspectives, as after all, these things are natural! We have a long way to go, but how amazing would it be for those things to just be accepted and loved as part of our natural state, as they were intended? The fact that we tear ourselves apart over these things, for the sake of the opinions and our appeal to others is so sad.
I hope that by attempting to reinvent these flaws in a way that may be perceived as more beautiful, but through the use of natural elements such as plants and flowers, people may look at themselves and others in a different way. A more positive way that reminds them of our true and natural forms. The first piece I've worked on focuses on body hair! I am yet to to let my own body hair grow naturally, but I love that more and more people are beginning to embrace it and I can definitely see myself doing the same in the near future. I'm sure it will continue to become more and more loved more socially accepted, the same way it was only a few decades ago.