Final project: new and improved artist book (Link to a doc with the book)

For my final project I decided to add on to my artist book. In my original artist book, I showcased different African american hairstyles using pictures of myself, friends, and family. In each picture, I covered the eyes of each person with tape to sort of hide their identity. A lot of black people identify themselves with their hair and I wanted to find a way to personify that. I used paper bags to create my book as a little nod to the “paper bag test”. For this test a black person would have a brown paper bag held up to their skin and if they were lighter than the bag then they “passed”, if they were darker then they failed. This test was used in nightclubs, soroities and fraterniteis, churches, anywhere a person’s enterence or participation could be accepted or denied.

For my updated book, I added nine more pages to my original ten. I wanted to incorperate different voices into the project. I added more controversial topics such as appropreation and assimilation which is a HUGE debate right now in popular culture. Can someone not be “allowed” to wear a certain hairstyle because it “belongs” to another race? Also, what’s the difference between being inspired by something and stealing ideas?

I also added different issues that have happened around the world to young people of color involving their hair. Natural African american hair is often deemed as untidy, unprofessional, and messy. In schools students are sent home, suspended, or expelled for wearing their hair how it naturally grows out of their head. They are being told to straighten their hair because their curls are too distracting and disruptive to the class.

I also included more cultural things related to African american hair such as bonnets and head wraps. In my original book I included a few children hairstyles but I left out how painful it is to get them. Every black woman can remember crying while getting their hair done as a little girl. I remember watching my sister’s scalp turn red every time my mom did her hair. As you get older the pain does NOT go away, you just learn how to deal with it.

I made a few changes to the look of the artist book. I added little colorful shapes in the background of the pictures just to make it look a little more bright and colorful. You can’t tell by the pictures but I made the physical book a lot smaller than the original. When I printed out the new pictures to add my extra pages, I made them too small on accident. So instead of printing them out again, I just made some adjustments.

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