Les Girls, 2007

Over the college course, I was applying to grad school. I secured a place at a school in London I was interested in, but I really wanted to go to CalArts, so I set my focus on there. Long story short, I applied to start in 2006, but I didn’t get in–I was waitlisted. I applied the following year recognising I had a high chance of being accepted. I was also applying for scholarships, and as I found out about my acceptance in 2007, I also was told I was waitlisted for a prestigious scholarship.

My portfolio included six cigarette card recreations I was happy with.

I called this collection Les Girls, after Constance Tomkinson’s book, which seemed to capture the spirt of the project. As I was preparing to move country to go to school, I also applied to show the series in a solo exhibition at Bloc Projects in Sheffield. I wasn’t successful in getting a solo show, but the project was combined with two others, to make a three person show, in the September-October after I had left the city.

There was a way in which I was bringing this work into a contemporary art conversation, and this was something I was invested in. However, I had developed a technical and historic language around this work, and a proto-feminist position. I had some critical awareness–I knew I was recreating images that were about men’s desires, commerce and tobacco, but I had no words to convey that.

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