Dawn Mellor

Before we begin, I must be brutally honest and say that I definitely preferred the way that Liv Wynter delivered her art presentation, and yet I still enjoyed the talk by Dawn Mellor because of her clear level of passion behind her artwork and herself.

Dawn was at the Royal College for MA in Art when she got a gallery representation. She didn’t have space nor money and so quickly had to move to a larger gallery. She didn’t understand the system that she was in but it changed her and her work to what it is about now.

She made a large series of small figure paintings of various public figures which was satirical to the national gallery. She created a character that was influenced by the media – magazines etc – which added further impact to her artwork and also influenced her own studio space. Dawn had to learn on the job how galleries worked and found very quickly how to irritate collectors and galleries so they were not able to select one or two of the works she created, or the value of the pieces would be lost.

Economically, her paintings weren’t selling. She was told for one of her exhibitions that she would have a two year warning but ended up with only a six week one. This was the realisation that she was a gallery filler. For this exhibition she used Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz as a satirical terrorist (as there was a lot of terrorism in the states at that time). Regan from The Exorcist was her girlfriend – lesbians and bisexuality being something that many Americans were against. This exhibition resembled that the devil can affect you rather than coming from within. Both of the characters – Dorothy and Regan – are ‘old-time’ American icons. She also used war time sights within these paintings to add to the satirical effect.

Another series of paintings named ‘Freeze’ was a set of painting that were going against the collector market. Dawn was told that she could make a body of paintings inspired by someone who has been economically successful in art. She completely and utterly went against this and did, what else, but zombies. These, as Dawn found surprising, sold well, but some people took it as an assault on the women who are in the paintings. Although she does not deny this, she was initially focusing on attacking the society of which these ladies came from rather than the ladies themselves. The fact that these paintings sold well was problematic for her because they were so popular and the gallery wanted more because they were so. She further resisted with paintings.

On a quick side note, Dawn admits that you often have to understand the context of the paintings and portraits, which are often from films, to understand some of the paintings that she has created.

She was pushed into the next gallery even though she had incredibly bad instincts about it (turns out she was correct and the man who runs the gallery still owes her money now).She did a collection here of ‘The Conspiratists’. This was attempt to make a resistance of the ‘yourself’ and to be more of a collectivist community again. Dawn created a theatre or horror narrative which was easily understandable so then everyone could get the message that she was trying to put across. There was a narrative throughout this series of paintings to create an aggressive and irrative gallery. This was also increased by the positions of the paintings as no matter what position you place them in a gallery, it is ensured that the works will be looking at each other.

Dawn found out that she was expected to make money to fund the other artists who’s edgier work doesn’t sell and so she found she needed to make her work ‘worse’ to break this. In the artist talk in particular, she also mentioned how she finds that painting is stuck. There are endless statements of intention, interaction and to push painting towards the public but they do not fund the artist. As it no longer ‘ticks the boxes’ for art, there is no funding for painters.

Paranoia, anxiety, and being under attack – Dawn is self-mocking in her own space. This gives a psychological impact on her as she works in this space ever day. By using satire in her work, she is able to escape this. The narrative of her work and herself changes as the dialogue as the time changes. She has been called everything from pervert to lesbian and homosexual. This has greatly influenced her artwork.

The left the galleries that she was at in order to break free. This is where she met Andrew Hunt where he showed some of her work. This was in 2014, in a space above a library. (Warning: some of the facts here may not be correct as I could not find the corrections online and I was busy writing to collect all the details!) This was based on Helen Muran who was depicted as two maids based on The Maids by Jene. Helen often paid the Queen in movies and TV shows. There was sexual frustration as they made no release when they killed Madame.  Throughout this, Dawn was thinking about class and used Helen as a vehicle for this. There has to be a responsibility for the roles in which artists and actors choose. This work, however, unlike many others of Dawn’s, still functions even if you do not understand the text. Dawn did feel like getting a show in a library, especially the library of the place you came from, is the epitome for a local artist.

After that, she made the artwork that she wanted to do, which made the point that she wanted to make. There were various portraits of characters in different positions of an art gallery. These, somewhat like the library exhibition., were based on women who are in film who played the maids. Dawn found that with these artworks, she wanted to break away from the pristine, white artworks that are traditionally hung in galleries. This series of paintings were shouting that people with the most power to speak about topics were not speaking up. The women painted were from various decades, and some were famous faces, whereas some of the women were only in one film from twenty years ago or so. Within the art gallery itself, the man had no money and so dawn managed to write her own press release – something that is a little rare for artists to be able to do these days.

Dawn critiques art galleries, through that series of work, and generally, who are taking advantages of young artists and interns and the fact that the galleries often want limited free edition prints which they can sell of and make money from, without anything going to the artists themselves.

She was told to paint ‘beautiful’ people (socially), but the women that she paints aren’t always seen as beautiful, even though she found them so. This was found to be problematic. Dawn also paints and uses icons of individualism into a left-wing technique. In one of her paintings, all the characters painted are Regan from The Exorcist and all the lyrics used were from Madonna songs.

The process of developing paintings is also quite unique in some ways. At the moment, Dawn admits to lifting a portrait from the internet, from magazines as she is being lazy. She makes simple portraits and then over time works on top of them. She used an example of recently where she had painted policemen and cops. One night, she came home hungover and in that moment understood what she was doing and began working on them. Dawn also added that she often waits for an angry day to do the destructive parts of the painting.

For other research and articles;

Studio Voltaire

Hunger TV

The Guardian


Sources: DorothyDawn MellorDawn Mellor (1)Dawn Mellor (2)Helen MirrenAudrey HepburnDorothy (1)

Project 2.0 Creating a Manifesto

*See Manifestos and Typography for more details*

Task debrief;

Western artists have been presenting their visions of what art should be in the form of manifestos since the 19th Century. From Joshua Reynolds’s Discourses to the impassioned avant-garde manifestos of the Futurists, Cubists, Surrealists and Vorticists in the early part of the 20th-century, to the powerful Feminist Manifestos of the 1960s and 1970s, the course of art history and how artists respond to the world has often changes as a result. Many contemporary artists continue to set their objectives out as Manifestos on paper today, more often with humour but always with some kind of vision to create better art and a better world.

Using hand made or digital text, we would like you to produce a manifesto with a peer that proposes a vision for making/living/working/being an artist. Using the example manifestos discussed in your lecture and seminar as a starting point. Consider how language and typography in an Artist’s Manifesto might function to visually articulate the challenges we face today in our societies and in our cultures.


I decided to team up with someone else in the Monday group to create our own manifesto on the topic of our prints; about the equality of people, and the way in which this comes across in our different topics.

We decided on the plan of writing a list of rules that say how we should free the nipple, or wear the Hijab (her point was around the topic of France banning the Hijab due to terrorism and the recent terrorist attacks. Hopefully with her permission, I can post the link to her blog to show you how she explains the process of which we went through for her points on the manifesto), and yet at the end we would completely contradict ourselves all together with a final statement saying about that it shouldn’t matter about what we wear or what actions we take to show equality, we should all just be equals.

We decided on the initial plan (as you may be able to see incredibly roughly) of having 5 separate points on the political, law, social and views of the opposite sex. When researching these, I wasn’t expecting so many…

Here are my top picks, and links included for extra reading;

  • (as an extra resource:) Female Nipple Policies
  • What a horrible thing to expose children to and how sad that women feel the need to do these things to get attention. If you want to be treated like equals maybe stop doing childish and attention seeking things. Your really just promoting pornography more than anything.

    Source: Brisbane Park Outrage

  • To be naked in public is not against the law, unless your nakedness is proven to be anti-social in that it is officially ‘disturbing the peace.’ By acting in a way abnormal to what is socially acceptable, then you are committing an offence.

    Sources: Breast CensorshipThe Guardian Nipple

  • You can show some breast in a photo but the actual nipple has to be blurred out.

    Source: The Guardian Nipple Liberation

  • It is a culture that beats into women and men the notion that female bodies are exclusively sexual, even when acting in ways that would be innocuous and permissive for men.

    Source: Nipple Sex Symbol

  • Women are being too expressive. They are acting like sluts.

    Source: me

  • Showing your nipples doesn’t do anything.

    Source: unknown

  • Stop trying to gain equality with tits.

    Source: unknown

  • It’s just not how clear how empowering it is for women to get their tits out, when in fact that’s what pervy blokes have been asking women to do for years.

    Source: Not Nipple Empowering

  • Nobody gives a shit if ya wear nothing at all you idiots. But if you want to get ya dick out in public your looking at a fine (and a court appearance) and harassment, so yeah there’s a discrimination.

    Source: Nipple Picnic

  • While censorship is supposed to represent popular opinion, there is a constant bombardment of mediatised imagery and propaganda, which leads us to think that what we are being told to believe is a subject opinion.

    Source: unknown

Throughout the thought process, we also said NO HELVETICA! We not only found the font to be predictable and kind of boring, but the political, historical and social context of which it has come from is something that we did not want tied to our piece. We decided on two ‘foreign’ fonts that were located on the internet which resembled the argument that we held. For my partner, we found a very arabic-based font which accentuates her argument of the Hijab. My own font was based on the ‘sexy font theory’ (as I have so aptly named it), where it has been found that big loops on the letters ‘g’, ‘y’ and ‘p’ (I believe it was p), is classed as sexy writing. This once again, accentuates the side of which we are arguing.

The list was a simple choice for us as we found it to be the best way to get our points across, loud and clear. The handwriting in some respects does take some of this away. however, we found that it does make our arguments somewhat clearer. This would have been harder to do (we thought), by hand as the lettering would have been more detailed, making it a bit more complicated. We wanted to keep it simple and yet keep our fonts in order to have that clear difference.

Colouring of the composition was chosen from ying and yang. This is kind of a classic example, however after testing out several colour pallets, no other colours simply matched our argument, and matched our poster like the simple colours of black and white. This, admittedly, took up a long of ink when printing, however it was worth the choice. We decided to add in the small parts of red, highlighting six words in total and underlying the ‘Do Not’ on either side, as we felt is excentualted our arguments further. Highlighting those words in particular also gave rise to them and caused them to be a further topic of conversation in our manifesto. The composition and the colour was also altered when we found the best conclusion to fit at the end. The contrasting colours of the conclusion and the individual pages, and also the contrasting pages all harmoniously fits together, and yet it continually makes the point that we are different, and we are all at war with each other, even though we are equals. Doesn’t make sense does it? Don’t worry, we will just leave you hanging with all the questions and conversation topics that come with our manifesto.

David Carson


Neutral typeface or authoritarian? Many people believe that some companies hide behind the Helvetica typeface. It may be clean and structured but the companies and those using it may be using dodgy dealings, which has rendered the companies and also the Helvetica typeface as untrustworthy. In the early 1990’s, designers started to lose faith in Helvetica, in modernism, in homogeneous internationalism, for these exact reasons. There was a new search for the particular, for the culturally specific and for an expression of the individual. We wanted something different.


Source: David Carson

It has also been mentioned that just because it is legible, such as the typefaces of Helvetica, it doesn’t mean it can communicate, or if it can communicate, it can communicate the right thing. Paula Scher found herself morally opposed to Helvetica as she found is symbolised the Authoritarian Capitalist Hierarchy. She followed the postmodern approach in the fact that type can have spirit and convey mood and it is its own palette of expression. This raises an important fact that typography is its own art form and convey mood, expression, just like all other artworks, and every typeface has a history which can have an impact on your piece.


Source: David Carson


Source: David Carson


Source:David Carson


Source: David Carson


Source: David Carson


Fernand Leger



Source: Fernand Leger, The City, 1919

Art and manifestos was transformed by industrialisation and urbanisation. The culture since the mid 1800’s has been marked by a self-consciousness and restlessness that has singled it out from the less changeable pre-industrial world. Change, which is a dynamic constant in the modern period, was embraced by those who would be modern, as a market of advancement. (Meecham and Sheldon Modern Art 0f A Critical Introduction).


Source: Fernand Leger


Source: Fernand Leger


Source: Fernand Leger


Source: Fernand Leger


Grayson Perry (RA)


One of my favourite manifestos is written by Red Alan the teddy bear. Red Alan was Grayson Perry’s teddy bear and he wrote this manifesto in 2012. On a napkin. It is pretty much unbelievable that a teddy wrote this (laughter), but at the same time I feel as though it would have caused a bit of controversy if Grayson Perry himself said that he wrote this. I’ll let you have a read;


Source: Grayson Perry RA, Manifesto Napkin, 2012


Liv Wynter 

Every Wednesday around midday, we receive a talk from an artist. This week, we were greeted by Liv Wynter

…a queer working class female artist working and living in South London. Through her anarchic and punk exploration of language, rap and poetry, Liv uses sharp wit and home truths teamed with uncompromising honesty to create discussions around class, sexuality, gender, recovery from violent relationships and rebuilding yourself post trauma. Liv’s work is socially and politically demanding, and her practice sets her apart from others using text based work due its relentless and unapologetic demand to be acknowledged. Liv’s ability to wear her heart on her sleeve and leave her metaphors at the door means her work is extremely accessible. This allows her to move from established art institutions to youth clubs, community centres, to protests with ease but also raw conviction. Liv uses emotive language without fear and embraces ideas of hysteria as a subversive way to tackle capitalist and patriarchal ideas of how women should behave.

Liv’s driving force is creating community and using art practice to empower and energise marginalised groups, particularly young working class people and people dealing with trauma surrounding sexual violence. Her practice takes on any forms, and although it is rooted in performance, she considers skill sharing and workshops to be a vital part of ensuring the performances have a long lasting and progressive after effect. Her work is as ,uch about the communities that amalgamate together around it as the actual thing – be it a poem, a workshop or a political occupation. Due to outreach being such an important part of Liv’s work, she is often trying to question how we can bring into the gallery those that feel excluded from it. Liv believes the gallery should be an active community space. Liv’s involvement with political organisations and voluntary community projects further demonstrate her dedication to making sure she is putting into practice the things she preaches.

Source: Information email received before the lecture

(Apologies if this is a little ‘bitty’ – it was sometimes difficult to take the most important notes as there was so much that she said, that I felt I needed to write!)

Liv graduated with a BA in Fine Art, last year from Goldsmiths, and only started to begin writing in the second term of year 3 (so only just over a year ago). Before this, she was doing fabrics, but quickly turned to the alter ego of a rapper. Liv sold empty CD cases, fake shirts and advertised gigs that weren’t happening. Going into year three, on top of this she had a 50 hour job in order to support herself. However, she also had her escape of writing, and writing, and writing, wherever and whenever she could – even on the bus.

Liv felt, and still feels now, that her purpose is to go into spaces that everyone is accountable of. This happened with ‘Don’t Flop’, a very racist and sexist environment (Pedro vs Liv Wynter Don’t Flop Rap Battle). It is a very tense battle (Please watch!) and Pedro attacks Liv for being, well, female, and Liv throws this back in his face – along with a lot of weed.

She is also a survivor of domestic violence, something that comes across in a lot of her work, including Rated R and Body Apologies. She uses aggressive vulnerabilities in her work for her points to come across clearer and stronger. She has also been inspired by ‘He chose stars…’ (I think?) and read this in relation to her body and her. The point she made about this was that on YouTube, she never uploaded a video of herself and yet there is 3,470 results when you search up her name.



Source: livwynterisaheadfuck.tumblr.com

This was a series of one-to-one performances over Skype, every night for a month. (Again, I think) It is a story about seeing someone in a pub and not being able to leave. This was 31 shows with 4 people that she knew, then other from around the world, from LA to London. Only these people and Liv Wynter have heard ‘Head Fuck’, as she did the whole campaign on her own. It was performed everywhere and anywhere, in all manners of states, including in a toilet, or while being drunk. She did it in exchange for money, artwork and someone even bought her dinner. The whole idea toys with the idea of being untraceable after being all over the internet. Only the tumblr website now exists.

With the Royal Academy, she hated the show they put on (New Contemporaries) and what it stood for – you have to be part of the show in order to continue into the arts and be ‘great’ in the art community. Liv “ended up in a load of bullshit” doing things she didn’t want to do. She just wanted the YEAH moment. To fight back against the Royal Academy show, she travelled to Liverpool and did a group of shows with the theme of ‘How Much Are They Paying You’. This was free workshops and shows to fight back against the New Contemporaries as you had to pay to get in there and the Royal Academy would give you no money to stay, or travel in London to stay with the exhibition. She agreed that any student who signed up to the New Contemporaries and didn’t get in, could perform at her show and get refunded the £25 ‘membership’ sign up fee.

Liv has been motivated to actively use her work to build a community, and this has carried on where she has set this up. They still meet every Sunday and have an open warehouse for everyone.

She has also worked with Sisters Uncut and opened up a workhouse for women who needed a bed for the night. There are 1000+ empty buildings in (South East) London but there are only 26 beds for women seeking them at night.

Whereisanamendieta. This is a movement that Liv Wynter was involved in. She was in a fight with her husband and he threw her out of the window to her death. Her artwork was used against her in the trial to show that she was mentally unstable. Liv, along with many other women, protested when the new building of the Tate Modern opened, where some of her artwork is being held, and often displayed.

Liv often does workshops to re-perform her work and to ‘get it out there’ again.

She is currently trying to write this ‘thing’ about apathy. It is an argument about who has access to some of the things that are fundamentally provided. Movements and organisations come together to say how they’re good but also how they’ve fucked up – not everyone is perfect. She is organising another one at Goldsmiths about Black Lives Matter.

Liv has also worked with Kate Nash in Girls Rock London, however she is finding more often now that her performances are quite shocking, especially to the young audience. This has not stopped her from working with young people, but she is now re-evaluating what performances she does in front of them.

A few little random last bits of information; She is not writing as much as she would like, but would like to do a 6 month residency (she came straight out of Goldsmiths to this and hasn’t had time to process it all). You makes things that you can’t own or buy – her work only exists online or when she’s in the room. Professional work or personal work in university is hard but it can be done. Normally in art school, people are discouraged to make personal work – fuck it – if that’s what you love and that’s what you care about, push it. Very, very, very political.


Source: Handouts from Liv Wynter

Other Sources:

Storming Tate

Liv Wynter

José Guadalupe Posada

Political prints

How much do you have to know about the art history background to understand the image? There was also a large sense of mocking morality through these images produced, especially seen in The Dance of Death, Gran fandango y francachela de todos los calaveras, where the characters of the image are not reluctant to take part.

I find these images very details as the skeletons do not seem out of proportion, and yet the longer I find myself looking at these artworks, the more I want to say that they are out of proportion. I also like the comical and ironic side of these artworks as for me they almost tease death, like here I am, but you can’t get me.


Sources: Gran fandango y francachela de todos los calaveras José Guadalupe PosadaCalavera Catrina José Guadalupe PosadaGran calavera eléctrica José Guadalupe PosadaLos Siete Vicios José Guadalupe Posada


Source: Staticflickr.com


Source: Cyclists


Source: Frankzumbach wordpress


Black Panther Party

Black Panther Part Poster, Political prints

Flyers and posters have always been one of the cheapest, quickest and most anonymous ways of showing political stands. The Black Panther Party often uses this technique with direct and confrontational text such as

An Attack Against One Is An Attack Against All

The Slaughter of Black People Must Be Stopped! By Any Means Necessary!

With posters and flyers, it also does not directly say who made it except for the image of the panther, a common recurrence throughout their posters.


Source: Black Panther Party Flyer


Source: Black Panther Party Flyer

New commercial processes  allowed colour to be reproduced quickly, allowing a more ‘pop art’ look to the posters and flyers. In one of the more well known pop art and colourful posters of the Black Panther Party, the lady in the poster is distributing posters and flyers. This makes her vocal about the text, but to back her up she has a gun over her shoulder and she doesn’t look afraid to use it. This supports the very strong political views of the Black Panther Party, and emphasises that they are not afraid themselves of speaking out against everyone else.


Source: Black Panther Party Poster


Source: Black Panther Party Poster


Source: Black Panther Party Poster


Source: Black Panther Party Poster


Source: Black Panther Party Poster


Source: Black Panther Party Poster


Source: Black Panther Party Poster

Project 1.0 Political Prints

FIRST PROJECT OF THE YEAR! (Not including the summer project.)

So from the Introduction to Political Prints session that we had, we were given the task of producing our own political prints.

Here was our task debrief;

Art has had a troubled relationship with propaganda, which is frequently seen as overly didactic.

The history of print as a medium is often associated with radical politics. From the Russian constructivists to the art students of May ’68, to contemporary protest posters from many artists in countries around the world, artists have used print to create quick and bold statements, to combine images and text.

Using stencil printing, we would like you to produce an image that functions as a piece of propaganda in response to the challenges we face today in our societies and in our cultures. Consider the relationship between the imagery you use and the concepts you are exploring and think about what issues you would like your 2016 student revolt to address!

Source: Task debrief – Reading University Blackboard Learn

There are a lot of things that I feel passionate about and that I could do my stencil printing on, including the topics of; endangered animals, brexit, the American elections, sexism and feminism. But after a few hours of having a sit down, think, and a doodle (what else are you supposed to do?), I came across the quote

Can you see me now?

Source: Unknown

This led me to looking at the topic that was raised a few months back;

Free the nipple

When this hit the news, I felt incredibly passionate about the topic. My take on the subject was all about the women who were breastfeeding their babies in public. This is in no way, shape or form, is a sexual act, unlike how some men and reports I found were showing this. It is a simple act of the human body to want and need food, including those babies who still need fresh milk from their mothers. It did, however, become a fashion statement very quickly. This personally annoyed me as many of the articles reporting the ‘#freetheboob’ movement, were commenting on how uncomfortable bras were and how it is just commercialism that is making us buy bras. How ‘Free the Nipple’ became summer’s biggest fashion trend – EveningStandard. Yes, it has been scientifically studied as to whether women need to wear bras or not, and apparently we don’t, (Here’s Why You Shouldn’t Wear A Bra, According To Science – IFLScience) but that doesn’t mean we need a hashtag and a fashion trend about it, especially when it draws it away from the Free the Nipple campaign, which is very different.

I did not know this, but Free the Nipple is a lot bigger than just the whole breastfeeding in public taboo. The Free the Nipple campaign has been described as

…a global campaign of change, focused on the equality, empowerment, and freedom of all human beings. Free the nipple has become a premiere voice for gender equality, utilizing all forms of modern media, to raise awareness and effect change on various social issues, and injustices.

Free the Nipple Campaign

Looking closer and at more detail of what the Free the Nipple campaign truly stood for, I was inspired to create my own piece of propaganda to support the campaign.  I couldn’t exactly just whip off my shirt to reveal no bra to show my point, like hundreds of men and women did on Brighton Beach to protest against the social media policies banning on the female nipples.

‘Free The Nipple’: Hundreds Gather In Topless Protest On Brighton Beach – Huffington Post

I could, however, create a stencil printing, using my new found information on the Free the Nipple campaign, and the quote that inspired all of this; Can you see me now? I did have to take a moment to figure out what I could do inn order to get my point across – the female, and the male nipples, are something that we should not be ashamed of and that we should not hide. It should not be a taboo.

I therefore created the following design whereupon the nipple and the boob that are uncovered are the centre of attention, being the focal point of the print.

I initially couldn’t decide on whether I wanted this design, or to invert it and print where the majority of the page was black, showing a white boob and a black nipple. However, I soon realised that this could not be done as there would be multiple areas of the print that were not connected, hence I went for this design.

I also changed the composition of the wording several times. The consistent parts were the bra itself, the O, U and nipple. Initially, the ‘o’ of the ‘now’ was smaller, as to represent the other nipple. I did change this as it looked, to me, out of place, so I changed it to the now, larger ‘O’. I also changed the composition of the ‘y’ as originally it was vertical. The reason for this change was due to it being more aesthetically pleasing, but looking back, it now also follows the curvature of the breast which accentuates both the breast and the nipple.

The screen printing itself was interesting.. I have done screen printing before, however the screen printing ink has never stained this much! A tiny bit on my hands and it stayed there for days. As per usual, some of the prints were absolutely atrocious and barely legible, however there were a couple of them which were crisp and defined!

Drumroll please…




Our exhibition isn’t fully up yet, but will be open on Thursday afternoon, so more photos and updates soon!

The beginning…

This is the start of my third blog, but this one will be very different compared to those as this blog follows my art journey through the next four years at the University of Reading.

So just to introduce myself a little; I come from Swindon, I’m in my first year of a BA in Art and Psychology and I love German Shepherds (I have two). To do with art; I took art GCSE and HL Art in IB, I love most artwork and believe that inspiration can come from anywhere!

Prepare to read some inspirational posts, some weird posts and some outright stupid posts. However, these will represent my journey over the next four years and I hope you can come on this journey with me!

See you soon


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