Prepping was never one of my great skills before my brain injury. Something must have happened when the surgeons opened up my skull, cauterised here and there, closed it up and sent me on my way.
Because prepping has become one of my specialist subjects. I have agreed to do an online monoprinting workshop tomorrow for members of Headway East London, a charity supporting people affected by brain injury.
The workshop is based on the Barbican’s Masculinities: Liberation Through Photography exhibition. I’ve done it before, and even made a video, Cut-Price Portraits, demonstrating the process (it replaces block ink with cheap wax crayon).
I use these workshops to start a conversation. Before Lockdown, that was done in small groups. We’d chat, eat nibbles, drink drinks and draw. It is art made fun and easy for non-artistic adults.
The topic is all important. In one workshop we all made our own Mona Lisa print and debated whether the smile was real or fake.
Tomorrow’s workshop is about masculinity. The Barbican exhibition has reopened after Lockdown, so the promotional activities have restarted, too. Hence my workshop.
Images from the exhibition would normally be our starting point, but in these strange times any image that symbolises masculinity will do. We will make arty prints for the price of a cup of tea and talk about what it means to be a man.
I will teach by example and demonstrate the process from a Zoom Room. To make it more interesting, on this occasion I will do this not with an image from the Barbican’s Masculinities exhibition but with one from Japan.
I have chosen to use a Manga image of a gender-spurious western cowboy. This will open the door to ideas about masculinity as a cultural construction. Discuss!
That’s the idea. I expect something else entirely will happen in the moment, so why I am prepping this project so carefully today is a mystery. Maybe my brain injury made me just a tiny bit obsessive.