Life in Harmony

Tuesday, 26 April 2016

Blog - 'That's not the easiest image I've ever looked at!'
Carol - 'It wasn't the easiest image I've ever produced! I am an artist AND illustrator...know what the dictionary definition of Illustrate is?'  *looks at Blog who shakes his head*  'It is 'to light up or to illuminate' and sometimes that's exactly what my work is called upon to do. Sometimes I'm approached to work on illustrations that need to convey a difficult idea, emotion or scenario...shine a light on them if you will...and they are challenging and difficult and I put an incredible amount of thought into every element because it's so important that I get them right!'  *looks at illustration*  'This particular one was for a Charity called Home Truths which is an independent, community based organisation that provides specialist services to anyone 16 and over who is, or has, experienced domestic violence and abuse from partners, ex-partners or family members. They cover Swindon and Wiltshire. I created this for a project they are running for pregnant woman and mums with children under 18 months old called Life in Harmony.'  *pauses*  'Did you know that pregnant women are 3 times more likely to experience the start or escalation of domestic abuse?'
Blog - 'No. I didn't know that'
Carol - 'Me neither. Heartbreaking isn't it!'
Blog - 'It certainly is!'


Carol - 'I was invited to speak at the launch of their project last week. The image was projected up on a screen behind me and I had to talk through some of the main elements'
Blog - 'I would quite like to hear some of that'
Carol - 'You would? Ok, well...with the mother and daughter I tried to keep the colours warm and fairly neutral. I wanted to make the characters real rather than cartoonish because the issue is, unfortunately, very real. I thought a lot about their faces, particularly with the mother, and decided to create them using simple lines in black and white so they looked drawn and had neutral expressions. I did my research before putting this image together and I wanted to try and convey a feeling of living in two realities...the public one and the private one. I chose to include elements of digital collage in the creation of the characters and used that method for the hair and dresses in order to provide that contrast.'  *pauses*   'The Jack-In-The-Box felt like the right toy to use to depict the man in this scenario. I wanted the box to represent the idea that you can't tell what someone is like just by looking at them so the outside is plain white and I used a sort of rusty texture on the inside to try and reinforce that idea of the outside vs inside self and the two different realities that those perpetrating this also live in. I chose to use collage elements for his face because he is real and the danger he represents is real. Finally, I added the hat. Partly because most Jack-In-The-Boxes have hats but also because I wanted to ridicule him, not to treat his behaviour as a joke because that is no joke, but to try and remove his power by making him into a figure to be ridiculed and therefore make him feel ridiculous. There were lots of other design decisions made for various reasons but those are the main ones.'
Blog - 'How was it received?'
Carol - 'I got good feedback from survivors on the day and that meant the world to me. Out of everyone that saw it and was their opinion that mattered most.'
Blog - 'There were survivors there?'
Carol - 'Yes. There were quite a few speakers all highlighting the issue from different angles. It was wonderful to hear about how the different agencies were coming together but it was the survivors words that had the most impact. They spoke of their ordeals with honesty and bravery and I was in awe...and in tears.'


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