Dear Rachel #10

I have officially finished the screenprinting process for all of my works today. This weekend my plan is to film the video I want to have displayed during my exhibition. I haven’t quite decided what I’m going to do for this video apart from the fact that I will be doing people’s makeup. I have been debating between two ideas; either painting people to look like animals, or painting them to look disheveled and beat up almost. I might try and incorporate both ideas into the video, but I think this will really be determined by the number of people I have available who will let me paint them.

Additionally this weekend I’m going to create posters or gondola displays as they’re referred to in the beauty retail world. These are the display posters you see when you enter into Sephora or ULTA that are advertising a brands’ most recent collection. I have a general idea of what I want to do for this display but I’d rather just let it be organic but definitely still try to incorporate some of the ideas I already have. Along with creating the giant gondola display, I thought about creating individual posters for each of the works that incorporate the design elements used within the screen printing process. Whether I create them or not will really come down to how much free time I have this weekend to create extra works.

I’m feeling really good about the spot I’m in because I still have a whole week and four days to get everything finalized for my exhibition and that is more than enough because right now it’s just coming down to creating the final touches and assembling everything and I think the whole show will come together really well.

Completed Work #2

Today marks exactly two weeks until my art exhibition, and at this point, I have only one work left to finish, along with the items to go inside the boxes. I will be posting updates of the third and fourth works once they are assembled next week, but for now, I am just trying to work through the printing process before going back to assembling the boxes.

This second work is supposed to be a mascara package and draws inspiration from a few different Tarte products for the design elements. The print in the background is cheetah print, but instead of being the solid spots like a normal cheetah, the spots are instead made up of rat and rabbit footprints, to create the half-tone appearance that is on the box. Originally I wanted it to be more obvious that the print was made up of these smaller footprint images, but conceptually manipulating this design was harder than I anticipated, but I still really enjoy the effects. On the box, it is a bit harder to depict the larger image of the cheetah spots, so I plan to display two flattened prints from this series to hopefully help people make that connection.

For the title, I looked up synonyms of the word decay and came across the three words depicted on the front of the box. I chose these words because they help draw implications of animal testing as they can usually be found within any article that talks about the process of animal testing. I chose to use synonyms for decay because that is essentially what happens to the animals during this process, especially in regards to eye testing for cosmetic products. Some animals are unfortunate enough to be exposed to many different chemical substances, which break down their eyes, eluding to the corrosion and irritation.

Lastly, one side of the box has an ingredients list, along with an image of a dead rat. During my midterm review, my advisor Rachel mentioned playing around with ideas such as an ingredients list or the leaping bunny certification images to create a greater illusion to makeup packages. The ingredients list on the back is taken from an actual mascara product that exists in the market. However, mixed in with the actual ingredients used are things such as steel wire residue and the Draize Test. These items are things that are used within animal testing, where the Draize Test is the name of the eye test conducted, and steel wire residue is often left behind in the animals tear ducts once their eyes are sewn shut. I chose to weave them into the ingredients instead of creating my own from scratch because I think it’ll create a more visceral reaction from people reading the box when they come across items that don’t seem like it belongs. The dead rat on the bottom is meant to act like the leaping bunny certification, but be more along the lines of the idea that this product is certified to kill animals, which is often what happens once animals have served their purpose for testing.

For this series, I printed on four different colored papers; green, white, pink, and navy blue. I tried to stick with the same color inks for all the colors because some colors don’t show up as strong on some of the papers, which will hopefully cause the viewers to interact with the objects more in order to better understand the intent and purpose of this series of works.

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Dear Rachel #9

After a few setbacks this week I was finally able to get my third work almost completed. I say almost because I blew out the text I was planning on putting on this piece while I was washing it out, but I’ll be in the studio tomorrow to fix that, which means that by the end of Saturday my third piece will be finished. I’ve decided that I’m going to get all my objects printed before I start assembling them because the assembly process is tedious but necessary, so I would rather leave those finishing steps for the end when I can take my time knowing that everything else is finished.

I also want to get everything finished so that I can start making and putting together the small touches, like making objects to go inside the box, along with supplemental materials like a video and some gondola pieces like they have in actual makeup stores to promote my pieces. It’s been somewhat difficult to get myself focused on this work, especially at the start of the week when I found out the plans I had for my future didn’t quite work out, which was a bit discouraging. But, now I’ve found a good rhythm and I find myself speeding through the printmaking process, while still being able to deliver quality prints.

I’m excited to slowly start to get everything fitted together for my exhibition, and I’m actually ahead of schedule right now, which is reassuring to hear since the rest of my classes start getting hectic. My friends and family have been good sources of motivation to produce quality works because everyone seems very excited to come and see what I’ve been working on all semester. Now it’s really just about getting myself into head rhythms with areas outside of printmaking to pull everything together.

Dear Rachel #8

This week I started working through my second work, which will be due this coming Monday. I decided that in order to meet the deadline I had it would be easier to print a bunch of different prints on different colored paper and working with one color scheme for ink as opposed to trying to create a bunch of different objects on different shades of paper, each with a different ink scheme. This proved to be a little difficult because I chose four different colors that were really hard to find an ink that worked with all of them. Because of this, I realized I’m going to have to be spending a lot more down time waiting for screens to dry this weekend, but it will be worth it because I’m really happy with how the prints are turning out so far.

I worked to incorporate some of the ideas we had talked about during my midterm critique, and I liked the way they looked on the photoshopped stencil, so I can’t wait to see how it will contribute to an assembled work and make my statement stronger. One of the things we talked about during our critique was maybe having an ingredients list and not making it visible or barely visible from a distance. I tested this effect today with using black text on navy blue paper. This text was printed on top of a white pattern so it is clear that there is something additional there for the viewers to interact with, so hopefully, that will encourage them to look closer at the objects. I still have one stencil left to finalize, but then other than that I think I’m now in a really good place with everything to just keep printing and working through these next couple of pieces.

 

Completed Work #1

After a very successful meeting with a visiting artist, I went back to create some changes in order to create my final series of the lipstick tubes. The biggest change I made was in regards to the text on the actual box. The text on the original series of prints I created was taken directly from the product packaging I used to model the design off of. I did this because I liked the word “vice” and how it tied nicely into my commentary of consumer purchasing habits in regards to staying ignorant of the practices that are often used to get the finished product onto the shelf. However, when talking to the visiting artist he mentioned there may be synonyms for vice that could be used to create a more direct message in regards to what I was trying to get at. Looking through a list of synonyms for vice I came across the words corruption, sin, wrong, and ill. I felt like corruption was the strongest word to display on the front of the box because in today’s society it has so many connotations, but is also very fitting for the main idea.

On the other side of the box that contained text, I changed it from saying “this is my vice” to saying one of three things; “this is ill,” “this is wrong,” or “this is ill,” to act a both a commentary on the purchasing habits, but also to serve as lipstick names as well. For the final display I plan to lay out a series of five boxes, but inside three of them will be medical syringes filled with a substance (gel polish) to create a sensation of actually interacting with products as if the viewer was shopping, but also cause them to question the significance of the syringes and wonder what purpose they may serve within animal testing. Each of the three syringes is filled with a different colored substance to go along with the ideas of being different “shades” within the product range.

For the slash marks on the front, I kept the red that appeared in the first round of printing, as it is indicative of blood and getting cut. However, I added blue in as an additional printing to create depth within the box, but also to represent the color of blood before it interacts with oxygen within a body. I liked the way this turned out, especially on the final five boxes, because it created a nice three-dimensional affect on the box and adds some nice layers as well. I’m happy with the way this first round of boxes came out, especially for being my first time. I got a lot of really good feedback during critiques and meetings and I’m excited to utilize them to create a series of works that really demonstrates the ideas I’m trying to get across.

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Dear Rachel #7

This week we finally set a date for my exhibition for April 25th, which means we’re looking at four weeks to finish four new projects. Before spring break the week before last I was able to finish my first project for the lipstick box, so now I have a really good understanding of how to glue the boxes, prep the screens and do the screenprinting in a timely manner, which will hopefully help to get everything else done that I need to. At this stage in the semester, it’s less about wanting to spend time in the studio and more about needing to in order to present a set of works that I enjoy.

One of the aspects we talked about on Friday during my midterm review was playing around with text on the boxes apart from product names and such. This is something I had not considered, but I think it opens up a lot of room to play around. I think it would be interesting to add text, and this could be a good chance to incorporate the laws that some countries have about animal testing when it comes to the cosmetics industry. I’m going to start playing around with different text options and researching what sort of text is usually on cosmetics packaging to hopefully get some inspiration for this.

Additionally, something I want to start doing more of is research and more posts about what I’m uncovering during this project. I started off really strong doing that, almost as a means of avoiding actually printing, but now it’s fallen behind. Since this is a field that I want to get into after graduating from Rollins, I think it would be good to keep researching it in order to understand the full issue and see if there are any gaps in how to fix it. Those research posts have really been helping me become more educated and informed on this issue that is important to me so that I can actually present knowledgeable opinions and arguments to people when I talk to them about why I’m passionate about ending animal cruelty. There’s a lot here that I would like to get accomplished within the next four weeks, and I know it’s all possible to do so I just have to push myself in order to get things done.

Child-Friendly Villages

The last bit of research I did into the cosmetics industry was in regards to companies’ involvement in the perpetuation of child slavery in order to mine mica for eyeshadow products. During this research, I uncovered that major industry leaders, such as L’oreal and Estée Lauder, are involved in an initiative called “Child-friendly villages” to break the cycle of child slavery in the developing world. As a Social Entrepreneurship major here in college, I was interested in doing more research into this initiative to understand how it’s set up, and to see if it actually is producing the desired results.

There is an article published back in 2008 in the India Times about these villages, which indicates that these villages have been around for a substantial amount of time, at least 6 years before the cosmetics industry decided to get involved. This initiative appears to operate on both a national and a community level basis, which helps to significantly increase accountability and willingness to participate in the desired behavioral changes. Often times with social initiatives, especially those lead by NGO’s from developed countries, individuals will come in head-strong and ready to enact change, but they do nothing to involve the members of the communities actually affected by the problem at hand. This only serves to perpetuate the problem even more because the local populations are not trained or educated on how to fix the issues at hand.

With these child-friendly villages, members of the communities affected are elected to a represent their communities on a national board. By doing so, each representative is able to present the story of their village and express their needs in order to get unique solutions, rather than trying to have and NGO implement a “one size fits all” approach. The individuals on this national board then serve as the heads of a smaller community-based group that works to ensure the programs and solutions are being implemented correctly, and that the families within their villages are not working against their cause. By keeping everything community-based, it makes the individuals in the villages more likely to work in favor of the new initiatives rather than against them because the changes are being mandated by individuals in their communities, and most likely these head individuals have been affected by issues such as child slavery.

As mentioned in the last research post I did, the main purpose behind these child-friendly village initiatives is to get the children out of harm and into the education system. Often times the children are forced into slavery because of the conditions of their home-life, and usually due to lack of education. If their parents were not educated, there is a lesser chance of the children being educated because no value is placed on the importance of an education and the power it has to break cyclical poverty. Many of the children who are representatives in their communities for these initiatives from the national board  have developed dreams of becoming teachers, lawyers, and doctors as a result of the

Many of the children who are representatives in their communities for these initiatives from the national board have developed dreams of becoming teachers, lawyers, and doctors as a result of the empowerment they’re given through education and through helping their villages improve their future by forcing families to get their children into the school system. Doing so also placed pressure on the other organizations to help increase the education system in these areas in order to keep children out of the cycle of poverty and slavery. In the India Times article, it states that

In the India Times article, it states that in the years since this program was established, 238 villages had converted to the status of child-friendly, while 43 were in the conversion process. One village head was able to convince 48 families to enroll their children in the education system within one month of being appointed to represent his village on the national board. To date, over 100,000 children have been rescued from child slavery as a result of the initiatives of NGO’s and the national board, and that number is sure to rise with the increased involvement of large multi-national companies such as those involved in the cosmetics industry.

Obviously, these villages have been established from a good amount of time, and have clearly proved effective enough, so vouching support for them is a strong business move by those large cosmetics corporations. It’s nice to see that many organizations are placing a great emphasis on sustainability within their supply chains, but as a social entrepreneurship major, I can only help but to wish that these efforts were more preemptive. It seems that these corporations are attaching their name to something that has proven to be effective rather and that will look like good PR, rather than looking to attack this issue earlier, assuming they knew about it at all before 2014. Don’t get me wrong, I’m happy that these organizations are taking a stand at all, but I’m coming at this from a viewpoint of risk-taking attacking an issue head on through new and innovative solutions rather than tacking your name onto an already existing solution. Nonetheless, any effort to increase global sustainability is a big win for all parties involved, and I can’t wait to see if these corporations continue with increased transparency on their involvement and efforts so that we as consumers can feel informed about the progress being made on these issues.