1.1 Personal Statement

!!Being updated

I am an artist and illustrator aiming to make images and animations that encourage people – including myself – to think more deeply about the world and their place in it. Image-making is my way of discovering and exploring new experiences, finding new ways of seeing, thinking and living. Finding connections and contradictions, light and dark and transitions between. Exploring different emotions and my responses to the world around me.
As part of my professional work as a participatory facilitator of visioning and planning processes in Africa, Asia and Latin America I am also looking at ways of developing pictorial animated on-line interactive resources with and for communities that people anywhere can download and use for community-based trainings on a range of sustainable development topics.
But as I was born and brought up in Europe, specifically England, my starting point is the world at home. The more I travel, the more questions I have about everyday things I have taken for granted, seen as boring and unremarkable or ugly and unavoidable. I am interested in how image-making can raise awareness and promote communication between people from different backgrounds – gender, identity, poverty – and promote creativity in managing our physical environment.
My work does not follow any specific style or medium. More a working approach to set or self-identified briefs.
I work in a range of media including drawing, printmaking, photography, collage, painting and digital media. Seeing how to exploit and extend the specific features of each, pushing them to the limit and layering them in combination. I am currently exploring how to convert my still images into different types of interactive experience using Adobe Animate, Photoshop and After Effects combined with video.
I enjoy working directly from life, sketching people and imagining the stories they might tell. Exploring different perspectives and moods. I am very interested in different cultural styles and meanings, how they use line, shape, colour and abstraction and the different meanings artists intend and viewers bring to the image.
I work with collage and photomontage to discover and explore connections and contradictions of meaning, particularly in my more political work.
I also work a lot with found images – doleful zebras in the woodgrain, monsters in the marble, dinosaurs in the clouds, faces in the sheet folds. I work with natural, mixed and print ‘accidental’ lines and  textures as a basis for ‘imaginings’, exploring the types of stories these suggest. Then I develop these images to clarify shapes, or as the basis for drawings and paintings, often combining these digitally in Photoshop or with Corel Painter.


Zemni Images is the blog of Linda Mayoux, an illustrator, photographer and artist based in Cambridge, UK. My professional life as global consultant in participatory development in Africa, Asia and Latin America is very intense. I meet many wonderful, inspiring people – many living in poverty and bravely facing threats of political and gender-based violence. I see stunningly beautiful scenery – both ‘wild natural’ remote environments and managed rural and urban landscapes. But she also sees many shocking examples of exploitation, environmental degradation, waste and powerlessness.
Art and illustration are part of my attempt to find my small voice. Making images and animations that encourage people – including herself – to think more deeply about the world and their place in it. ‘Simple images’ with ‘clear messages’ are often inadequate to sustain attention in the deluge of ‘compassion/guilt fatigue’. I am interested in how to make visual messages understandable without oversimplifying from any one particular standpoint. In structuring and juxtaposing information to inspire people to want to think things through for themselves.
At the same time I try to be aware of and acknowledge my own inevitably subjective perspective. Much of my work is underpinned by a feminist perspective and interest in women’s experience as integral to the ‘human’ condition. Some of my work is autobiographical – including the ‘zemni’ avatar. And the more I have travelled, the more questions I bring back about life at home. My image-making and future plans now increasingly focus on potentials and challenges nearer to home – the way we live and our own roles in shaping the world.
In order to attract and sustain attention I am also concerned about aesthetics and design, and underlying feelings and meanings – flashes of light darting across layers of reflection, fascination with transition states and half-glimpsed images as the brain attempts to make sense of random patterns and sensations.  I am particularly interested in the power of suggestion and the process of abstraction and the degree to which images can be simplified in different ways for different effects and still remain readable to the viewer.
I work in a range of media including drawing, printmaking, photography, collage, painting and digital media. This blog brings together interlinkages and common themes between different areas of my practice and the ways that use of different media affect the ways that messages are communicated. And hopefully communicating my sense of wonder, sometimes anger, but above all questions about the only world we have.


Developing a personal voice within my work is about developing and authoring my own content to communicate how I see and feel about the world I live in – its light and dark, and complex messes between. It is partly a political voice aiming to raise questions about inequalities, prejudices and the way we live our lives, often creating senseless limitations and unhappiness for ourselves and others. It is also an aesthetic and spiritual vision that aims to see beyond the surface and open up imaginative possibilities in the everyday environment that surrounds us.

Zemni Illustration: artist’s statement  

Zemni portfolios 2009-2015

The pieces I enjoy most are those that start from chance accidents – textures, patterns and splodges, and explore their imaginative potential for narrative or dramatic expression.

I like working with a range of media – pencil, charcoal,  ink, soft and oil pastels, watercolour, printmaking and digital technologies. I also like experimenting with unusual media like glue drawing and mesh drawing.

Every mark and every splodge has a story to tell. Imagine…Ever so much to learn!

Zemni Images is the blog of Linda Mayoux, an illustrator, photographer and artist based in Cambridge, UK. My professional life as global consultant in participatory development in Africa, Asia and Latin America is very intense. I meet many wonderful, inspiring people – many living in poverty and bravely facing threats of political and gender-based violence. I see stunningly beautiful scenery – both ‘wild natural’ remote environments and managed rural and urban landscapes. But she also sees many shocking examples of exploitation, environmental degradation, waste and powerlessness.

Art and illustration are part of my attempt to find my small voice. Making images and animations that encourage people – including herself – to think more deeply about the world and their place in it. ‘Simple images’ with ‘clear messages’ are often inadequate to sustain attention in the deluge of ‘compassion/guilt fatigue’. I am interested in how to make visual messages understandable without oversimplifying from any one particular standpoint. In structuring and juxtaposing information to inspire people to want to think things through for themselves.

At the same time I try to be aware of and acknowledge my own inevitably subjective perspective. Much of my work is underpinned by a feminist perspective and interest in women’s experience as integral to the ‘human’ condition. Some of my work is autobiographical – including the ‘zemni’ avatar. And the more I have travelled, the more questions I bring back about life at home. My image-making and future plans now increasingly focus on potentials and challenges nearer to home – the way we live and our own roles in shaping the world.

In order to attract and sustain attention I am also concerned about aesthetics and design, and underlying feelings and meanings – flashes of light darting across layers of reflection, fascination with transition states and half-glimpsed images as the brain attempts to make sense of random patterns and sensations.  I am particularly interested in the power of suggestion and the process of abstraction and the degree to which images can be simplified in different ways for different effects and still remain readable to the viewer.

I work in a range of media including drawing, printmaking, photography, collage, painting and digital media. This blog brings together interlinkages and common themes between different areas of my practice and the ways that use of different media affect the ways that messages are communicated. And hopefully communicating my sense of wonder, sometimes anger, but above all questions about the only world we have.

 

Work your way through the following prompts as a starting point to reflect on your practice and think about how you describe it.

1. Review your work.

Look at your previous coursework and identify a range of your best work. This might not necessarily be your finished assignments; it could equally well come from your personal work, sketchbooks or exercises. What pieces of work do you think are most successful at presenting your interests and talents? What do these pieces of work have in common? Identify some threads that link them together visually or conceptually. You may want to re-read your previous tutor feedback reports to see if your tutor was highlighting other pieces as your best examples. Reflect on this selection process in your learning log. Why did you pick your selection? Why did you reject your other work?

2. Identify key words.

• Produce a list of key words that describe the form or vehicle of the work you find most interesting or would be interested in developing, for example posters, street art, typefaces, etc.

• Develop a list of the tools you most often use. Feel free to include tools you are keen to adopt.

• Produce a list of key words that describe the visual quality of your work. This list might highlight the mediums you use, the visual language you reference or the visual quality of designs or images you make. For example: digital designs, pop culture, geometric, primary colours, minimal.

• Produce a list of key words that describe the kind of content you’re interested in working with. Do you design for an audience in mind or are you particularly interested in working with other subjects or disciplines? Your list can be varied and describe the range of things you do. For example, you may be interested in producing illustrations primarily for children, combining an interest in graphic design with classic literature, or developing forms of communication that explore environmental issues.

From these four lists, make a final selection of seven key words that seem most important to you. How does this list stand up against your selection of your best work? Are you describing forms of work you would like to do but haven’t done yet? Reflect on the process in your learning log, identifying any future projects or areas you may like to develop.

3. Write your statement.

Write a short statement that describes what you do, the kinds of work you undertake and the overall feel of your creative voice. Try to summarise your statement in no more than three sentences. Don’t worry if you’re uncertain about your practice; you can always include this sense of questioning within your statement. Here are some examples:

• I am an illustrator with a focus on drawing and a growing interest in animation. My

work revolves around drawing from life and using this material as a starting point

for my illustrations, which have mostly been editorial so far. I like to make subtle images using watercolour and pencil that tell stories about the everyday world, for example by producing a series of drawings documenting interactions at my local café.

• I am a graphic designer working primarily with digital designs who is interested

in commercial branding and identities. My work makes use of clean lines, strong colours and a rounded aesthetic. I am interested in developing visual outcomes that answer the demands of a client but at the same time are visually appealing.

• I am an interdisciplinary designer, equally interested in typography and illustration. My work spans digital forms, printmaking and traditional illustration techniques such as painting with gouache. I am interested in developing work that explores the overlaps between typography and illustration; so far I have done this through paper-based pieces but would be interested in extending my work.

 

Zemni Images is a blog of Linda Mayoux, an illustrator based in Cambridge, UK.

Image-making is a necessary part of my own process of making sense of life in our sometimes beautiful, but often insane world. In my ‘parallel life’ as global consultant in participatory development in Africa, Asia and Latin America I meet many wonderful, inspiring people. I see stunningly beautiful scenery – human rural and urban landscapes as well as ‘wild natural’ remote environments. I also see many shocking examples of violence, exploitation, environmental degradation, waste and powerlessness. The more I travel, the more questions I bring back about life at home  – where are our ‘developed’ lives trying to get to and why? 

 I work in a range of media combining drawing, printmaking, photography, collage, painting and digital media. Some of my art just ‘is’ – a somewhat obsessive expression of emotions and feelings, slowing life down through experimenting with media, colours and textures and exploring new thoughts and connections emerging from splodges and patterns.

My illustration is a more conscious effort at communication, based on observation or ‘imaginings’ from narratives and patterns I see in different surfaces and materials. Aiming to provoke people – including myself – to think more deeply about how we are using our lives.  And inspire all of us to make our world a more just and sustainable place for everyone. 

Zemni Illustration blog brings together my work, research and thoughts for Open College of the Arts Visual Communications level 3 course: Advanced Practice. It focuses on my work on ‘Place’ and ‘Journeys’ in Europe, Africa and Asia. 

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