Transcript - Alexis Potts Body of Work
Duration 7.33 min
ALEXIS POTTS: My name is Lexi Potts. My series of photography was Exsaturated Deutan, which Exsaturated was exaggerated saturation. And Deutan is my kind of color-blindness. I'm red-green colorblind, and deutan is the name of that kind of color blindness. And so that was the whole concept of my photography series was my personal experience with my color blindness, and showing that in my work to people who aren't colorblind, and just showing that there is really no difference. We all see differently.
The main thing was I knew my style of photography already. I knew I love to have lots of color, lots of props and costumes. I've done that a lot in my free time for five years. And so the big thing was how do I make a concept that helps show my style and have the style help my concept. And I really wanted to have a personal concept to myself. So my colorblindness really helped with that and linked the two together. It was a lot about the process of elimination. I'd get very excited, always seeking inspiration all the time, going to galleries, looking at different artists. There'd be moments of having a crazy idea, and I'd write it down. But process of elimination thinking-- does this idea help with my concept? Does it help with the practice, or does it distract from it and not strengthen the concept? So through the whole journey of the major work, I would put any idea I had in my art diary, and look at it, and see would it help prove what I was trying to set out to do.
My biggest challenge was I had four major works. So the biggest thing was costs and expenses of my project and how did I want my crazy ideas to become possible with trying to get the products, the price of everything. So there were times of I did paper mache, so I went to the news agency across the road from school, and got stacks of old newspapers that they weren't using, and went on Facebook around the community, asking to borrow flower vases from people, and using those as props. And seeing anything I could that was free, just not being afraid to ask for help. And yeah, that was one of the struggles, but it was really satisfying figuring it out and making it work.
I had a studio space I rented out for my photo shoot. And mentioning to people I was a year 12 student, and I'm doing a major work. They really understood the importance of helping out with that. The studio I had given my proposal to gave me a discount as being a student. It was always photography. It was always that. It's always been my strongest point. But I used that to my advantage by doing the paper mache in some of my props. I did woodwork by making the clothing line. That was one of my props in my shoots. And doing lots of spray paint. And because I didn't do any of the photography at school, I used that time to make those props and make my set design stronger and more powerful.
I accessed artists such as Cindy Sherman. She does a lot of photography that relates to clowns. And that was a big concept I was using to explain to people what I wanted my shoots to look like, saying that a lot of people have fears of clowns. And my colorblindness is kind of like that same fear and anxiety over something that's quite silly. Like clowns are supposed to be something that are entertaining and funny, but it's that painted smile on their face where you don't know how they feel that scares people. And for me, that's color, where I can look at a color and convince myself that's one color, but then I'm like, no, it's this. No, it's that. So there's that little bit of anxiety through color blindness that I love the whole idea of theatrical clowns and this and that. But I was showing that with my color blindness by using performance artists, and people seen as clowns, and very theatrical to embrace my color blindness. And another artist was Tracy Moffatt. I just love her set design and used that as inspiration as well.
It was really important for me to have feedback with my teachers constantly and sharing my ideas. It was very helpful to have that brainstorming out loud talking to other people. Because it really helped structure my ideas and try and make it more coherent. I really wanted to take advantage of the people who were there to help me. And I had even emailed the MCA and mentioned that I was a year 12 student, and I really wanted my artwork to seem as professional as it could be. And the lead in artist education sat down with me for half an hour, and looked at my sketchbook, and was very open to help giving me advice, and gave me advice I never really thought I'd be asking for. But it really helped in the end.
My advice would be have a concept that's really personal to you or have something that you really connect with. Because with that, you'll know once you've done it right. And you know once you're complete, because it will feel right. And don't be afraid to ask for help. This is your time to have something that feels bigger than yourself and a big project you can be very proud of. In my whole photography series, there were four different scenes, different set designs. And there is four large images in the printed series and three smaller photos of each of those scenes scattered throughout the layout of the series. And the four large prints are the original coloring of the scenes, and the smaller prints are different scenarios within the scene color-manipulated.
And so when the audience looks at the photos, they can see the differences in coloring throughout the series, and then wonder which one is the correct coloring, and that there is no right to it. We all see differently. I'm just an extreme outlier with my color blindness that I can get the colors confused. And so that gave me control of me knowing better about the coloring than the audience does, even not being color blind. So embracing something that people would usually ask, why would I use so much color, being a color-blind artist, and instead just embracing color and taking control. A lot of my time after HSC has been a lot of freelancing with my photography, and figuring out how to use my creative side also with my work, and using that as a strong point in my photography. I do a lot of performance artist photography and capturing those moments of what other creatives are showing within their scenes, and their performances, and trying to capture those moments they want. And yeah, just embracing the creative community, having my studio in Marrickville, and just getting into it, yeah.