Dear Rachel #1

This week was the first official week of my independent study and I think this was the first time I realized exactly how much work was going to be needed in order to complete this. Usually, when you show up to the first day of class the professor hands everyone a syllabus that outlines due dates and expectations of the course. Since this is an independent study, I’m essentially designing the course myself, so I am not afforded the luxury of an outline for due dates. I think this weekend I may take the time to sit down and create a rough syllabus. I really feel that this will push me to actually jump in and begin creating products instead of sitting around and doing research.

Obviously, the research is important, however. During the two hours that I spent in the studio on Monday, I was able to do a lot of investigation into the process of animal testing for cosmetic products and get an understanding of what animals they use and why. By doing this I was able to narrow down and select the five items that I want to focus on creating, and the meanings behind these products. The products I chose are:

  1. Eyeshadow palette to coincide with eye tests that are conducted to see if any of the shadows create a skin irritation or reaction
  2. Lipstick, which indicates the fact that many animals are force-fed products to see how they react when ingested and if they can cause any birth defects further down the road.
  3. Mascara. When products are applied to the eyes of the animals, their eyes are sewn shut and they are then left for the night, and then unsewn the following morning to test for reactions. This little tidbit of information was provided to me from one of my friends whose mom, unfortunately, does this for a job.
  4.  Foundation to represent the multiple skin irritation tests that are done.
  5. Single eyeshadows. At this point in time, I do not plan on having this represent an aspect of animal cruelty but instead touch upon the idea of child slavery in mica mining, which is a key ingredient in eyeshadows.

Along with being able to settle on products to begin creating, I started looking at the packaging of current makeup companies in order to draw inspiration. The biggest thing I noticed was that any company that isn’t cruelty-free has relatively plain and simple packaging, whereas companies that are cruelty-free tend to be a bit more suggestive and creative with how they package and market their products. I decided to take inspiration from the cruelty-free products because I think using images that are indicative of these products will be an interesting juxtaposition for the viewers when they go to interact with these products.

The next step that I want to take for this, apart from setting due dates for myself to keep myself on track, will be to begin creating my stencils in photoshop. I have caught a bit of a snag with this because my computer with photoshop is currently getting fixed, but this will enable me to start creating patterns by hand, or trying out simple images from google to see how colors and size can work together to help increase the messages I want to portray in this series.

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