During the Covid 19 Lockdown I contacted creative colleagues and friends of mine invarious places around the world, and asked them to collaborate on a digital drawing project with me. I sent them the following message:
Digital Graffitti- a collaborative drawing project by Rachel Macmanus
I am asking you to please collaborate on a project with me. I’m producing a digital graffiti project based on the body, my own specifically.
Please find attached an image of me. I am asking that you digitally draw/make marks on it. A digital interaction.
How to: You can just screenshot the image on your phone or computer screen, and then draw on the screenshot. Or if you want to print the image out and draw on it etc, then photograph the result and send it to me. Or use a drawing package on your laptop. Whatever you want to do, I would not want you to spend too much time at it- ideally you would make a quite quick response to the image, and just send it back before thinking about it too much.
You can send it back via any platform you like- my email is firstname.lastname@example.org or you can use facebook/whatsapp/Instagram messaging services if you are linked to me through social media.
I am collecting different responses to the image that people are sending. Like online graffiti made by a variety of people.
Concept: When developing the project I was inspired by a mural I saw of a family, here on a wall in the town I live in. Someone had come along and drawn beards onto all the painted figures in the mural -and I liked it so much more with the added beards!
Using a body as the subject to draw on/around/over sets out a trajectory from the start. The body has so many social and cultural connotations.
The photo provided is untouched and of me now at 45 years of age. I am using my body as I use it in all my work, it is a tool that has served me well. I am interested in how it, as the body of a 45 year old female, no longer young but not yet old, might be responded to. I have a working relationship with my body- I feel very differently towards it than I did 20 years ago. Also bodies can be held sacred and also be reviled. It’s important to add that if you feel offended or unhappy by being asked to contribute to this project then of course please do not hesitate to tell me.
How to use the image: You can draw whatever you want onto the image. You can be serious, silly, political, and you can write on it, doodle, collage it, whatever. I am hoping you might send me a couple of lines of your thoughts on the process too if you don’t mind. Your thoughts are very important to me.
Long term I hope to collect a lot of these responses and display the collective imagery in some form.
I am thanking you in advance for the time you give to the project. I cannot afford to pay you for your time but everyone who contributes to the project (and who wishes to be) will be acknowledged.
I received 25 responses to my email. Using my body as the subject matter set out a trajectory from the start. By using my body as I use it in all of my performance work, it is a tool that has served me well. The body has so many social and cultural connotations. Bodies can be held sacred and also be reviled. I was interested in presenting myself as a type of blank canvas and asking the collaborating artist to interact with and add their own layer to that canvas. What I found most interesting so far about the collaborations was seeing how much of me remained in the image and how much it became about the artist who worked with it. See the collected collaborations below.