In Jan 2019 Shauna met with Graff.io’s Andy & Guy at the Graff.io Arts studio in Leicester. Shauna brought her iPad, showed us some new work and even had time for some sketching.
We talked about our collaboration and the ideas behind her current body of work. Check out the video and the full interview below.
SHAUNA MCKEON X GRAFF.IO ARTS
A transcript of the conversation between Andy Harper & Guy Boyle from Graff.io Arts & Shauna Mckeon, Leicester, January 2019.
A Toolkit for Women
It started off with this piece "Grow through what you go through"... It was designed for an app that is a toolkit for women... It has inspiration there / motivation videos on there. From there, I thought it would make a nice postcard- I imagine posting this to one of my friends when they felt down or sad or something. Where can I go from there, what else can I make ? Then I stared to make other pieces.... I wanted then to have clear messages on them.
Postcards to a Future Feminist
This project is called Postcards to a Future Feminist. The project came about because I was going to send some artwork out to my friends that were feeling down or needed some motivation. From there I thought it would be nice if I sent them to women that I surround myself ( My friends, my Mum, my sisters, women I have worked with in the past that I find inspiring ) Then ask them to write something on the back of the postcard that they'd send their younger selfs that would have empowered them at the time.
Something inspiring, or life advice that they'd give to their 13 year old self.
Advice to a Younger Self
If I could go back to my younger self I'd say "You need to care less about what other people think & what you look like - it doesn't matter in the grand scheme of things & it's not going to stop you from doing what you want to do."
A Female Perspective
Maybe it is because my friend pool is really female dominated. I'm really close to my mum and my sisters. So maybe I only have a female perspective, obviously I've never been a man!!
From what I've seen, women always have less self belief & they're less willing to put themselves out there, especially in a career field. I think it's societal pressure, and as a kid that gets into your head... you think that's the way it's supposed to be.
The Design Process
Usually I start with a phrase that I like - like "Empowered women, empower women". So like, a pinky promise for example that would fit.... Then I try and think of a symbol or an image that represents that.... I'll add the text in at the end after I've drawn it. The drawing is definitely the main part for me. I would hope that you can take this away & understand that this is about growth.
I start off with pencil drawings / ink drawings. They'll be completely black & white or greyscale. I'll scan them into the computer and start adding colours and shapes... With this one - I drew the hand and the text separately and I layered them up using Photoshop.
Focus on your Passion
I think the thing that's helped me the most & made my work grow the most was just making work, for myself - that I'd want on my wall or that I'd want to see. That's definitely helped. At Uni, there's all this pressure to find a style and make work like everyone else that is getting paid work. My work looks nothing like it did then.
Just make work that you want to make and worry about money later. Then the jobs will find you because you're making work that you're passionate about.
Who's it For?
So this work is for your sister, or your mum, or a friend who's not feeling 100%. This was the work that I created for them - I want you to give it to them, then maybe they'd feel a little pick me up, or a bit more self belief. There's a set of nine postcards, something for everyone - a different message on each. You can get them in sets of three. The first 100 come with a limited edition post card, which was how I originally saw them being. If you've got a space on your wall & you think, what could go their? - a nice little print by me that's got a daily mantra on it that will hopefully brighten up your day!