NOTES & REFLECTIONS

You ever noticed that what you end up with is never what you wanted it to be?

 

This is one of those projects. It has had to move and shift many times due to complicated circumstances and practicalities. But here we are.

 

I originally intended for the project to be the documentation of the word CHAV being etched onto my forearm over a 4-week period, a letter a week. However, after researching tattoos (after never having had one before) I discovered it was not advisable to have a letter a week, due to the healing of the skin but it would also be more expensive and I was, and continue to be skint.

 

I also spoke to a few tattoo artists. One I spoke too found it very strange that I wanted that word tattooed on skin and said ethically she would question doing it as it could be considered offensive and said that it might cause a fight or some negative responses. I have often wondered to myself if she was middle class. I wish I would have asked her.

 

After giving the tattoo a bit more thought, and obvs worried that my tattoo might cause a fight, I decided that it was best to develop the idea to not be so in ya face. I got to thinking about my life and the important people in it who made this journey of reclaiming the CHAV possible. I come from clever and forceful matriarchs who were cleaners and carers, often in complex situations, but these relationships are intrinsic to who I am, the daughter I am raising and in turn the work that I create.

 

So, the tattoo now represents the four Working Class Women who got me here: Monica Gallagher my nana, who passed away in 2011. Anne Green, legend and mum. Amber Dunne – Green who came along just at the right time, and me - it has been hard graft to get here.

 

A lot has happened in the 5 years of undertaking this PhD which in hindsight, was never meant to be explicitly autobiographical. I have also found out how challenging autobiographical work is, the hard way, by doing and then having to deal with the emotional and phycological fall out afterwards.