Since I was a young girl, I was taught to reject female body hair.
Remove in any way possible in order to fit society’s idea of beautiful. At 18 I said no more. While I still receive discrimination from many, the existence of body hair on my skin has amplified confidence and power within myself and many other women who have chosen to do the same. Earlier centuries saw the existence of female body hair as an attribute of attraction and womanhood, however modern society has enforced it’s removal due to its correlation with masculinity and uncleanliness, both statements drilled into the minds of young men and women through the exposure of unrealistic body expectations. I am not telling women they must grow their body hair as an act of rebellion, I am encouraging equality across genders and proving a hairy woman is a beautiful woman. My artwork at university has developed through the use of my own body hair, both as a topic of discussion and a tool for creation. By using body hair within my practice as a printmaker, I hope to show the beauty of the natural form through the creation of discussion as well as the confrontation of contemporary ideals.
Grow your hair if you want to! Dye it if you want to! Don’t let anyone tell you what you should look like in order to be ‘pretty’.
We are Dedicating this week on The Orange Peel Blog to the Black Lives Matter movement.
Although the global media may not be covering the Real Life protesting and violence which is still occurring around the world, RACISM is still a Global issue that needs to be tackled. So this week we are sharing content from U.K based Artists and Activists who have produced work around the BLM movement or helped promote the message and tackle Racism in their own way.
Daisy ( OP Co-Creator) has created a series of ‘Black Lives Matter’ Badges+ Patches which are available to anyone who has donated to the BLM cause/ anyone who would like to purchase them!
Just message her at her Instagram- @_daisynell_
And if you would still like to support the Movement/ Donate to a good cause visit https://blacklivesmatter.com for all the resources you would need!
-Stay tuned this week for more BLM content+ Remember to check your Privilege-
When I told him that he could stay in the room that we were renting and that I would leave, he replied something that surprised me: he said that this place did not feel like home if I wasn’t there and that there was no point for him to stay. This made me think about what makes a place home. Is it the bond you have with the people you share this space with, is the space itself just superficial? The theme of “home” gradually appeared as a recurring theme in my photography. It happened unexpectedly, but, this is the first time that I intellectualise it and put it into words. My relationship with my home is quite profound, it is an important part of my life. Growing up in the middle of nowhere in rural Brittany, France, means that you spend quite a lot of time in your home. My parents always put a lot of work into their homes and have tackled a lot of renovation projects. I have family members working in construction, some others in antiques and my mother is an estate agent in the countryside. Hence a lot of my world and the topics of conversation that I have heard since I was a child in my family, were about houses and living spaces. The result of this is that I am fascinated by spaces that people call home. I like familiarity and habits, I like cities and urbanism, I like to know where people are from and what draws them to their home. I love London and how it has become home for so many people. It may be an apartment block, a basketball court, a busy high street; there are always places that people call home in London and I want to learn more about them. Moreover, in my work in production design for film, I always find myself thinking about domestic places. Recreating living spaces for films is an amazing exercise that demands a lot of attention to detail. It requires to dive deep into the script and its characters: their history, their passions, their characters traits etc. What kind of decoration (if any) is on the wall? Would the space be cluttered or neat and tidy? What food is in the fridge? Every answer needs to be decided according to the story and characters, design in film, is an essential part of storytelling. Thinking about those crucial and revealing details while designing films, made me realise that I could also pursue them with my photography. When entering a home, I like to see the charm that spills out of a kitchen or the layers of decoration that has built up in a bedroom throughout the years. When in an outside location, I like to think about memories and nostalgia. I love to take picture of those places that people have called home once and come back to later with reminiscence. Are these a places calm and peaceful or are they places of chaos, anxiety and worry? What are or what were the relationships like in these living spaces? I am attracted to the atmosphere of a place, its light and how the objects scattered around can tell me so much about a person without them being there. Hence, this love for the home, the house and the familiar has become a recurring theme in my photography and is what directed me in this series of photographs. Every room tells stories and I want to share them.
A little background information on me, I had a easy childhood but always struggled academically due to dyslecsia which sometimes held me back, I am very open about my feelings and the challenges I have faced if I think this shall benefit others -hence this article. I started writing this article weeks after finishing my A levels of Fine Art, Photography and Media, I achieved A in AS art which gave me a real confidence boost.
‘Depression and creativity’
As someone who always has so many ideas of next projects and things I want to create it was extremely worrying and actually more upsetting that my creativity seemed to vanish. I wouldn’t say it was a next day realisation- more like a few months, starting though out August and it took me a while to recognise and link these sets of feelings together.
With the support of my boyfriend at the time I managed to open up to my mum about my negative and on going feelings, going to the doctors the next day at the start of October. I was hoping for help and support with these feelings that were so unknown to me, instead I was offered tablets and to come back 3 months later. I thought as seen in TV and movies that these anti- depressants would transform me into the person I previously was and fill the currently dark world in my eyes with rainbows and self love. How wrong I was. I was told it would take a few weeks for my anti depressants to start working, so I gave myself 2 weeks to almost relax and try to be stress free, watching my favourite programs and eatings as I pleased. I couldn’t even look at doing art of anything creative which was a completely knew feeling for me. I sadly started to realise that these tablets were not going to be the easy fix I had first hoped for. They made the days more bearable, I was able to get some sleep and have hours of not feeling completely drained and useless.
I’ve always been aware of such articles about artists and how their depression and unstable mental health allowed them to create their best work. Artists such as Tracey Emin and even musicians, who feel they need be in a depressive state to create their best work look at Amy Winehouse or Ian Curtis.
But this wasn’t me, I left I’d let myself down. Not that I ever wanted to be in a depressive state but if I created something out of it then at least it would have some advantage . My life from September till January wasn’t blissful. I couldn’t sleep, didn’t feel like doing anything. Any art I created angered me as I felt it was of a low and boring standard. I kept trying but wasn’t interested or inspired enough to really dealth deep to my arts.
I had no ideas, no creative flare, nothing. For the first time in my life I felt let down by the ideas that has previously bombarded my head. I thought that maybe it was never going to come back, that my education was ruined and finished.
From February my mental health started to improve, not miles or leaps but little bits like being able to sleep and deal with negative thoughts of my own work. So I have learnt a lot in this last year about depression and creavitiy and how to deal with both and try to come to a middle ground.
Its just learning to deal with it and not force creativity, this only makes you more frustrated, try and be kind to yourself and allow yourself time to figure stuff out.
Another element to being more creative and enjoying the arts was being more open with myself and others, trying to see the improvements of my work, creatitivley and in essays and research. Looking back on this academia year, I feel very proud of myself for not giving in and giving myself time to learn what triggers me and my negative thoughts. I feel I have learned a hella lot about myself as a person in both my mental state and the strength I had to keep going as well as the creativity that follows me. This is not a happy ending, I am still a long way from being happy and feeling ‘normal’ or ‘myslef again’ but I know I had a period of being rock bottom and I have made it though.
In the creative world there is always such a huge pressure to achieve and be successful in its very tight circle or artists and minds that have made it to the top. It is all about educating yourself as well as well as enjoying your education and learning, try not to look forward all the time. Enjoy the day. I am far from an expert, I am an 19 year old who struggles with my own body image and the fear of driving people away. I am still unstable, having days I do nothing but cry and these are now followed by days I enjoy with friends and family. But I never though I would be able to see a way forward and take steps to build a future for myself in the creative world after developing depression.
-THANKS SO MUCH FOR READING-
If you have your own Mental health issues make sure you share with loved ones or Professionals.