I finished reading 📖 Just Kids by Patti Smith. What a beautiful read 💖 As I was reading it, the book reminded me of my uni years and final year, working on final project. My friend Sarune @00instant00noodles00 loved Patti Smith. We worked in her flat on finishing touches of our projects, running on 4h sleep, tons of 🚬, coffee and sometimes 🍻 as we were drawing and sleeping in turns in between we were blasting Patti Smith Because The Night (belongs to looovers, because the night belongs to lust 🎶 because the niiiiight belongs to lovers because the night belongs to us). And as I was finishing the book, thinking about drawing, process, reflection, connection with people, friends, life, what’s important, where inspiration comes from, how things are so unpredictable and intertwined, this song just became so right and perfect for my life in this moment :) 🎵 📚 ✏️ Just Kids.
My name is Viktorija and I'm a feminist. I believe in the social, political and economic equality of the sexes. I'm very outspoken about my opinions and don't shy away from talking to people who don't believe in feminism, women who think they aren't feminists (or that it doesn't benefit them) or that this equality thing went too far. One of my favourite things is talking feminism with my friends, it's SUCH an empowering thing. And this list and idea started after one of those talks, when I really wanted to share more about the subject I'm super passionate about and just spread love and feminist agenda.
I love listening to feminist podcasts, watching TED talks, following badass women online but I am still very much hungry for more. I'm hungry for more information, critical thinking, for more tools to deconstruct social and patriarchal norms in my head which are so deeply planted it takes SO MUCH work to unravel them.
I often feel deflated about the world and that I can’t change much. But learning more gives me confidence to take more space, to be more outspoken, to be unapologetically myself and to love myself just the way I am now and not thinner, better cook or more gentle more ladylike. And all those small things are acts of resistance, loving yourself is an act of resistance.
Feminism gave me the tools to allow myself to be true to my complicated multidimensional self, to be loud, sweary, wide, opinionated and all while wearing frilly jumpsuits, shiny earrings and fabulous lipsticks. Because that’s the kind of woman and that’s the kind of feminist I am.
I have not read all of the books on the list but I'm getting through them and with every single page I'm learning something new, I'm becoming a better person, I understand the world around me better, where I stand as a woman and who I am. Often it makes me furious, it breaks my heart but it allows me to interact with the world around me in a different way. Having the language and critical thinking to express things is a powerful tool. It makes me feel confident, it gives me permission to call out bullshit and articulate my thoughts and it feels liberating.
I want this list to be something you can share with people around YOU, I would love you to add your recommendations in the comments and I'll add them to the list.
Because I'm really into pushing Feminist Agenda this illustration is available as a print. It comes with a printed list of books (and some space for you to add your own), works as a perfect addition to a feminist book. 📚
Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay
The Beauty Myth by Naomi Wolf
We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
The Second Sex by Simone de Beauvoir
I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou
Men Explain Things to Me: And Other Essays by Rebecca Solnit
The Feminine Mystique by Betty Friedan
The Handmaids Tale by Margaret Atwood
Feminism is for Everybody Bell Hooks
Redefining Realness by Janet Mock
Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls by Elena Favilli and Francesca Cavallo
A Room of One's Own By Virginia Woolf
The Sex Myth by Dr Brooke Magnanti
Women & Power: A Manifesto by Prrofessor Mary Beard
Sister Outsider by Audre Lorde
Cunt: A Declaration of Independence by Inga Musco
Young women, feminism & the Future by Jennifer Baumgardner and Amy Richards
Bitches, Bimbos and Ballbreakers by The Guerrilla Girls
Are Men Necessary by Maureen Dowd
The Bloody Chamber by Angela Carter
Infidel by Ayaan Hirsi Ali
Lean Out by Dawn Foster
Living a Feminist Life Sara Ahmed
Women Who Run With The Wolves by Clarissa Pinkola Estes
Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Animal: The Autobiography of a Female Body by Sara Pascoe
100 Nasty Women of History: Brilliant, badass and completely fearless women everyone should know
The Descent of Many by Grayson Perry
Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race by Reni Eddo-Lodge
Just Kids by Patti Smith
Special thank you for Genna for helping to start the list.
The other day I went to a panel talk themed Networks. It made me very curious how other creatives and especially freelancers who work on their own find communities to be part of or if they have a support system in place. I did a poll on my instagram and 68% of people didn't have a community or support group. The ones who had support systems in place it was friends 75% and 25% were part of organisations. It was interesting to see that exactly 50% had support systems in place online and the other half offline.
When I started my career I was pretty much on my own. I didn't know any illustrators (all my uni friends had change of heart or were workin in house) or makers who were making money from this and couldn't ask for advice. I started selling on etsy and I used teams and forums section a lot. And went for meet ups organised by Etsy where I met several people who became my close friends but our relationship started as sharing experience of being creatives/makers. I also started selling at Crafty Fox Market (pop up Markets) where I met a lot of like minded people (some of whom I knew from Etsy). They also organised some social meet ups where people could come in and mingle, which was super fun! As my career developed and I took it more into real life I made some connections but also I kept in touch with lots of people who I found through instagram. In the beginning all the support network was more unorganised and sporradic.
But couple of years into my freelance career and after attending numerous business talks I became part of business club (we named it that way ;) with a photographer and pattern designer. We met once in two months in person, talk business plans, vent fears, dream big and give each other advice or just listen. It was the most important thing. All of us were approximately on the same level in development of our careers, we were making money in different ways and our fields were slightly different. Which meant we could give each other a different view on things but still understand every aspect of the business and creative side of things. We have stopped meeting now as our lives and careers became busier.
At the moment I'm part of several groups. First is my friends who I met through Etsy and Crafty Fox, we are good real life friends but can always rely on each other for advice, support or just venting.
I'm part of a small online group of illustrators (we are based in different places and some of us have never met in real life). Some of us are based in the same cities and we can meet up and talk business or recommend each other for jobs or just overload on coffee and falafels. But we talk all things creative and business, burn outs, contracts, money, negotiation, health. From which chairs to get and what kind of excercises to do for wrist or back pain to how much to charge for jobs and what to look out for in contracts. The most important part of this group is the community and support system. We are ready to lift each other up and celebrate each other achievements and milestones. We are there as friends and colleagues and not as competition.
I work from a shared studio Kindred Studios, I'm in the room with 6 other people who different things but Kindred Studios is a community where you can talk to people, make friends and connections. For me it's such a joy to be working alongside other creative people on daily basis.
I'm also part of The Assosiation of Illustrators (any illustrator can join, you don't have to be UK based). I don't have an agent and they provide a lot of incredible useful resourses including portfolio reviews, help with pricing and contracts. I strongly recommend considering joining them.
Here are some tips to keep in mind if at the moment you feel a bit isolated in your work, they all are based on my experience and are extremely subjective and in general some thoughts on the subject.
📺 Both internet based and real life based communities are equally valid.
If you live in a remote place with no like minded people around you or don't have the opportunity to join your local network because of accessibility or meeting times don't feel that the only way to build support system is to meet people face to face. Choose whatever works for you and your situation, don't feel like you have to do one or another
🙋🏼One person and you is already a network/team :)
👯Reach out to people who are in the same place as you in their careers.
If you know of (online or offline) people who are in the same place as you in their careers or are interested in the same things as you, they might feel as isolated as you and want to have that connection both personal and business. Growing together, supporting each other and lifting each other up is an incredible feeling and also incredibly helpful, you can share your experiences and find out shortcuts. It's a great adventure and it's easier and more fun when you have people you can rely on and people you can support.
Be active locally and online
Find local etsy/market anything group. Go to talks, meet ups, join online chats and live streams, FB groups and connect with people on instagram.
Consider getting a studio space
If you feel lonely and isolated consider becoming part of a collective, finding a studio space or a co working space. Some of us work better on our own and some of us need people around us but you will never know without trying and you may make some friends along the way.
Join professional network
Does your profession has an association or maybe a huge FB group? Maybe joining them will benefit you.
Talk to people
Be it online or in real life. We are all people and we all make connections and friends somehow. If you want to say something - say it, if you know someone who might light someone else's work - share the love. I personally believe it takes time to find likeminded people (it certainly took a while for me) but even the most fleeting of connections can be so meaningful. There could be people with who you just chat on instagram about Queer Eye occassionally and there can be people with who you are chatting on daily basis. Both are important.
Don't look for validation from outside
Build it from within. Please do seek constructive cryticism and reviews but do not let anything from outside to affect your personal and professional self worth. I am a strong believer that if you love doing something no one can tell you that you shouldn't draw/crochet/dress making. And sometimes our work doesn't reflect our taste and that's where your support system will help you grow but they can never replace your inner voice which will push you further in your career.
Last but most important..
Be kind to yourself and people around you. There is space for everyone, we are not competition we are peers. ✊🏻✊🏼✊🏽✊🏾✊🏿
Some resources (a lot of them were recommended by lovely people on instagram, THANK YOU!):
One Girl Band
And many MANY more amazing places. Please comment below more networks. And what is your story?
I've been a fan of Kinska and her beautiful ceramic creations for a long time, as well as plastic and beautiful Melissa shoes, so it was an absolutely perfect pairing of the workshop and location.
Kinska taught us how to create beads from porcelain and think outside of the box in terms of shapes and sizes, it was quite easy as we were inspired and surrounded by her work.
I made a snake bead and some plain tiny beads to match. Can't wait to see them fired! snake
Thank you so much for the workshop Kinska and for having us in your beautiful shop Melissa!
Girl Power Print is one of my most popular products and one which started as a tribute to women for 8th of March International Women's Day. I decided to create an illustration featuring all the amazing women whom I admire, who inspire me, who remind me every day to keep going, who empower me and show me the way ;) Past & present. Real and fictional. That's my tribute :)
After researching each woman I cried, I felt all the feelings, I felt both invincible & vulnerable, unbreakable and optimistic. 💪🏻💪🏼💪🏽💪🏾 One illustration is not enough space to fit all the fantastic women and I already plan to do another one. Please drop a line here with women who inspire you.
Here is every woman pictured in the illustration from top right to left/then next row (some of them don't look like themselves but hey.. <3 :)
5 women spotted around and about London, people I see in the shops, markets, buses. Also all of us :) (Grey Hair don't care, ace afro, pink hair and buns, woman in a headscarf, woman with two braids)
I would like to finish this little series of portraits of inspiring feminist women with drawing fantastic Marin Alsop and her wonderful advice to women and everyone out there.
Marin Alsop is a conductor of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra and the first woman conductor of a major american orchestra. The first woman to conduct Last Night of the BBC Proms (2013). She is very open about her views on equal opportunities and difficulties female musicians face in the industry, she gives a great insight into a male dominated sphere where she manages to break the glass ceiling (hopefully that will help for a lot more female musicians to come).
Marin Alsop is inspiring, wonderful professional and she does a great deal for popularising classical music and making it more accessible for all the people (race, gender or background). I absolutely loved listening to her Desert Island Disks and truly enjoy all the articles and interviews about her and with her that I come across.
I particularly loved the speech she gave at the Last Night of the BBC Proms (click to read it in full). And she ended it with absolutely wonderful advice, which I will take and cherish.
Today's portrait is of amazing and outspoken writer & feminist Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.
Her TED talk called:" We should all be feminists" is powerful and absolutely fantastic, covering so many subjects and issues (please watch it if you haven't yet, I'm sure you'll love it).
There are so many fantastic points she raised in her talk and it is absolutely impossible to sum it up in one quote but here's one which touched me the most.
In the beginning of the talk Chimamanda Ngozie Adichie says that at some point she had to call herself Happy African Feminist Who Does Not Hate Men and Who Likes To Wear Lip Gloss And High Heels For Herself And Not For Men.
I come across this all the time, all the confusion of the meaning and the idea, weird stereotypes of feminists. Even yesterday while talking to a friend she mentioned that she considered herself to be a feminist but not in a bad way. There is no bad way, there are wrong perception of who feminist is. She shouldn't justify what kind of feminist she is, I shouldn't justify and neither should anyone else. Feminist is not a dirty word.
And my todays mantra is this quote from Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie talk.
So starting from today there will be no explanation, justification or excuses when I say proud and loud: " I'm a feminist"
Today's inspirational bad ass babe is amazing Zoe Deschanel.
Zooey Deschanel is a successful actress, producer, singer song writer, she is all about supporting her female peers and her style is unapologetically girly. And I LOVE it about her. It's awesome to know and remember that it's alright to be a feminist and be feminine or not be feminine (whatever works for you), be a housewife or a super duper power business lady, whoever you are just BE YOURSELF, be a super complex human being. And being married, straight or gay, wearing skirts, being religious, being blond and loving pink, being into crochet, none of this things are relevant if you consider yourself to be a feminist and strive for equal opportunities and equal society. Be who you are and do what you love (also don't give a fuck).
The boxes we are forced to fit into are too fucking small for our complex personalities.
International Women's Day is this Sunday, 8th of March. I'm a feminist and I would like to dedicate this week to thinking & drawing some inspiring, outspoken, brave women who in one way or another are making our society more equal and a better place for everyone. It's just my ode to awesome kick ass babes who come in many shapes & forms.
I would love to start with amazing, brave, fierce, smart, outspoken surfer Olive Bowers (who's 13 years old).
Olive wrote an open letter to Tracks magazine (surfer magazine) tackling objectifying of women in the magazine (both online & printed).
Olive, you are a superstar, please continue to be awesome!