Masquerade – The backstory!

Hey guys!

Once again, it’s been a while since I’ve posted anything, which I’ve been feeling utterly dreadful about, but I’ve been sooooooo busy with uni, as well as trying to run a business, and I just keep forgetting!

For those of you that don’t know, I have a mobility problem, as a result of a spinal injury that I suffered in a car accident a few years ago. I don’t like to make a big deal out of it, because I know there are a lot of people who have things worse off than me, and I’m lucky to be walking at all, even if it is with crutches! It does mean, though, that I get crazy exhausted at the end of each day, because getting around can be pretty tiring!
It also means that sometimes I feel a bit self-conscious about the fact that I can’t walk so well, and sometimes I worry that it’s why people often stare at me. I know it’s a silly thing to worry about – particularly when I’m a big lass, with pink hair and colourful tattoos. There are obviously other aspects to my appearance that draw attention, and the people who stare are definitely not staring at my stick!

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Stick, in full view, but totally outshone by the fact that I am also in the photo being super colourful, as per.

But I have noticed something lately – A lot of the people I meet at events who recognise me from Instagram or Facebook or whatever don’t realise that I walk with a stick, and are suprised when I tell them that it isn’t a recent injury. I couldn’t work out why people weren’t aware of it, but then going through my facebook pictures I realised that there are virtually no photos that you can see my stick in. For some reason or other, I have been subconsciously angling myself in a way that you can’t see it.
I’m not ashamed of the way I look at all, but for some reason, the stick is one thing that my brain can’t reconcile with, and I think it comes down to this – I have an accessory that I didn’t choose.

I am proud of the way I put myself together. Every aspect of my day-to-day appearance is carefully selected. Everything matches, everything just goes. Except, of course, the crutch – the one part of my outward appearance that I don’t have any control over.

Not Pictured - The Stick, even though I definitely had it in all of these...

Not Pictured – The Stick, even though I definitely had it in all of these…

Because of this, I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about whether I present myself the way I do to draw attention away from my perceived shortcomings, or whether I’ve always been like this! I know I’ve always been a little different – I’ve always loved hair dye, and lipstick; costumes and bright colours – but is that indicative of who I am, or just who I want to be?

Feat: The skirt that sparked my love of plaid, and daffodils (my favourite!) circa 1994 ; My interpretation of 'Casual Sunday Dinner' attire, circa 1996; Far too much blush, and my favourite lipstick, for a birthday dinner at Cobb and Co., circa 1998

Featuring the skirt that sparked my love of plaid, circa 1994; My interpretation of ‘Casual Sunday Dinner’ attire, circa 1996; Far too much blush, and my favourite lipstick at the time, circa 1998

And then I found this……

That’s me.
17 years old, and singing a song I wrote that echoes these exact sentiments, pouring my heart out in my little sister’s bedroom.
This was almost eight years ago, back when I looked like someone had just turned down the saturation, and before I discovered the importance of eyebrows.
The fact that I’ve been feeling this way since I was 17 definitely reassured me that this is not a new thing, and it’s not as a result of my accident. It may well have been amplified by it, but it certainly wasn’t caused by it.

Anyway, after a bit of self reflection, and some conversation over coffee with my good friend Ash, I realised that I can’t be alone in thinking this way. There are a lot of different ways that people mask who they are, whether that’s through makeup, clothes, personas….we are all hundreds of different people at once, but that doesn’t necessarily mean we’re inauthentic. Every ‘person’ I am is me, whether I’m dressed down or dressed up, but I’m not completely sure which one is the most authentically ‘me’.

It was always going to be a tricky topic to tackle, but with an assignment deadline looming, I thought it would be a good chance to explore the masquerade of life through my favourite quirky video medium – stop motion!

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Working in conjunction with my gorgeous model Ash, I decided to use stop motion, live footage, and paper cut animation to illustrate a piece I wrote for the film.

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“I’ll just have her walking for a few seconds. Shouldn’t be that hard to animate…”

I really wanted to make something that meant something to me, and that other people could relate to, and I think that I’ve accomplished that!

 

There were 817 photos, and around 52 hours of shooting and editing behind the work, as well as countless hours of research and planning involved, so I hope you guys enjoy it as much as I enjoyed making it!

And once again, a massive thank you to Ash for being hella patient while I moved stuff around her head for hours on end. <3 <3 <3

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