My name is Linnea Anderson, I’m a fashion design major from Saint Paul, Minnesota. I am particularly interested in vintage fashion, era specific pieces, and costume design. This is what drew me to the movie ‘They Live’ for my Bridge #4 project, it is set in the 1980’s and contained the vintage fashion and 80’s characters that I craved. After watching the movie, I discovered it’s heavy theme which pertains to consumerism in America and the division between the working and upper class which drew me in even more as this is a topic I attempt to stay very attentive to, due to the fast fashion culture amongst my generation. I am very against fast fashion and the consumerist society we live in and try my best not to partake in it. Watching ‘They Live’ and making a zine off of the topic was a very beneficial process to me as it allowed me to understand the economics behind consumerism and how it has been affected in the past due to ulterior factors such as the policies introduced in Reaganomics, which I discussed and analyzed in my Bridge #4 research paper.
My main goal of the project was to fully understand the causes and effects of consumerism on the economy and to find its long term advantages/disadvantages. In the 1980’s, consumerism did help America out of a big recession but soon after spiraled out of control as corporations gained more wealth and power, which has been exponentially increasing ever since. All of this was accomplished through my research paper. I went through a process of writing this and changed my thesis halfway through as I felt I couldn’t fully explain the first thesis I had come up with properly and confidently with the sources I had found. I switched from writing about the division between the working and upper class to simply explaining how Reagan’s presidential policies gave consumerism in America a jump start. This thesis was more clear to me and I could find enough support and evidence of it in the sources I had found.
I connected my research paper to my zine by creating a PSA that was true to the time period, being the 1980’s. I had a lot of fun creating the zine layout as I am very interested in graphic design and take pride in my ability to make my work look very finished, as far as layout and composition goes. I thought about the television announcements that are present in the movie where the working class are trying to warn others about the consumer problem that is arising and wanted to create a zine with a similar effect. I chose black and white imaged and a typewriter font laid overtop of a static background, to give the illusion of a pamphlet that could have been easily reproduced and distributed amongst the workers at the time. I came up with several symbols through our zine exercise practices in studio, that worked together to create an avatar of consumerism. All of the symbols I included can also be tied into today’s society, such as the gun for police brutality, and the television for fake news.
I would definitely do a project like this one again. I feel much more knowledgeable now on a topic that I am passionate about and would love to learn even more about the history of consumerism, across the world not only in America. I am not a big fan of writing research papers but it is still a good practice to keep up with and have the ability to do. This is the first paper I have written where I read actual books for research rather than just various random web pages and I am proud of myself for that. The zine, however, was the most fun for me. I really enjoyed creating something with a purpose and would like to make more zines in the future. I have considered it before with photos of clothes I have made but now I see it is even more fun to add text and a story/message behind the zines I make.
You may view my paper and zine here:
For this multiple part project, I chose to do an extension to my short story that I wrote in my seminar class. The story took place in The Meatpacking District in the 1920’s and is one of my favorite assignments that I have ever written as I feel I grew as a writing during the process in order to create clear story arc and progressive character development. I enjoy sewing so I chose to make a dress inspired by the story to take photos in and create a cover for the story and make it into a booklet. The dress design is a reference to 1920’s sailor outfits. The sailor collar and navy and white fabrics are evident of this, alluding to the fact that the main character in my story was an immigrant (travel by sea) and that The Meatpacking District is near the ports/sea. For my photos, I took polaroids in order to stick with the time frame and give the photos a vintage feel. I held bloody bacon to add character and depth to the photo as well as tie it in with the main character of the story, who slaughters meat on the daily and is slowly being driven crazy by it. I edited the photos in photoshop, blew them up, reprinted, and put them on a background of bloody handprints as the blood in the photos wasn’t very visible. I then placed this in an antique wood frame, again to reference the time period as well as give the photos a clean finished look and show there was a story behind them, as the frame with photos looks as though it could have been found in an old abandoned house/warehouse from the 1920’s. The booklet is very simple and has the 2 polaroid photos in a quad with a black background and the title of the story underneath.
Cotton fabric and ribbon
I feel as though this piece was successful as my peers said that the photo series show a story behind the dress and the person wearing it. Juxtaposing such a cutesy dress with unknown meat and bloody handprints leaves the viewer wondering what the story is behind the character. They liked that the viewing of my pieces was a process, first you see the dress, then the photos, then read the story and slowly find out more and more of what happened. Some also said the dress comes across as a sailor moon/Japanese schoolgirl outfit, which makes sense as it is a very similar design style… I could have fixed this by making the dress more loose fitting and have the pleats be a drop waist, which is what I had done originally but then changed to how it is presently because I didn’t like the look of it before. I like the idea of costume design and developing a character based purely on the clothing and this project was a good practice of that. I’m also glad I got the chance to do what I really love, which is sewing- It was a great way to end the semester.
For this assignment, I made a zine reflecting on the social issues present in the movie, They Live. The movie brings in many symbolic references to consumerism/capitalism in America and the division between the upper and lower class. I chose to incorporate these symbols into the zine in a way which even those who haven’t seen the movie could understand, by adding captions of description for each symbol which are still relevant even today even though the movie was set in the 80’s. For example, the gun for gun control, police badge for police brutality, and the television for fake news. I also incorporated a map of the chain of consumerism, to clearer illustrate to the viewer the process in which the lower class is being manipulated by the rich in order for them to make more profit. I also chose to present an upper class alien, as seen in the movie, as the cover and a lower class worker as the back of the zine to tie in the main message of the movie, being ‘They Live, We Sleep.‘ The last 2 pages are advertisements from the 80’s as advertising is a theme throughout the movie which is used to blind the lower class from the realities of consumerism. As far as the aesthetic qualities, I chose to stick to a static theme, as the zine is meant to be representative of a PSA that would have been distributed to spread awareness to people at the time. This is why I stuck to black and white, as I wanted it to look like something low-budget and easy to reproduce.
ROUGH DRAFT AND PROCESS PHOTOS:
I’m very pleased with the way this project turned out and I think it was a good exercise for me to make art that makes a political/social statement rather than just being about a personal message. The zine was received well by my peers who noted the clean composition and cohesiveness of the piece overall. They liked that I made if from the perspective of the time period, being the 80’s, rather than the present day as it made the issue feel more true to the movie. The process of making the zine was fun and challenging and caused me to improve my photoshop skills and also to learn how the layout for printing booklets is configured. I will definitely be making more zines in the future.
This piece is a map of the Gansevoort/Meatpacking district in NYC, meant to illustrate the neighborhoods progression through time. We chose to incorporate 3 main stages of the history through symbols, the 1920’s when it was primarily meatpacking, with 250+ factories and slaughterhouses, the 1980’s when it was primarily prostitution and crime, and today where it is a wealthy neighborhood full of tourists and high end shops. The map is meant to be simple and fun, to draw in the viewer- the color scheme and map elements are cohesive the compass rose, cartouche, and key are all done in a vintage map style- to incorporate the old with the new. Unknowing viewers and tourists in the area who see this map would be able to gain some knowledge about the past of the area. We divided the work evenly between us and all worked on a separate part of the map before passing the photoshop file onto the next person.
This map was digitally done on photoshop and was then printed on a large 24″ x 36″ paper using the plotters.
ROUGH DRAFT AND PROCESS PHOTOS:
In the critique we received feedback that maybe the border of meats around the map was too literal and could have been more subtly incorporated into the map. Also that the position of the symbols could have been more schematic to show a chronological order within the history rather than leaving the viewer to have to guess which ones come first. Overall, the composition was received well and people liked the clean and finished look of the map.
Part One- Map
For this two part project I decided to first make a map reflecting the fast fashion industry vs thrift in NYC. I did this by making a side by side comparison of two maps of same area, on one marking the 19 fast fashion stores I could find while on the other marking the 3 affordable vintage/thrift stores. The goal was to illustrate the vast difference in quantity of stores which is a reflection of the impacts that fast fashion is creating on both consumers, people producing the clothes, and the environment. It is also representative of my personal self and daily life because I am constantly on the hunt trying to find new affordable used clothing stores in NYC and in my short two months here these are the only three I have so far found.
Part Two- Portrait
The second part of this project was a sculptural piece that I made as a portrait of my partner, Margaret Chen. It is a paper cube surrounding a wire covered lightbulb which represents Margaret’s inventive mind. It was influenced in color by her map but most of the idea came from the knowledge I have of her through our interview in seminar. The map does point out one place with a lightbulb symbol which is the place she does most of her inventing, a theme I wanted to incorporate into the portrait. Margaret also makes many of her invention prototypes as paper models which is the reasoning behind the chosen medium of my piece. I painted the inside of the box yellow to show the illumination from the bulb lighting up the inside of the box. The outside is blue to represent technology and innovation, as blue is a clean and refreshing color. The bottom panel is a combination of yellow, blue, and orange to represent the passion that Margaret possesses for her passion of inventing and creating new ideas for technological innovation. I also made an effort to incorporate the black lines and points of her map through the wire which is holding up the lightbulb. Margaret often gets inspiration from traveling and seeing new places, which appears evident in her map. Therefore, the wires represent her daily paths of travel and hold up the lightbulbs, being her ideas, which she wouldn’t be able to have/come up with if it wasn’t for her constant desire to see new places.
Materials for Portrait:
Watercolor on card stock, hot glue, wire, lightbulb, wrapping paper, cardboard box.
Rough Draft and Process Photos:
The critiques I received in class showed that this piece did read as inventive, in the way I intended it to. One said the wires made it appear like the ideas were being pulled from the fiery (koi) pond below and being transported into the lightbulb via the wires. Another said the box the sculpture is stood on top of appears as an envelope to encompass all the ideas being created from the light bulb. The blue color wasn’t immediately interpreted to represent technology but was related to the color of the glow from a computer screen. Overall, I think the piece went well and communicated what I had intended it to, being that Margaret is an inventive person while also representing her personal style using medium and color choice. It relates back to the map also through color choices and certain points which point out where she likes to go to invent. As far as my personal style goes, I am not pleased with this piece and it is not something I would have made otherwise for the purpose of this project. However, it was a good opportunity to experience with a new medium and work within a color palette that I usually would not.
This piece is a representative of what my mental mind map of home looks like. I chose to add avatars of significant people in my life, framed around a photo of my childhood home, as this was and will always be the first place I think of when someone mentions the word ‘home’. I tried to tie in aspects of my Bridge 1 project for seminar into this piece by referencing the same aspects of my definition of ‘home’ and significant people from my memories that I talked about in my ‘I remember’ poem. However the area surrounding my home was not as important/did not shape me as much as the people in my life did which is why this is not a traditional geographic style map.
I used 3 pairs of recycled pants to construct the entire quilt. It is sewn together with thread and the images were applied with iron-on transfer paper. It is wrapped around a cardboard backing.
ROUGH DRAFTS AND PROCESS PHOTOS:
This piece follows the prompt of the project as it is in a grid/8-bit style with the blocks of fabric that make up the quilt as if they were pixels. It also follows the retro video gaming style aspect of the prompt but in a more non-traditional way being that it resembles an old board game or possibly the character select page of a retro video game. My choice of making a quilt comes from the fact that sewing is a big part of my memories and is also a representation of home for me/a big part of my personality since as long as I can remember. It is reminiscent of my mother who also sews and passed her skills down me by teaching me to use a sewing machine when I was just nine years old, the style of this quilt reflects something I might have made during that time. During the critique I found that most of the key points I want to convey through my piece were successful, my peers said they got the sense that my home was based more off of the people rather than a physical place and also mentioned that the choice of making this as a quilt reflects my passion for sewing. They understood the grid concept and mentioned the fact it looks like a board game. They also said the fabrics gave it a western/Little House on the Prairie feel to it, the fabric choice would be the only thing I would change if I was to make this quilt again. I am not from a western or prairie area so I might have instead chosen more Swedish inspired fabrics to tie into the heritage aspect of my home, which also relates back to my mother who is from Sweden. Overall, I am pleased with how this project turned out and feel I was successful in all my goals and the points I was trying to convey.
September 24th, 2018