Finding the time to be truly playful with analog materials is something dear to my art and design process. Getting away from the blank photoshop file gives me a chance to slow down and create unexpected imagery. Often I find that surrendering to the materials yields more interesting outcomes.
When I came across my mother’s old Letraset from her art school days, I felt completely inspired! I loved even the layout of the letraset sheet itself. In design school, many of my professors complained about the days when they used letraset to typeset posters. I can imagine this to be a tedious process. But, I knew deep in my soul that if I allowed myself to play with this material I could make something interesting.
My mother and I have been known to have a complicated relationship. We both love each other very much and I’m sure she’ll disagree with much that I have to say about the concept of this piece. We often do. But our story, combined with my use of her materials felt like the perfect conceptual backing for a quick zine.
As many daughters and sisters do, I have a bad habit of stealing from them. Often without bad intentions as they know where to find me. I would raid my mother’s jewlery box for something to match my new outfit, or try on her shoes, or eat food she had saved for herself. Mom hated this, and is still paranoid when I visit her that I’m after some of her clothing. She had a keypad lock installed on her closet door specifically so my sister and I cannot get in to rummage through her things.
Beyond just material items, I felt that I had stolen something more important from my Mom. She had always been artistically gifted, but her mother (my grandmother) placed a great deal of importance on brains – herself a Cornell graduate long before the days where it was commonplace for women to go to college. So my mom went to school for international business, trying to follow a path that would please her own mother. She worked hard and got her degree but never found herself on a career path. She decided to go back to school for interior design as she knew, this was where her real talent and passion was. (She was correct)
Not long after returning to school, my mom became pregnant with little old me. Though for the first time in her life she was following her passion and doing a great job at it, she felt a greater responsibility to love and take care of me. So after giving birth to me, she discontinued her studies.
Mom always says this was her choice, being a stay at home mom. And I’m sure it was, though I haven’t had a child myself I know if push came to shove that my children would come before my dreams of being a true artist. But I can’t help but feel that I stole away a future she worked so hard to achieve. So when I stole the letraset she bought for her interior design studies, I felt compelled to honor that time in her life, and my very first moments on the earth.