These are two pages from my upcoming book.
The first step I took was hand drawing the images with my non dominant hand, which is my left hand. I marked out an image looking childlike and free. I have wanted to create a color version of my book for ten years and I have been struggling with the style and look I wanted.
This is my original book: My Mommy Is My Daddy
Three years ago I was cutting paper with my preschool class and started gluing those parts together, then shapes became an image. The images became a spark of ideas for my book. It was a progression from the non professional look of drawing with my left hand. It gave me the idea for my book.
I tediously cut stock paper in various shapes and formed hands, glasses, faces, clothes and other facets were puzzled together. I used tweezers and exacto blades and got small details, I pieced together color and glued them to a background image creating an entire story. The colors were chosen to help the figures stand out because I wanted the representation to lead us in the direction of strong likeable characters. The image was then scanned into digital form and opened in Photoshop where the parts of the image were manipulated and duplicated. Working with the image allowed me to present the story exactly how I want to tell it.
So let’s now talk about the story I want to tell.
I want to represent non conforming dominant women in leadership positions.
I want to show leaders of non white origins.
I think these are powerful images because of the unconscious bias that is carried in most societies surrounding strong women and people of color.
Overall my book has images that place women, non conforming genders, and masculine females of color in different careers and roles that are generally more male dominant industries yet they still cover the role of a parent.
These visuals address the likeability of strong women. Do we feel threatened by such individuals?
There are a couple of videos on YouTube that address this issue that I found very interesting.
A Ted talk by Sheryl Sandberg about why there are too few women leaders.
Robin Haus: The Likability Dilemma for Women Leaders
They say things like;
“The men are reaching for opportunities more than the women are. They keep their hands raised.”
“Working women want a career that is challenging and rewarding and to feel like they are making a difference.”
“Goal oriented women have an insatiable desire to compete, to accomplish and to prove ourselves.
Women need to continue to disrupt stereotypes and redefine what it means to be a leader and a woman.
“The key to a successful career is making your ‘partner your partner’ by equal opportunity in the work force and at home.”
“Strong women are less likeable because of an unconscious bias that sometimes is unrecognizable even by the person who is being scrutinized.”
“As long as society continues to associate leadership with masculine traits, female leaders will be judged more harshly, even when they outperform male counterparts.”
All of these observations I agree with and it’s why I want to share my life and my inspiration through my art work. As a single mother who is not only feminine but embraces my masculine characteristics, I have goals that are ambitious. I would like to be likeable in the process but artists have to make sacrifices somewhere.
To small children, I want to break boundaries. I want to show them images the have not seen or imagined. I want them to ask questions that initiate dialogue so teachers and parents have the opportunity to
To people that hold unconscious biases, I want them to be uncomfortable. Start an internal conversation about the feeling. I hope they will start an external conversation about why the art is masculine females or gender non conforming people. Maybe they will not be uncomfortable and possibly connect a certain likeability to these characters because they are illustrations. That likeability can carry over to our real actual lives.
To everyone that connect with the images, be it trans people of color, single mothers of color or masculine of center parents, I hope that you see yourself represented in these images. I care about all the obstacles that we face to realize our dreams, our potential and making it visible to others over a platform that has the potential to travel the globe.
Tumblr URL: takeyaart.tumblr.com
Youtube link: https://youtu.be/JT_Qrwk7Yp0
Website link: http://www.takeyaart.com/
Thank You to Creative Pinellas for giving me this opportunity!