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  • Writer's pictureAnna Billany

Reflection on Authorship

Anna Billany Authorship 20% Reflective Document

Future Self: Goals for the future

As an illustrator, my future goal is to create art that challenges societal norms. I believe that art is a powerful tool for social change, and I want to use my skills to make a positive impact on the world. One of my main inspirations is the glitch feminist movement, which emerged in the early 2010s as a response to the male-dominated tech industry. Glitch feminists use digital glitches and errors as a metaphor for the imperfections of our society, and they use these glitches to create art that subverts traditional gender roles and challenges the status quo.

Another important influence on my work is the cyberfeminist movement of the 1990s, which sought to use technology as a tool for feminist activism. Cyberfeminists used the internet to connect with other like-minded individuals and to create art that challenged traditional notions of gender and sexuality.

In order to achieve my goals as an illustrator, I want to continue to develop my skills in new media technologies, such as virtual reality and augmented reality. These technologies offer new ways of creating and experiencing art, and they have the potential to revolutionize the way we think about visual storytelling.

For example, 3D modelling can be used to create immersive worlds that allow viewers to step into a different reality and experience art in a more interactive way. Augmented reality, on the other hand, allows artists to overlay digital images on top of the real world, creating a new kind of hybrid space that blurs the boundaries between the physical and digital worlds. By incorporating these new media technologies into my practice, I hope to create art that is both visually stunning and socially impactful. I want to use these technologies to create new kinds of narratives and experiences that challenge our assumptions about the world and push us to think more critically about our place in it. I want to weave these new media skills with my already existing knowledge of printmaking, mainly Risograph, and more hands-on media to create interesting and visually powerful works.

Ultimately, my goal as an illustrator is to use my art to make a positive impact on the world. I believe that art has the power to inspire and motivate people, and I want to use my skills to create art that inspires people to think differently about the world and to take action to make it a better place.

Reflection on process project

Working towards the ‘Belonging’ brief intertwined with the overarching glitch feminist themes along with my other external projects such as the collaboration with photographer Yelloria opened my creative process into working more in tangent with other creatives. This collaborative experience was enriching to my creative practice in forcing me to break out of my comfort zone of working with familiar mediums. Exploring new mediums such as textile design has been instrumental in enhancing my practice, as it is a versatile medium that allows for a wide range of expression and experimentation. By delving into this medium, I have been able to explore new textures, colours and patterns, which has added depth and dimensionality to my work. By fusing the very hands-on and traditional methods of textile design, mainly knit and print, with new media technologies through the software of cinema 4D – I have been successful in experimenting more with this cross-disciplinary way in making, although I am yet to develop the skills to be proficient with the cinema 4D software. Researching into a wider range of artists from contemporary galleries and the Manchester School of Art MA show also allowed me insight into interdisciplinary practices, such as that of Amy Morgan, who produces textile print designs with her graphic illustrations, with a heavy focus on form, colour and font. I will continue to add to this skill set and apply my visual language to a range of new mediums.

I feel as if many of the work I developed within the process brief is unfinished, and I endeavour to build a body of work more cohesive, much of my process project was experimenting rather than producing fully realised works. Although I am appreciative of the skills I procured, I wish I had put more time overall into seeing the process pieces into fleshed-out outcomes. This was fulfilled within the next brief however, so I feel as if this was an overall positive experience.

Another success I felt was intertwining my research with that of my CP3 essay – where I examined the Cyberfeminist practices and their methods of protest art. This I feel, enriched my making methods for the process project.

Reflection on Context project

The context project and working to briefs was undoubtedly my most challenging. Within this context project, I chose to work to the printed matter brief for producing a book of my own illustrations and working towards other smaller briefs externally from MMU, such as my exhibition for the ‘Deal with the Devil’ and an exhibition from Cloudwater Brewery for International Women’s Day. The ‘Deal with the Devil’ exhibition allowed me to delve into more complex ways of making in the 3D and rendering options, of which I was pleased with the result. However, the International Women’s Day exhibition did not challenge my making skills, as I used risograph, which I am very familiar with – although I did love how the outcome looked, and I was pleased to make work for a feminist brief with other female artists based in Manchester.

The printed matter brief was by far my most challenging, although the most rewarding. Throughout the many processes I completed to make the book, I found complications at every turn and even though I am not fully satisfied with the outcome, I found reward in learning so many new skills. Working closely with bookbinding I learnt how to make paper, use InDesign, bind books in different methods, folding techniques, hot foil and grew my knowledge of using the Risograph printer. Many things went wrong throughout, such as my ambition of using the handmade paper to create the pages of the book as the paper was too fragile to be bound. The final product as well, I believe was not as I intended for it to turn out, as many of the pages were damaged due to errors with my risograph printer. This all however, gives me a foundation to explore book arts in the future. I followed this brief up with a Zine-making workshop by Shy Bairns artist, George Gibson, which clarified certain mistakes I had made in my process.

Overall, I felt this brief did push me to grow, and I understand how my visual language can be applied going forwards. The direction I wish to take for my FMP will again, test my capabilities in working collaboratively, and using the knowledge I gained to form pieces of work that will continue the feminist themes I have brought from the process project.

Reflection on Content Project (FMP)

My FMP consists of me establishing and organising an arts event and exhibition, curating others work along with my own – allowing me to create an installation piece, something I haven’t attempted prior, that will bring together all my different ways of making into a cohesive singular piece of artwork. The event itself is entitled ‘Chromophilia’ – love of colour in latin. This is in collaboration with West Art Collective, who I have worked with closely over the course of my L6 year. West Art Collective provide a platform for artists locally to Manchester and further, allowing them to exhibit for free. This makes my event accessible for many peoples, and pushes me into learning more skills with collaboration, organisation and curation. I set a brief for others to apply to, whereas I will have my own separate room for my installation work.

The work itself for my installation was very much informed by my research for CP3, with Cyberfeminist protest art being a main source of inspiration for my making throughout. Accessibility and protest art were certainly themes I wanted to explore due to my research that I undertook throughout CP3, and the multi-media practices of the Cyberfeminists too was also of equal important. As my L6 year began with research of the ‘Glitch Feminist’ manifesto of Legacy Russell, I really wanted to sustain this ongoing theme I’ve had throughout the year that has really impacted upon my visual language.

As preparation went underway for the Chromophilia exhibition, I became more comfortable in organisational skills and graphic design, along with promotional work for social media. I found however, that the new media aspect with cinema 4D was the most difficult for me due to the learning curve, so I wish to build upon this and make something more complicated for my degree show work.

Reflection on the Authorship Project

Overall, my last year of this degree has been the most challenging, but one I have learnt from the most. I have grown exponentially as a creative, and gained the skills to have my own client base and I am now frequently met with opportunities for commissions, work experience and collaborations. Throughout the many units of authorship, which was informed by my CP3, I have pushed myself to try as many mediums as possible and build something quite unique.

I am being recognised for my visual language and the work I make and feel as though I am leaving this unit as a more rounded practitioner. The cyberspace and feminist themes that I have continued to study throughout the year have shaped the way I create and have led me to have a varied but distinct body of work. I have learnt that my creative practice is ever evolving, and that I need to be challenged in order to perform my best. Although in previous years I have stuck to a select few familiar ways of making, I have been able to take that and hone my craft into something bigger. Also importantly, I have gained connections and been successful in promoting myself online, and meeting fellow creatives from Manchester and further, which will assist me as a graduate.

I feel as though I will leave my Illustration with Animation degree with a focused mindset to continue making work, engaging with the community and making my own name for myself in this regard. I have already found successes in selling my designs, along with working as an illustrator and a graphic designer for other people and receiving frequent commissions and opportunities. I have managed to present my work throughout this authorship project in many external exhibitions, which has been paramount in me networking with many other creatives. The organisational and curatorial aspect of my FMP as well, had me liaising with many artists across the UK, and presenting an art event that has my name attached to it.

Authorship has been demanding, but significantly constructive to my way of thinking and making as a young artist, and therefore has been successful in my eyes.

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