WEEK 6| Folic Acid Trip: Are you comfortable?
Updated: Mar 16, 2022
But also: Rejections | Treatment | More Animation |Website work forever
'Are you comfortable?' Quick Illustration, 2022
Celebrating the middle of this residency with the most common of experiences for an artist: rejection. Two, to be more precise. It looks like not only the residency but also the Open Studio week will now be out of my own pocket, and I say this not to moan, but for the sake of transparency. Because deep down I hope things will change for self-employed artists, but only if we collectively make a point of being outspoken and not silenced or shamed by institutions, organisations, galleries, private collectors and clients that keep benefitting and/or profiting out of our skills, talents or passion. If you think about it, we are the brains that keep the different art worlds spinning. We, artists, give people salaried jobs in admin positions in any company that deals in any kind of way with art and culture. How is it possible that we keep being exploited and expected to fight for crumbs of funding? There sure are years, sometimes decades, of sacrifice and a huge amount of privilege required to be able to survive as an artist still...This story, among many others, must change. But hey, it won't be today. Today I just have to accept another no-feedback policy (they are too busy, you see...), and go DIY.
Folic Acid Trip is an element of my current reality and it has been so for a good few years now. It refers back to the hundreds of pounds anyone going through fertility struggles spend on vitamins, supplements, and other pseudo-scientific products meant to help. Some of these are recommended by the NHS, others by fertility gurus, private clinics, or recent research. It's about huge shifts in lifestyles and mindsets. It's a mint green labyrinth characterised by jargon, waiting lists, answer machines that never give answers and hours asking Google. It's not a dreamy, psychedelic experience that makes you feel connected to plants, trees and the good in humanity. In our situation, we fully rely on scientific magic, but the way the gatekeepers of science and medicine execute control over the in/fertiles would give anyone a bad trip. And more than once, it's also given me anxiety, anger, frustration and trauma. I searched the internet and dug for IVF and infertility accounts, networks of support, books, podcasts and medical research to get a clearer picture outside of my own experience with infertility, and the outcome of it is an acute awareness of the discrimination, injustice and grief that exists within the In/fertility worlds. There's still LOTS of taboos, a hurtful language framing almost every aspect of the process, including miscarriage and stillbirth, a lot of internalised blame within women, and not enough immediate support there for everyone and this means: people of colour, global majority, queers and within that people who identify as trans. But companies are making millions.
"Are you comfortable?' What a question, right? Usually, in medicalised settings it's pretty much a paradox. 'This will feel slightly uncomfortable'. You can say that. I hope you feel uncomfortable too. I've gone through a lot of personal reflections on this topic during the past week. Choosing images, and direction for some of my digital drawings made everything a lot more visible, raw, and urgent.
Anyhow, I've done a whole load of boring stuff too, including setting up a 'Buy me a coffee' account for anyone who feels generous and wants to support my residency.
I'll share a link here.