It’s 9am and the sun is shining when she arrives at the gallery. She’s dressed in a black cropped top and a bright pink slip skirt. Her hair dips from blonde to brown and she wears a thin silver hoop through her nose.
As she begins to unpack, passers-by watch as she begins to cover the window with pink paper.
Student, Jessica Platt, from Kent, studies illustration at Norwich university of the arts.
What is Female Oddities?
Jessica created the exhibition to celebrate female individuality and empowerment. Her practice through the past two years has been solely influenced by feminism and stigma towards women.
She creates visual responses that will either draw some light on awkward and uncomfortable situations or lessen the stigma itself. She is slowly transitioning from campaign illustration to tattoo illustration, for a career in tattoo design, where her work will still be heavily women based.
The studio is a small, rectangular and empty space, with stairs that lead up to 5 studios where artists work on their designs. The walls are washed white and the floor is wooden. The front of the building is a wall of windows, allowing the room to be filled with the sunlight that beams over Norwich.
Studio 20 is based on Wensum Street, Norwich. It is an open space which show cases pop-ups, exhibitions, workshops, photography, music and rehearsals, and products and launches.
The exhibition attracted more visitors than expected. Jessica said “The event was incredibly successful, I originally was hoping for a small profit and about 50 people to attend but instead we had over 1000 people throughout the day. The artists, including myself, also made a great profit”.
With the first exhibition being so successful, opportunities for Jessica to progress with ‘Female Oddities’ are looking bright, with potential openings already in place. She said “It has also already opened up more doors for me to potentially do more in Norwich and then hopefully have a larger launch in South East London or Kent.
“I have already had outside contributions for a follow up event, involving self-care for women, who have worked with the likes of River Island. Also wanting to go further out than London”.
What’s the message?
Jess is trying to spread the message that we should be celebrating individuality towards women. In a society where we are evolving the way that we think about women, Jess believes that it’s due to the new sisterhood movement.
She wants to change the stigma that women with tattoos are ‘rough scum’ or ‘bitchy’, and instead, are celebrated for showing their creativity.
Jess also wants to change the problems that artists face throughout their careers. She said, “The creative industry is a hard industry to be a part of and I believe instead of shaming people who are in the creative industry, like me, people should be embracing and supporting one another”.
Female Oddities also promotes these values, by selecting great artists and writers, who have a voice and celebrate individuality. Jess said “I wanted to give them a platform and a chance for the public to show their support towards these creatives, by attending the event, sharing their work, or buying one of their items”.
What should you expect to see?
When asked what people should expect to see, Jess said “You should expect to see a variety of different styles of artwork and writing. It’s always a friendly and empowering environment that contains an inspiring group of artists.
“All the work you see contains an element of individuality and is always a great reflection of our art now. You’ll also expect a wide range of different Emphemera being sold to support artists to exhibit.
At our private viewings it has performance readings from poets, DJs and comedians. Usually accompanied by free drink. Jess said “In the future I would love to have more rooms so that I can alter and have events that happen at night as well as all day events. This project has a lot of potential”.
Jessica plans to bring the exhibition to a variety of locations around Kent. She said “I feel Kent has a few areas where this type of event would do great, particularly around the University of the Creative Arts (UCA) campuses like Rochester and Canterbury.
“It is a good idea to approach an area that already appreciates creatives and add to it. It would also be great to exhibit local practitioners work who live in Kent as it holds a personal feel to the events.
“Studying my Fine Art Foundation at UCA, Rochester, I have a lot of contacts within Kent who would jump at the opportunity to take part”.
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