Some Unkind Words I Have Been Called
Collage and acrylic Paint on Canvas Board
41 x 51 cms
When I first thought of making art out of the unkind words I’ve been called (and this is probably the first of many!), it was instinctive and natural to make it a collage. Through collage I could make the words ‘neat’ and clear. I wanted to place a woman as the central image, and her covered in gore, gathering the unkind words and DEVOURING them was a subconscious thing.
I began by writing, then printing the words out in different fonts and sizes, then cutting them out with scissors. I gessoed a board and when dry painted the woman, she took on her own form, eyes glaring in defiance, fingers clawing the words into her bloodied mouth.
I then started to apply the collage with no plan, just fitting in words were they felt right.
This took some time as layer upon layer of sweary words were applied on top of each other. I coated the words with a glaze of white paint and Jacksons fluid medium, to give it a ‘transparent’ look while filling in the gap between words.
This really was a process of layering and I have to admit one of memories of name calling, and fat hating abuse from others. Glue and shame, tears and paint.
I thought this was unfinished, I had to put it down and stop working on it as the anger I felt turned into self-hatred. So this painting was up against a wall for many months. Until it fell over, and looking at it with fresh eyes and a clear head it said EXACTLY what I wanted it to say, and despite its rough edges I knew in my heart the day I put it away was the day it was complete and I just needed some time to get my thoughts in order.
This painting depicts a huge part of my life, from my early childhood to today, to the very minute you are reading this.
ALL the words on the painting have been directed at me (including the word Cooze, I had to ask someone what it meant).
All of these derogatory names were said to me by men. Which has made me ponder, What gives them the right to judge me vocally by shouting abuse at me and are some men so frightened of fat women they feel the need to abuse us? Are they so repulsed they have to celebrate, or attracted to us but need to hide it from their peers by de-humanising and debasing us?
In this work the subject is gathering up all the hatred directed at her, and viscerally eating their words while staring into the viewers eyes.
Words have power.