It's all in the details
The summer was spent solidifying some of the vague ideas that had been floating around in my head and materializing seedlings of thought into concrete plans. I now feel like I have the base of the project decided and I can just jump into actual production.
Keeping the fact that things might change at any moment in mind, I'll document what I've decided on below:
- I said 'a series' of children's books in my proposal, but my ideal number, time allowing, would be 3. The three people I want to focus on are Yayoi Kusama, Tammy Duckworth, and Philip Jaisohn (Soh Jaipil).
Yayoi Kusama is an extremely influential and interesting Japanese-American artist known for her psychedelic, repetitive paintings, sculptures, and installations. Tammy Duckworth is one of Illinois' senators, the first Asian American woman to be elected to Congress in IL, the first member of Congress born in Thailand, and an Iraq War veteran. Philip Jaisohn, among other things, was the first Korean to become a U.S. Citizen (in 1890).
I think all three figures are extremely interesting and unique in their own right. They may not be 'perfect' people. But I don't think the point of these books is for children to idolize these figures. It's the fact that they have the opportunity to learn about them in the first place. Getting to know about these real, layered individuals in all their imperfect selves making an impact on this world and thinking, I can do that too. That's enough– and if someone finds inspiration in that, all the better.
I wanted to make sure there was diversity in the nationalities, personalities, and careers represented as well. And personally, Kusama speaks to me as a fellow artist, Duckworth is a nice nod at my home state, and Jaisohn pulls at my heritage and korean identity. I would love it if I could find a Korean American female so that all three subjects could be women but I'm going with Jaisohn for now.
- I'd like to use collage and/or pop up art as my medium to create these books. I contemplated for a while which medium to use because I had a hard time just picking one. My mom suggested collage (thanks, mom) and I think it's the perfect way for me to utilize several. I'd ideally like to use real life photographs and incorporate them into the art, sort of like an art journal style. I've been interested in multimedia and dimensionality within my art for a while (re: Photo I project) so it makes sense. And pop up art was suggested by my advisor, Professor Betsey Garand. I think pop up /fold out pages would go perfectly especially with Kusama's style.
- I'm going to make the original copies by hand but I want to ultimately have copies of the work to distribute. I'm thinking of using the service Blurb for this. This means I need to have everything finished a couple weeks before the Thesis exhibit in late April to account for the printing and shipping process. Another option is to have interested people sign up for a copy at the exhibit and mailing it to them later on. The things to consider here are: Will I be able to get funding to reproduce enough books/account for shipping and other fees? Is charging people for the books allowed? How can I reproduce pop-up books without a professional publisher?
There's still kinks to smooth out here but I really want to be able to produce and distribute at least several copies of the books. What's the point in making these books in order to raise awareness if you aren't reaching people? Maybe I can talk to the local library and see if they'd carry copies as well. The more reach, the better!