Last week we had an artist talk and workshop from Michaela Yeawood-Dan. Her work explores ideas around class, race, gender, culture and nature.
I really liked the format of the talk and workshop because they were both very informal and relaxed, which reflected the way in which Yearland-Dan works in her paintings. She takes inspiration from everything she sees – not just artists she looks at. A lot of her work is inspired by music. I like how she said that she used something as simple as watch all the seasons of Mad Men as the basis of some of her work she made during lockdown. It’s very different from what you’d hear from other artists, but I feel like it’s very relatable to us as art students. Very often we can get distracted by other things like binge watching a TV show, instead of doing our work. Michaela’s approach is to take these “distractions” and turn them into research and artwork. This is an approach that I’ve also taken in my practice.
In the workshop, she set us a brief to do a short presentation on an artwork that was inspired by music. I chose Winston Smith’s God Told Me To Skin You Alive, which was a version of this piece was also used as the album cover of one of my favourite Green Day albums, Insomniac. I talked about the different left-wing punk subgenres coming together in one piece because they all stand for the same thing – No Racism, No Sexism, No Homophobia. The album Insomniac by Green Day was the response to the East Bay Punk community kicking them out for “selling out”, and the band proving to the community that they still belong.
The second part of the brief was to make a work inspired by music. In my art practice I also use music as my inspiration – especially music and videos from the 80s and 90s, I like the retro look for my films. I did a performance with a projection of a video collage which feature clips from music videos by Green Day, Wham!, and Erasure – as well as my own video clips and photographs. Michaela really enjoyed it and suggested that I look at the work of Arthur Jafa for more inspiration to evolve my work