Modern injustice is a constant issue and area we must challenge as designers. Through our mediums, we are able to tackle such issues, spreading awareness, and overall making a difference to society. Although we cannot always address such issues accordingly, I intend for my art to be a creative expression that relates to the current world we live in. Aiming for it to be inspired by our surroundings and social issues. I believe we can find the beauty within such injustices, expressing them creatively in order to speak directly to our audience.
I cover various current affairs within my artwork such as the Black Lives Matter Movement and COVID-19 aiming to express my standpoint on such issues. When creating these pieces, I get to challenge myself as I don’t only have to think aesthetically but have to contextualize the issue that I am addressing while creating a piece with underlying meaning. Within my personal company Klubb Visuals, I am making a shift into creating new-age designs that tackle such modern-day issues as I believe artwork should carry more than just aesthetic principles.
To address the Black Lives Matter protests, I collaborated with virtual garment designer The Digital Mary. She contributed to the artwork creating a digital garment relating to the movement displaying the wording “I CAN’T BREATHE” around the jacket. The immensely powerful phrase makes a clear statement, although it may go unnoticed upon first glance. When designing this piece, we took every detail into consideration, creating an idea of symbolism within the artwork. Red was used on the garment to portray violence and anger while the lighting reflected police car lights and smoke representing tear gas. We purposely decided to leave the background dark as it conveys a feeling of isolation whilst figuratively being left in the dark.
Another recent project was a three-image series that looked into the sad reality of body dissolution and dysmorphia becoming more apparent in online spaces, with the advent of photoshop and other such tools. In a world where we are constantly comparing ourselves to highlight reels of others’ lives, it is no wonder many become disillusioned and begin to feel self-conscious about their own bodies. I titled this series “Digital Mutation; WHAT IS REALITY?” as I wanted to put out a question to the audience so that they could reflect upon the issue themselves. The lines between real and fake are becoming so blurred on social media that many can’t distinguish what is what anymore, including myself. The caption for the artwork further encourages audiences to question their perception of social media reality. The digital model I have created for this series is simply not real yet she reflects real messages and showcases how many feel about themselves while scrolling through social media. I want my audience to be aware and wary of the content they expose themselves to, understanding that this render is fake, as is everything else on their feed.
In such challenging times worldwide, it is essential to address COVID-19. It is such a widespread issue off-shooting into many areas for commentary and discussion. I wanted to show my support and encouragement by creating a face mask on my digital model Candice. I didn’t want to directly comment on the issue but rather normalize and encourage the wearing of a face mask. I believe there is no better way to normalize something than by promoting it via social media. This friendly reminder to wear a mask addressed the issue accepting that this is what we must do in these times in order to remain safe.
In such a fast pace and constantly evolving society, there are always underlying social issues and problems that need to be addressed. Through my work, you can see these issues being challenged and commented on rather than ignoring them and pretending they don’t exist. As a generation, we must use the power and influence we have to address such issues. Everyone must be called to action if we want difference to be made and I contribute to that through artwork.