Drawings of everyday life

About a preconception

One of the reasons why I enjoyed it so much to study Gender Studies at the university was: any preconception about the idea of sex and gender is questioned. And if you can deconstruct sex/gender, than you can question every boundary and certainty. This education gives a sharp eye for hidden prejudices. In spite of this background, I can catch myself regularly being  biased. A few days ago I discovered I’m having unrealistic preconceptions about which kind of people do have certain drawing styles.

In the Flickr-group Julia Kay’s Portrait Party (aka JKPP) members draw each other from photos we uploaded. I love being part of this group for several reasons. It is a very divers group: beginners post together with professional artists. In the group pool you can see digital art, traditional oil painting and watercolors next to each other. All kind of styles are present: abstract,  wild, naïve, outsider, realistic, cartoonish, and much more.

One of the artist’s work I like very much is ‘chartan’ (nickname for Charlotte Tanner). I like her bold style. Here are two portraits she made for JKPP:
 passionateartist Julia Kay;

She uses the iPod to draw and she knows how to use Photoshop. This is the portrait she made of me:
Paulien Maria;

Then there is this older the lady who posted these interesting photos for us to draw, one after her eye surgery:
me eye surgery;

Only when I started to draw her, I connected that Charlotte-with-the-eye-surgery was the same person as ‘chartan’-the-cool-digital-artist. Ajj, there I caught myself with a big prejudice. I didn’t make this connection, because I think ladies-older-then-50 do not use digital media like iPods and Photoshop. And with a straw hat I automatically think the person paints with watercolor. I’m really blushing for these silly preconceptions that I have, while being graduated in feminism. Well, I hope Charlotte will forgive me. Here you can see the drawing I made of chartan/Charlotte-the-great-artist:
Chartan / Charlotte Tanner for JKPP

If you want to see more work of Charlotte Tanner (chartan) you can go to her Flickr-pages or her weblog named Doggy & Other Art.


14 responses

  1. …..and Grietje, we older ladies know that and just don’t mention our age or show our pictures on internet too much, because we are still who we were 30 years ago, only the packaging isn’t as great any more, and it does seem to affect how we are perceived. However it understandable and I notice that most of my friends don’t surf the internet and think that Photoshop is something about buying photos. Love your work. Groetjes

    January 21, 2011 at 5:07 pm

    • Elza: Thanks for your comment.

      I don’t agree with you about the packaging not being great anymore of ‘older ladies’. What I wrote was about the relationship between computers and modern technology & age (and also a little bit of gender). I think the package of older ladies is just fine. But your comment gives me a lot of ideas for a new blogpost, about beauty, gender & drawing portraits.

      January 21, 2011 at 11:12 pm

      • Glad I inspired you for more writing/art. Works the same way for me too. Eh, wait when the packaging gets a little worn. I am not vain, but it takes some getting used to seeing yourself change.
        Anyway, I did get what you were saying: computers/mod.tech/age/and even gender.It just depends on what one is interested in and I am just naturally curious, so modern technology gets its fair share.

        January 29, 2011 at 9:29 pm

  2. Jaap Keller

    Older ladies!!!! Hugh…
    Almost twice your age i must feel like a fosile.
    Indeed The portrait made of Grietje (Paulien Maria ) is fantastic.
    is that made on a Ipad?

    January 21, 2011 at 5:48 pm

  3. you got a very interesting blog here, im definitely going to become a follower! keep up the good work!:)

    January 21, 2011 at 8:17 pm

  4. I too studied (and taught) gender studies – but agism is a whole different thing I think (though obviously related). And Western culture is riddled with it – but you have the awareness to notice and are also willing to share on your blog! good for you – by sharing what you thought you increase everyone’s awareness of their own preconceptions. We all have them, after all 🙂

    January 21, 2011 at 8:29 pm

    • Sarah, thanks for your comment. Yes, it is more about agism then sexism. But there is also an awkward relationship between women & computers (or technology at large). Or more the other way around: as soon as women occupy themselves with technology, it isn’t considered technology anymore.

      January 21, 2011 at 11:20 pm

  5. I think older people are beautiful, I love the way their lines on their face tells a tale and makes their face more interesting. I will be 50 next year and my face is changing but not yet as wrinkly as i would like. I hope that doesn’t sound weird

    January 21, 2011 at 9:41 pm

    • This is such an interesting discussion. Great to read all the comments.

      January 29, 2011 at 9:42 pm

  6. Interesting post and food for thought.
    I’m not quite 50 yet, but I will get a straw hat so that I’m ready! 🙂

    January 22, 2011 at 9:30 am

  7. I think it is okay to go through life having preconceptions; and really, it’s impossible not to ever have any at all. It gives people a chance to surprise you! When I was at the Houston quilt festival, I met this wonderfully wild lady…probably in her late seventies or early eighties. She was a real hoot and I would loved to have been her friend even though I’m probably half her age!

    Wonderful sketches! 😀

    January 24, 2011 at 1:17 am

  8. That’s interesting Paulien – it’s not something I’ve noticed, but then I’m not out in the world like I was and haven’t noticed anything like online. I realise that I’m asking a huge question here but if you’d be willing to explain a little further I’d love to read more – if you don’t want to go into it here (or at all, I don’t mind!) please feel free to email me.

    January 31, 2011 at 9:58 am

    • Sarah, there are two books that write about this issue. Making Technology Masculine: Men, Women, and Modern Machines in America, 1870-1945 by Ruth Oldenziel and Feminism Confronts Technology by Judy Wajcman.

      On Amazon Sydney Eve Matrix wrote in her review of Oldenziel: “Relying on archival research, discourse analysis and feminist theory, Oldenziel examines engineering’s creation of a “cultural infrastructure” of myths, metaphors and images which effectively promoted a “male mystique” about men’s affinity with machines and computer technologies, as part of the erection of a “a modern male and western prowess.” She shows how this discursive formation depended on a corresponding invention of female “technophobia.”

      Oldenziel also poses questions as: why do we consider building bridges as technology, while making a corset is not? Both involve puzzle solving, mathematics etcetera. But making a corset is a women’s domain, and technology is associated with the male domain.

      I made a documentary about computers in The Netherlands. There you see that computing (adding up) before there were machines helping with that, it was done by female workers (they were called ‘computers’) The first Dutch computer was coded and handled by females, but the computer builders wanted their computer to be held very seriously, so they said: only people who studied mathematics can work on it. (while they had a group of women who were not academic mathematicians who worked perfectly well on it). The women who worked at this computer got married and stopped working (normal procedure in The Netherlands in the fifties among middle and higher class women) and the new computer programmers were academic mathematicians (and few women studied maths in those days)

      February 6, 2011 at 11:26 am

  9. Thank you for those suggestions.

    Re: your documentary – I know here and in the USA there was tremendous pressure on women to leave the jobs (bomb factories, working on farms etc) they had done during the war – and which they often found empowering – and return to a conventional feminine role. This was very much reflected (oh did I say was?? It still is!) in advertising which showed women using cleaning products whilst the voiceover was of a man extolling the virtues of ‘advanced’ and ‘scientific’ formulas – often the man was shown, wearing a white lab coat of course…So I guess this masculinization of computer technology sits within a broader framework of the masculinization of all aspects of (so called) development. Sounds like an interesting documentary!

    February 10, 2011 at 2:58 pm

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