Illustration: A Theoretical and Contextual Perspective

My artist's book Dear is featured in the second edition of this book, next to an interesting project from David Lemm. It was a pivotal piece of work during the PhD, in that it saw me successfully wrestle the results of an inductive research process into a final outcome that reflected the content in its increasing decrepitude. 

In plain English, it started with a field trip to Dartmoor, where I was immersed in the location for a week where I filled my sketchbook with observational drawing and collage. I also did some contextual research in the Moretonhampstead library, identifying the local story of Kitty Jay as the conceptual anchor (or organising principle) for making something of this happy midden of materials collected. 

It allowed me to explore some of the issues hovering over this story, which seem to be overlooked in favour of a sentimental approach to "the poor wee lassie".  Instead I wanted to highlight these (persistent) inequalities, and did so by clothing them in hooves and other ridiculous visual metaphors that arose from the necessity of making use of the imagery I already had. I chose water soluble ink to print it...and then buried the book. 

You'd have to exhume it to read it and therefore contribute to its decomposition. This puts a stop to the cycle of injury and disrespect that befell the central character. A pathetic attempt at redress, I think I wrote at the time. More images can be found here:

Thanks to Alan Male for including the project.