A Letter to your Former Self

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‘A Letter to your former self’ was a prompt for a sketch. It comprises of a mixed media image, pen and ink in addition to hard and soft pastels which are fully exploited. The figure representing the artist is almost angelic as it rises above the dangers of the personalities depicted below. The people are given the surround of an inferno to show the evil nature of their ways.

First, on the left we are presented with a girl who’s hair is entrenched by grease. From her mouth, vomit in projecting or possibly lies. A man, colossal in scale stands next to her, clothed in a T-Shirt brandishing Maine County. His body actions appear to be jerk driven and almost overacted. The face is blocked out, the visualisation of the facial features in denied, possibly a survival mechanism. Dreadlocks take control of the next character, malnourished but extremely confident through his stance, a drug dealer perhaps. We then see the image of a bore rising up, unfitting with the other figures. Centrally located, is a small but shifty character, the eyes look stoned as he hides under a well-worn woollen hat. A push-up bra babe then slots her way in, a true beauty with large eyes to match her breasts. Adjacent a geometrically formed man with glasses to match is present. One of his legs appears to be shorter than the other, a birth defect perhaps. A large, overweight women take over the majority of the space available. The next bound security pass shows her profession: a social worker, the fat drizzled features of her face depicting a falsehood of caring. Penultimately, the row is finished off with a dangerous man associated with the RAF. The final member of those present is a soldier, possibly a Para slotting his head into the image.

In ‘Letter to my former self’ the girl tells herself to avoid any other the characters, to rise above and not to allow any of them to cause her harm.

The sketch was completed by Alison Little, the prompt was provided by Allyson Bright:

30 days of Art Journaling Class

 

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Do we need a Miss Liverpool?

Miss Liverpool copy

The ritualistic process of crowning a Miss Liverpool is an annual event in the city of Liverpool. Initially, relating to the ancient custom of Marriage, the ball-like gown paraded by the contestants often being the traditional white. The notion of a maiden passing of age is also conjured up by the generation of the contestants, the latest winner; Elli Wilson, being a tender seventeen, most entrants are in there later teenage or early twenties in terms of age. A tall slender figure with a bikini perfect body relating to the process of fertility selection. Often a ‘Barbie-esque’ girl, a typical Arian with pure long straight blond hair. Images of Snow White and the Sleeping Beauty are conjured up by this fairy tale heroine, types of girls. Equally, does the pageant relate to the Debutante Balls so common with the Aristocracy and the Jane Austen novels we treasure as a society? Is the crowning of Miss Liverpool so different from the most recent Royal Wedding of Megan and Harry?

Should a contest be based simply on looks, it this merely an act of male objectification and is this wrong? Do modelling agencies like ‘Impact’ who often sign contestants degrading to women in the way in which they present the model’s ‘Vital Statistics,’ measures in terms of the figure and cup size of her bust?

Lucy Whittaker, former winner, Impact modelling

Does the beauty pageant relate to sovereignty and are the winners so different from Kate Middleton and Megan Markle? Is the process similar to a traditional Debutante ‘Coming Out’ ball and do we need this in contemporary society?

Does the Miss Liverpool contest promote child pageanting, is this the sexualization of children and is this being encouraged?

Are we happy with Nightclub culture, the final awards ceremony for the contest being held at the Olympia in West Derby Road? Does the winner simply go onto make nightclub appearances worthy of a role model figure? There have been long term associations between the Olympia and the Grafton Rooms which has long been known for prostitution within the city. Is the contest helping to create a rape culture which we should be aiming to suppress?

Is the Pageant simple a tool for creating minor celebrities leading to appearances on hyper-reality shows. Was the former winner, Daniel Lloyds appearance on Celebrity Big Brother a positive or negative matter? Many of the winners seem to become minor celebrities, fund cosmetically enhancing boob jobs and is this a process we want to be part of?

Is the contest simply a symbol of White able bodies hierarchy? Winners are seldom from minority groups, in term of ethnicity Miss England has only ever been won by a singular Muslim girl. Are those with disabilities, same-gender sexual orientation or trans women ever present as winners or participants?

Previous winners

Does the concept of beauty contests, celebrity culture and the vanity which surround our advertising agencies lower self-esteem and put pressure on women to be more beautiful and ultimately younger. Is the contest ageist in term of participants and winners?

Answer the ultimate question: Do we need a Miss Liverpool?

A) Yes, she is the ultimate female idol.
B) Yes, it’s just intended as a bit of fun, she can be seen as someone to aspire to in addition to leading women from other industries.
C) I would prefer for the Miss Liverpool contest to be changed to eliminate objectification and to promote skill and intelligence of women and to include women from BME communities.
D) Miss Liverpool must go….

Please Comment below.

Love of the Second Hand

Arabian Night

The book was beautifully bound, in impeccable condition and filled with the love of being read and enjoyed. Modern publishing of the classic ‘Arabian Nights’ I had the audio version, or what you used to call tapes when I had been a child. My brother and I had been passed them on from our cousin and we had played them repeatedly from our flat one speaker cassette player common of the period.

My favourite story had been ‘Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves’ because my name was Ali and I thought the story was fantastic. Now there are numerous companies who produce personalised storybook for children, but in the eighties, it was something special. Arabian Nights have been reproduced by many different publishers but this copy was really something special.

My fingertips run over the arches of the front cover I can hear the low volume singing of a tune I had never heard before. I was in one of the larger charity shops at the top of Liverpool famed Smithdown Road. All the books are displayed in the window and I can’t seem to walk on by and not have a look inside. I turn to see where the singing was coming from, before me I can see a man, the vision of cool but in personality much more than appearance. However, not bad looking in saying that, ginger hair and a very contemporary matching ‘Tash’. He was shorter than me but very broad in contrast.

As I had turned around he had stopped singing:

‘No don’t stop!’

I insist,

‘Sorry, I didn’t realise I was singing out loud, I was working through the lyrics for the band’s new track.’

‘So you sing in a band then?’

I try not to sound so very impressed.

‘Yes, lead vocals, among other things, engineering work and single parent of two teenagers.’

Pausing for a second, I look at the copy of Steven Gerrard’s biography in his hand:

‘Is that for you?’

‘No its for my son, I am picking up some books for them for now, then I will start getting in some real Christmas presents later in the week.’

He continues to explain that he is trying to encourage his son to read, but always ensures he gets his daughter a book as well as she actually reads more of his books than he does in addition to her own.

I look around to suggest something good for a teenage girl, I spot a hardback called ‘Feminist don’t wear pink’,

‘This is good for teenage girls, it’s actually new out and fresh in Waterstone at to moment, I am surprised it’s second hand already.’

He picks up the book with an accomplished look on his face. As he flicks through he stops and reads aloud;

‘The first time I looked at my Vulva in the mirror………………………………………..I am not sure I am ready for this as a parent yet.’

I take the book off him and take a look inside, after reading a few headings;

‘Yes, it’s a bit too much isn’t it, is this what teenage girls are reading now?’

‘I think I’ll go for this one.’

He answers in haste with a copy of ‘I am Malala’ in his hand.

‘Good, that’s a much better choice, I’ve read that myself and it’s really good, her life in Pakistan and the build-up to her getting shot by the Taliban.’

Again, he looks enthused and smiles back at me:

‘I might read it after her myself.’

I smile back wistfully.

‘I think I best get the pink feminist book and keep in touch with the younger generation are thinking. I might only read it in small section though.’

We pay separately but leave together, stopping by the exit we smile at each other, as he leaves he utters:

‘See you again some time.’

‘Yes..’

As I walk toward Allerton, passing the Sali Army playing Christmas carols, my smile brims ear to ear and I chuckly silently to myself.

Eco Chamber

Full image

Eco Chamber is the latest sculptural commission from North West Based artist Alison Little. As part of the Liverpool Independents 2018 Biennial it will form part of the Rimrose Valley Country Park environment art trail.

 

Concept: Eco Chamber is to be a form created solely from re-claimed materials, a large pod-like structure, fully spherical. The skeleton of the structures is formed from waste car tires rims structure into spherical forms giving the impression of large atom-like shape. The tire rims are wrapped in bio-degradable green garden waste bags adapting traditional crochet techniques to contemporary practise. Plastic bag usage is essential to the ‘Green’ methodology with them being a major contributor to waste culture in the UK and globally. Some element of green incorporated within the mainly white forms, adding to the ‘Green’ credential but not taking complete control of the colour spectrum. The intention is form to forms to stand out, but not to obscure the urban landscape, Sculptural form which will work will the existing environment. Although made entirely from man made materials and 20th and 21st century manufacturing processes the materials and the working process produce a very organic form. Similar in appearance to traditional thatch works, the medium of plastic bag having straw-like qualities and the use of circular forms commonplace . Using foliage adds to the environmental elements of the chamber, use of beans and sweetcorn plants which are in season at the proposed period adding purpose to the aesthetic. The chamber will be around 2 meters high, a strong visual forms which stamp an environmental message on the festival.

Biennial Independents

Rimrose Valley Country Park

 

Beauty is Truth

Female Eunuch

Beauty is Truth is a flash fiction piece written in response to the famous line from John Keates’ Ode on a Grecian Urn. Explicit content to be expected.

The Sister in Law

I look at her and I see no beauty. I see a woman haggard, prematurely aged and sinful in her ways. Fat encases her body as she discards waste through her vocal chords. She slumps her ass down, she flops her misshaped bosom and she lets her fat thighs swamp her fanny flaps. The chin is twinned with an ugly counterpart hanging low, her voice echoes the disparities of her warped soul. Plus size clothes bandage her whale-like form holding in folds of the dishevelled figure.

Then, sickness levels increase, she speaks, dominating the room as she takes over the discourse allowing no option for others to fully engage. A choice of low-level subjects are introduced, as she begins to preach at her appointed Flock, none of whom have selected to attend her dictated sermon. Then out-pours her self-prescribed sensibility juxtaposed by her new age vision of her vile self. Follow rants of thick level feminist, overtly simplistic re-takes of the Female Eunuch, a text she has never read. Then when questioned on a higher level, no answers she can give, discussion over. The dictator cannot be outspoken, she must be listened to, her direction followed not view with subjectivity.

Beauty is truth, ugly is reality, the fat dripping vision encasing the evils of the soul.

Ugly is Death

Alison Little

More information about Ode on a Grecian Urn

Consequential

Copy me blog

Consequential is the final chapter of Casual Nexus, the novel being written by Alison Little, this is an extract from the chapter. The characters and events are not based on real people or occurrences.

Bea Richards has also heard about the exhibition which Sal had got work into earlier in the week. Like Kate, she had also remained in the area. Not amongst the student though, as minor aristocracy her Father had decided that she should remain in the parental home throughout her University years and his long-term vision was she should continue to live there even after she married someone suitable. After all his parents who had been first cousins had not got married to ensure that the finances stayed within the family for his daughter to go and reside in some student hovel!

Bea thought over the degree show, she had done well from sales, much better than everyone including Sal. After a year everything seemed to have dribbled off, she needed new designs and without the help of the Art Lecturers, she didn’t know what to make. She was owed money from several small handmade shops but was too scared to phone up and inquire about cheques being processed. She thought about how Sal wouldn’t have these problems, she would probably go to her exhibition opening, talk to everyone, sell her work and all the galleries would want her and her artwork. Remembering Sal’s confidence, her ability to talk to everyone and anyone of all ages and all different backgrounds. Her Father, as a Senior Officer had used the Police’s computer system to look to look into Sal’s family background and concluded that she was, in fact, working class and related to many undesirables and even one prostitute. Bea knew the reality of their year at Uni, everyone had looked at Sal as the classy number and despite being aristocracy she had come off as some kind of number two. Sal was the one everyone had wanted to be friends with, she was at the centre of all the student parties while Bea made polite conversation over dinner with extended family members who seemed to be related to both her Parents on an equal footing. Reminiscing over how streetwise Sal was, how she had known about Bea’s boyfriend had been sleeping with prostitutes all along when she had no idea about what was going on.

Bea thinks back to the meeting she had been asked in for at the Police Station last month. As Sal had moved away her Police file had gone to a new Force and different Officers were investigating the open crimes. They had wanted details on what Sal had been subjected to as a child, she had not realised that Sal had been sexually abused. The Officers asked her further details about where Sal had been in the States and when she had no information they had stated that it was important because it was in regards to a serious rape case. It wasn’t her fault she didn’t know anything. Next, they inquired over the report Bea had written where she had been abrupt with herself, asking if that could have been a reaction to the pressure she was under due to the stalker who was following her around? In response she had said she didn’t know, she was then questioned over why she had not given a more detailed Police report in regards to the stalker coming into the degree show. At that point, Bea started to cry and left the room.

On leaving the room she overheard one of the Officers ask the other:

‘Why didn’t they send in someone more attractive and much classier?’

Bea then began to sob loudly and went on route to find her Father in the office he had frequented for many years. She explained to him what had happened and that she didn’t know anything about the rape case and went through again who Sal was going to copy her after the degree show. Her Father then shot out of his seat so abruptly that he almost fell over,

‘I will speak to them.’

He directed, as he marches off Bea follows him and listens by the door. He began by insisting that his daughter was not expected to know anything about a rape case and that this ‘Sal’ brought trouble on herself. He progressed to ask what would have happened if the stalker had started following Bea around and that his daughter was there to be protected. The subject of Bea being vulnerable was raised and the matter of Sal being abrupt with her an absolute atrocity. Finishing off the discussion with how upset Bea had been after the degree show because Sal was going to copy her work. The two Officers were then subjected to a long rant about how Sal had been so jealous of his daughter. They decided not to answer any of his accusations, it was clearly another Senior Officer unable to acknowledge the failings of his offspring.

Later at the Police Station Bea files a report raising the mater of Sal’s exhibition and suggested that she had probably submitted work similar to her as she had been intending to copy her after the degree show. Tears flow down her face and smudge the ink she has been writing with, she thinks nothing of Sal’s brother who abuse her, nothing of the man who had raped her or the stalker who followed her constant for a year. Bea cries in pity for herself, the tears on the Police report acknowledge the inadequacies of the Policewomen and the failings of the Organisation.

Starlet

Starlet image copy

Starlet is a fictional work from Alison Little, none of the charters or events are based on real life.

Starlet

She brushes her hair after her mid-morning bath, her routine so much more leisurely than her childhood days of rushing between casting and filming. She had become a star at the age of three, the Americans and due to the nature of Hollywood, the rest of the World took her into their hearts. A little lady who took the people away from the misery of the Depression in the thirties for a few hours in front of the big screen. The girl that had had everything any child could dream of: leading roles in the latest blockbusters, starring with headline grabbing names. Routines of hair and make-up, no-one ever questioning the sexualisation of the pre-teen, the beautifying process to ensure she was truly gorgeous on the big screen. Her own range of commercial products and, every girl’s dream, her own doll moulded to her features and dressed in her clothes; Black and sassy, hair dark and glossy with bright red lips. Her childhood years were spent marking the milestones of her mothers next high profile marriage. As a Hollywood star herself her Mother had ensured that she pushed her daughter in the same direction after all, fame and fortune was all every girl needed, all anyone should ever desire. She secured the best parts for her daughter and demanded she made the most of them. There was not too young an age to learn that appearance, to be envied by women and to be desired by Men was life’s primal goal.

She really did have it all, but at the age of twenty-two, she decided to give it all up, apart from a few cameo roles acting, singing and dancing were no more. Her Mother dictating her life’s direction was no longer, she made her own decisions.

A soft bristled brush, she quickly neatens her hair, a shorter more practical cut now, still naturally dark but sleeker towards her jaw. Thinking back to her childhood she remembers how she had used to give her hair one hundred strokes to ensure it stays shiny as it lies down her back, again at her Mothers insistence. An exercise in vanity while the other girls played with the dolls modelled on herself. Walking into her wardrobe to select her clothing, opting for a neatly waisted skirt and fitted top. She will look smart and decisive in this attire. She looks herself up and down in the dressing table mirror. Very competent as a well dressed she would ensure she appeared to be a happily married mother of two children she thinks to herself. Her mind turns to her recent disappointment, her husbands latest affair had come out in the gutter trash of the daily press. She had not realised that he had been having an affair, not a new one anyway, there had been so many she had lost track after their second child was born. This time it was more of an embarrassment, he a celebrity artist they had met early on in his career, he had returned from fighting in Europe in the War. He had built up fame ass an abstract painter, his celebrity status excelling when they had begun dating. So as she stepped out the lime light he had stepped in, as he became more famous the headlines began to refer to him by his name, not simply husband of Starlet, Hollywood’s legendary child star. This time it was more of a humiliation, even bigger headline news, the women he had been having the affair with was his life model. Although abstract painters didn’t use life models the press had jumped on the notion as a great story. He had been amidst an alcohol fuel period for several months. She had been avoiding him and ensured the children didn’t see him during these bourbon flavoured patches. He would spend much of his time at his studio, his paintings very dark during these periods. Many of his evenings were spent at endless parties accompanied by various women, other than herself. It was at one of these parties he had been photographed in an embrace with the so called life model come high-class hooker she thought to herself. It had knocked her terribly, she would put a brave face on things for the children and wait until he begged her to take him back. She didn’t know what she would do, say yes or no, it was still too fresh a wound to determine if it could be healed.

Then she looks in the mirror again, the vision comes directly from the heart: she remembers herself as a young girl and she sees a girl of stone. Transfixed and still in motion, no breath, no heartbeat, fixed solid as a rock like form. Her beauty is her shell, her outward appearance, her internal organs are dead to life and emotions. To the outside world she sings, dances, acts and socialises, on the inside, she is frozen still. The dark haired Starlet had become a mature mother who no longer sang and danced, but she was still the same, she must project an image of confidence and success to the World, she may be facing a marriage breakdown but she would continue to allude confidence.

Slowly she moves towards the window, she takes a cigarette from her pack of twenty and she lights it with the marble weighted table lighter. She feels the weight of the marble in her hand, she looks through the expanse of the window of their lakeside Mansion. She thinks about tearing her arm backwards, aiming forwards then projecting the shot put through the outstretched glass pain. A vision of a missile exploding, shrapnel in pursuit of every direction as it projects into the horizon of the lakes edges.

Calming herself, she inhales slowly enjoying the nicotine rush, they were only just beginning to talk about the health risks of smoking now, she had no intention of giving up, her lifelong habit would remain her many vices. She gazes out of the window, her eyes scan the lake: the mountains standing tall in the distance, the expanse of the lake stretching out for miles into the horizon. The pine trees surround the lake looking tall and healthy, strong and worldly, the American way. On the left shore she can see the small cluster of cherry tree’s, she thinks back to the cocktail that had been created in her name. The mixture of ginger ale vodka and tequila topped off with the finest cherries, a highly toxic variety which seemed appropriate for the US dark haired icon.

She looks towards the glass she had been drinking from until late last night, the gin bottle with still quite a bit in it was free to consume. The ice had melted and the lemon had dried up, the tonic was warm but still neatly assembled on the tray which was brought up to her last night. She considered calling down to Ebinger the Mexican housekeeper who came in on weekdays. It was eleven in the morning and she didn’t want her to know she going to start drinking so early in the day. He had sent her over the edge, into the abyss to alcohol added depression, the worrying over everything and seeing no positivity in the future. She made do with warm tonic to accompany the gin then fuelled her mind with another cigarette.

The water laps the rocks which align the edges of the tides path, her eyes focus on the jetty. The small lock up at the end proudly parading the star spangled banner at full mast. An array of brightly coloured kayaks lines one side of the landing,

She thinks back to a movie she had made not long after the second world war. She was all of sixteen and playing a naval Seels sweet heart, she stays loyal to him as he sails seas and coverts with women on the South Pacific. She had not been keen as they had wanted her virtually nude in many of the sex scenes, but her Mother, as usual, had decided it was what was in her best interests. She thinks back to the days of making the movie, a chance to escape her domestic nightmares, her mothers latest husband, she was now on number five had decided he preferred the junior dark haired Starlet to the mature beauty of her mother. He had started walking in when he knew she would be changing when she started blocking the door way with furniture he began ensuring he walked out of the bathroom naked when he knew she was the only one in the house. She made sure she was never alone in the house with him, staying late and making new arrangements to avoid his company. One of the older actors on the set had realised that something was wrong, he had spoken to the director, an old friend of her mothers he had come to the same conclusion. He tried to raise the matter with her mother but she would not believe a word of it, rejecting the logic put forward. Starlet continued to suffer enduring him at meals and more frequently over the festive season. As she looked for escape her domestic nightmare her drinking had begun, eventually leading to the meeting of her current husband.

Looking towards the other moorings her eyes focus on a small motor boat, the stern facing towards the expanse horizon. To take the boat and plough at full speed towards civilisation furthest outpost, how easy it would be to end everything, for the weight of her boulder shaped organs to drag her to the bottom of the lake. Her slow and solid lungs to fill with the water from the basin of nature’s whirlpool. The starter motor of the heart pumps sludge slowly through her internal organs to fail to kick in. The once long dark hair intertwined with the weeds at the bottom of the cycle of life, she would be no more……….