A NEW RIOT… THE ESSENCE OF PUSSY RIOT

After my tutorial and speaking to Jules, we have come to a conclusion that I need to do more research in relation to having more cultural references in my work in order to build a solid zine with a deeper understanding of my theme of female empowerment and body image. I need to figure out how I can use references such as riot girls or pussy riot and connect it to my theme of body image, positivity and self care- whilst creating suitable imagery and illustrations to go with this topic. Although I do not intend on making this zine with a strong political agenda, I believe that it is important to research the modern stems of the riot grrrl movement such as the start of the pussy riot movement so that I fully understand their attitudes and beliefs which I can hopefully project onto my final zine so that it has underlying themes the audience can detect. I think this will definitely be challenging as I need to figure out how to include this theme of feminist protest into my work. I think it would be interesting to look into Pussy Riot artwork and styling, whilst incorporating some text such as quotes or poetry to go alongside it- I think this will at least give it some context.

WHO ARE THE PUSSY RIOT?

Pussy Riot is formed by a musical girl group in Russia who are known to perform guerrilla performances in public. With the help of social media (particularly youtube) the Pussy Riot group share their music videos online demonstrating their protests on views concerning sexism, Trumps election, LGBT rights, and Putins dictatorship that have lead them to voice their anger through lyrics and performance. Starting as a small feminist protest band, they started gaining recognition world wide. The most notable performance by Pussy Riot was their controversial stunt in a  Moscow church that attacked the Orthodox church and its support for Putin (1) in their Punk Prayer video, wearing their symbolic coloured balaclava masks.

“In February 2012, Alyokhina and three other young women in bright tights and balaclavas crashed the cathedral altar to stage a 40-second performance, “Virgin Mary, Drive out Putin!” “None of us thought there would be charges or a sentence when we did it,” she says — but a week later they were on the run. After a bizarre trial that evoked Soviet-era proceedings against dissident artists, they were sentenced to two years in prison for “hooliganism motivated by religious hatred”. “We joked that, if they caught us, we would be the new dissidents,” says Alyokhina, “which was just what happened.(2)”

The Pussy Riot adopt a punk style attitude, by standing out, and standing up for issues in Russia where there is far less of freedom of speech, and where feminists and other minorities may be seen as a taboo, or is not widely spoken about, especially in Russian media. With the power of social media and their music videos, they bring out messages that focus on the mistreatment of people- a recent video ‘Make America Great Again’ criticised Trump and his policies by using satirical and grotesque imagery.

What has inspired me about researching into Pussy Riots is their punk attitudes in bringing forward strong statement and messages. I will try to adopt some of this confident, strong imagery into my work which can be seen as a reference to pick out.

 

 

 

 

 

 

(imagery by Nische Ink of Nadya Tolokonnikova)

 

 

(1)http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-25490161

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/sep/01/pussy-riot-mariya-alyokhina-russian-activist-jailed-white-house

(2)https://www.ft.com/content/6b5589a2-ebcf-11e7-bd17-521324c81e23

https://www.theguardian.com/books/2014/feb/09/pussy-riot-words-will-break-cement-review

 

TEST SHOOT





I decided to do a small test shoot so that I could then use for collage and illustration purposes. It was quite a last minute shoot therefore did not too much planning for it. I knew I wanted to keep the theme minimal and feminine, so I thought including a floral aspect to it would make the standard portrait stand out. I don’t think that these images have turned out particularly well, however I think I will be able to jazz it up through the use of collage or through illustration. This is simply a good foundation I can build upon. I am really happy with the first three images on the contact sheet and will definitely will be using them for further experimentations.

CREATING MY OWN SLOGAN

As a part of Marthas workshop, I needed to create a slogan and a signature font that can perhaps be used for my zine. I am 99% sure that I have decided upon the name of ‘GIRLHOOD’ for my zine so therefore I need to brainstorm and come up with ways in how I want the font to look, which can reflect on the word itself, but also communicate the whole zine/feel i’m going for.

(page in zine where I could use my own type font- i like the idea of having a softer type with a more rigid, toughened font for contrast)

BODY IMAGE PHOTOSHOOT CONCEPT BOARD AND PLAN

Relating to all the research I have conducted so far, I want to do my own photoshoot to highlight the female form in a raw, empowering light that will hopefully lead to a positive, uplifting outcome. I want the shoot to really focus on the female form- therefore highlighting body parts that some women may feel most insecure about, such as the stomach and its folds, stretch marks, thighs. By really focusing on these areas I aim to achieve an abstract effect, with some images creating an effect where you can’t really distinguish which part of the body it is. I believe that the skin is a beautiful part of body. With skin, it holds your identity- the fine lines and wrinkles defining your age, the colour of your skin defining your race, and so on. I think by highlighting the skin we have is a wonderful way of showing that all bodies are equally as significant. I aim to create a message that allows women to feel confident with their bodies.

I have created a moodboard shown above that carries some inspiration for my shoot. As I have researched the riot grrrl movement, I really like the idea of having women posed in quite strong, abstract poses that almost gives a ‘fuck you’ vibe. I am mostly inspired by the image of the woman in fishnet tights (photographed by Pure Stent) which has a woman bent forwards- it’s almost quite abstract and shows the female form in an interesting way. It would definitely be interesting to experiment with unusual poses which would result in some unique outcomes.

 

MASTHEAD AND TAGLINE NAMES: SOME IDEAS

I want my zine to be visually appealing, therefore a colour scheme needs to be put into place. I really like the look of it being quite pink and red toned, with complimentary colours around to support it (blues, purples). The colour pink has a gentle, sweet, playful note to it whilst being associated with ‘femininity’. It is also used to represent love, whilst red is associated with passing and romance. I believe these are themes that supports my zine as I want it to be almost like a love letter from one sister to another. With that in mind however, I don’t want my zine to have that dreamy, fairy like approach, but rather a toughened, quite chaotic, riot grrrl like style. I want the zine to have a strong theme to it to represent the empowerment of women as I believe this reflects the content I want in my zine.

I want my masthead to be snappy and short- something that represents the zine as a whole. Here are a few name ideas:

  1. GIRLS GIRLS GIRLS
  2. GRRRL
  3. SISTER
  4. GIRLHOOD- I think from the name ideas I have come up with so far, girlhood is my favourite. The idea of girls uniting and being a collective. The word ‘hood’ by definition can mean to cover up the head, which reminds me of Pussy Riot.
  5. GIRL CRUSH
  6. BLOOM
  7. ASCEND

And if I decide to add a tagline?

  1. “A guide to self-love”

FONTS FONTS FONTS 

(1) CANTERBURY- i think this font really fits into the whole riot girl aesthetic I am going for. It’s a font that appears to look toughened, bold and strong.

(2) COURIER NEW- i like how this font has a typewriter quality to it, making it feel personal. I think that this font would fit in perfectly for any body text I may decide to include (like a tag line).

(3) STIX GENERAL

(4) PT MONO

(5) SCHWACHISM

(6) ANDALE MONO

(7) SPACE CRUSADER

(8) NOISE MACHINE

 

 

MAISIE COUSINS





http://www.maisiecousins.com/

http://www.dazeddigital.com/photography/gallery/23808/7/maisie-cousins-grass-peonie-bum

https://i-d.vice.com/en_uk/article/j58ve4/maisie-cousins-is-totally-over-your-unoriginal-feminist-art

 

LAYOUT INSPIRATION




  • The minimal layout and simplicity of these covers really make these covers stand out to me. I like how its straight to the point and communicates the necessary information without giving too much away.
  • I am really drawn to just a simple use of text and image, a reminder that sometimes you don’t need too much information on a page.
  • I really like the scanned in effect of the orange bordered cover- could work and tie in nicely with the riot grrrl themes of that DIY aeshtetic. I also think a layer of texture adds more depth to the layout.
  • Using simple underlines, and lined borders is a nice touch in adding some detail that simply just draws your attention to the image, or text. A way to frame something up.

LUST FOR LIFE: A zine by Chloe Sheppard






 

Created by photographer Chloe Sheppard, her zine is inspired by the likes of page 3 in The Sun newspaper. Where highly glamourised models are spread across the page in their most racy underwear whilst exposing their bodies for a lustful audience. Sheppard instead promotes a much refreshing and natural take on this theme by highlighting what we may see as insecurities or imperfections by turning it into something that should be applauded. Because essentially, this is who we are, whether the media industry agrees or not.

“I had family members who’d buy it so if I ever chose to read it it was always there. Whenever I looked at it, all I saw was thin, white young girls with perky tits and flawless skin, and that then becomes the norm when it’s reinforced enough times.” Chloe Sheppard for Dazed (1)

Sheppard has always been a photographer whose work I admire. She is able to capture raw, honest photographs of women with a dreamy, soft and feminine approach, yet does not seem to sexualise women in any kind of way. I recently ordered her zine ‘Lust for Life’ that contains photographs taken on film that feature women of all size and race with glittered breasts and flowers that is almost like a love letter to women themselves. She is promoting a positive message to women that addresses the importance of being happy and comfortable with your body. I find that the women photographed in her zine are quite confident with their posing and facial expressions that they appear powerful yet poised.

What I love about this zine is the representation of women from all backgrounds. I think it’s inspiring and empowering especially for young women to see this kind of inclusivity of women of all shape and colour as a step forward in society that we can relate to; more than those on the cover of a fashion spread magazine (although equally as beautiful). I think more women and younger girls are striving towards something more real in the media that we can connect with, instead of having unrealistic expectations where we are constantly comparing ourselves to other idealistic beautiful women in magazines which is quite threatening factor that can lead to not feeling good enough, or unworthy in society because you don’t look like that.

What firstly appealed to me about this zine is the whole colour scheme and aesthetic of the images. She has combined the use of collage, with typography (hand written and digital font) with regular images which has been done in a fairy-like, dreamy way with a slight DIY feel about it where she has printed out images, reworked then scanned them back in. I definitely would like to work in this kind of way for my zine so it has a hand-made quality to it and adds a more intimate, personal touch to it. I also think that the use of music lyrics is a clever way to add text to the image without saying too much, but adds an extra layer on context to the zine.

I love the idea that she has used glitter and flowers in her images to evoke a feminine, dreamy aesthetic that I find visually appealing. I think that the glitter really adds depth to the images, and is almost a symbol of celebrating a woman body- it accentuates their bodies by shining light on their skin in a beautiful manner. Similarly with the flowers she has used in many images it draws attention to the feminine side of a woman, and creates a romantic setting for the images.

WHAT I CAN TAKE FROM THIS ZINE/FURTHER EXPERIMENTS

I really have been inspired by this zine, and it has definitely given me inspiration for a photoshoot that I wish to plan based on body image. The most useful part that I will take from this zine is the feminine approach she has used to shine light on empowering women.

 

(1) http://www.dazeddigital.com/photography/article/34483/1/what-page-3-could-look-like-if-women-made-it

Lust For Life – Chloe Sheppard