I was absolutely thrilled with the feedback that I received both in response to the blog post (here) and on the call. My main topics for discussion were choosing the kind of background to use and how to present the work.
My original choice of background worked, for me, because it clashed so much with the pink and because it had absolutely nothing to do with pink. It was a floral lime green photoshop texture. One tutor very much liked it. Many peers however didn’t, because of the clashing colours and because they felt it distracted from the images.
For me this raises the interesting question of “does the background have to be aesthetically pleasing for the work to be a success?” Am I making delicately toned images that would sit neatly in pastel toned rooms or white walled galleries? Or am I wrenching pink out of its aesthetic home and forcing a recontextualization? Is there any middle ground possible? This is also interesting in the context of Sarah-Jane’s comment on the blog post linked to above.
A suggestion that’s come up a couple of times is using blue as a background colour. I don’t want to do this. I did try, and it does it look pretty, but I think putting pink and blue together recontextualises both shades into the current gender tropes, and I want to consider pink as more than the gender opposite of blue. Using patterns such as camo or shades such as beige have a similar problem, whereas the green background is bright enough to deny its floral heritage and disrupt the pink.
The vanilla background went down well (from the idea of sugar almond tones) as did the pink backgrounds, and there was discussion over whether a single pink tone would work for the background on all images or whether a range of tones could be used.
Then a textiles student completely disrupted everything by talking about Pantone colours of the year and Millenial Pink. Pantone Colour of the year for 2016 was Rose Quartz – a pale pink (coupled with a soft blue called Serenity). The spring collection for 2017 included Pale Dogwood – an even paler more beige pink, pink with the pink taken out if you will. Then I looked up Millenial Pink and watched my search engine fill with pages of results. It’s an ongoing phenomenon and a perfect contextual reference to explore as it moves pink to the moment. Pink for everyone. Pink for everything. Pink for everywhere.
We moved onto format and the tutor co-hosting the call suggested using greetings cards, as this would allow me to have the image on the outside and the text on the inside. I am thinking about using feminist quotes to help recontextualise the pink. I thought this was a great idea and we talked about embracing the “bad taste” aspect by incorporating smudges such as are on the leggings image and possibly glitter too (I could also emboss the cards sparingly with flowers, hearts etc).
I would never have come up with this diversity of ideas on my own and that is why I am so passionate about taking opportunities for peer feedback at all stages of developing work.
Following on from the call, I am wondering about a postcard format. I have found colour codes for various shades of millennial pink and am planning to use those as background colours. As they tend toward “dirty”pinks rather than clean pinky pinks I should get a slightly dubious effect from putting full on Disney pinks against a beigey or salmon y pink background. I am also going to explore putting the #colour code for each background as an embossed-effect text layer on each image. I also need to try out recolouring the green background with millennial pink shades. There is a range of 4×6 card available that I can use and Fotospeed sell pre-scored greeting card blanks in a a variety of weights and sizes. Alternatively, Moo do postcards in a heavyweight card with an option to include a “seam” of colour between front and back, and pink is an option for that seam. I can buy “labels” to add to cards, or if I print my own I can print my own fronts and backs. So in the space of a few days this work has gone from interesting, but lacking direction, to much more of an assignment with legs. Thank you everyone.