The problem with any kind of artistic pursuit is that when you're feeling down you tend to block yourself creatively. Suddenly whatever artistic thing you are engaged in seems stupid and pointless because you feel stupid and pointless. Why paint pictures when other people are better artists than you? What's the point of writing a blog when there are people who are actually paid to write blogs and research their subject matter all day?
This year I've struggled with these doubts. But I'm happy to say that the fog has lifted. I feel happier than I have done in years. I'm starting to feel creative again. And what better way to start thinking of new and interesting things than to look at a weird and wonderful artist.
Wangechi Mutu is an african artist who works in New York. Whilst she also does sculpture and moving image, her most famous pieces are her collages. Her images often focus on a disturbed image of the female figure - sometimes with monstrous spikes, plant-like growths, mechanical cyborg elements and animal features. The result is of women who look grotesque and disturbing but yet still beautiful. It makes me think of the nature of women in the world today - told to embrace our sexual instincts, obsessed with technology which has become an extension of ourselves and constantly trying to refigure our own images - through surgery, Facebook selfies and makeup.
The collages are built from magazine cut outs (images of female beauty cut out of context), from sculpted and painted surfaces and found materials. The collage helps to portray Mutu's idea that: "Females carry the marks, language and nuances of their culture more than the male. Anything that is desired or despised is always placed on the female body."
Here are some of my favourite pieces of her art:
For more on Wangechi Mutu check out this Guardian's article: