The Documented Life Project – Journal, February 14th (week 7)
(For more inspiration or more info on this week’s project, visit Art to the 5th)
Art Challenge: Cover Up Good Stuff
Prompt: Going Under Cover
The exercise this week was about covering up the good stuff. They didn’t specify what the “good stuff” was, so I looked at some of the examples they provided. Some artists started their pages and then covered up doodles or layers that they liked with other layers while some did some journaling and then started layering over top of that. I decided my “good stuff” would be my research notes.
When I am writing a paper or something along those lines, I make notes from the research articles that I read. Writing it out in my own words helps it sink in better and I don’t have to worry about plagiarism and what not. Sometimes I draw diagrams to help explain things to other people. I also work with our lab’s data via paper and pen. I guess I am really a visual learner and it works best with pen in hand rather than typing it out.
I grabbed a bunch of my old notes. I tried to get a good variety; words, numbers, diagrams and different colours of pens. I tore them up and glued them into my journal with gel medium. I got the art challenge down but I still had to figure out the prompt. “Going under cover” makes me think of a disguise. Putting that and my research notes together got me thinking about how I feel at work. I feel like a fake and at any minute everyone is going to see through the confident, intelligent show I put on. I am constantly interacting with the experts in my field. I have authored a couple papers. I have even presented at conferences. I just don’t feel like I know enough to be doing all these things.
I found out that this is actually a common feeling among Ph.D. students. That’s what studies say at least. I am skeptical. The other students I work with seem confident, arrogant even. It’s called Imposter Syndrome. I defined it on my page.
Just in case you can’t read the photo, Imposter Syndrome is a psychological phenomenon in which people are unable to internalize their accomplishments. Despite external evidence of their competence those with the syndrome remain convinced that they are frauds and do not deserve the success they have achieved.
This spread started with my research notes. I glued a few strips of paper from my stash on too. I did a light layer of white gesso over top and a layer of blush pink acrylic paint over that. I was pleased that you could still see the lined paper and my writing through the paint. I used bubblegum pink acrylic to paint some blobs on the page. I used a large stamp with circles on it and pink ink to randomly stamp all over the page. I got stuck for a while at this point.
I decided to draw an eye in the middle of one page. The eye represents my research and my fear of people seeing through my act. The eye was done with watercolour pencil crayons and Neocolour II.
From there wrote the Imposter Syndrome definition in black signo uniball pen. I doodled a DNA strand above that and did some stamping with a butterfly. I have to work on my stamping, it is still coming out blotchy.
I figured I had to do something with those big pink blobs, so I started writing words related to work in them. The blobs that were too small to write in were turned into atoms…Rutherford-Bohr diagrams of Carbon. Why? I don’t know, I don’t really think about that type of science anymore, but that’s just what they made me think of.
It turned out to be a very pink spread. I like pink, so that’s ok.