Blind Faith, a visual anthology of Black and Brown Trans stories in the UK, is a collaborative piece of visual archiving where stories were shared and developed between the storytellers and myself, the illustrator, to create four visual stories.
Each piece was uniquely created and materialized through illustrations that represented the words and ideas being shared.
Written by the artist, blkmoodyboi
The cover was inspired by vintage Manga magazine publications, fashion publications and vintage posters. Each frame represents different features in the anthology, community, space, tenderness, nature and beauty.
Coming Home is a story that explores the idea of coming into yourself, figuratively and literally. Many times Trans people of colour feel estranged from our bodies, a constant negotiation with gender, with ourselves and with the outside world.
I thought that a perfect way to explore all of this was making use of space imagery. Space stretches out infinitely, it is unknown, ever changing, scary yet beautiful. For this reason, the story “Coming Home” makes use of stars and galaxies, to showcase the journeys many of us go through to inch closer to ourselves.
To be visible is a story that explores the contradictions of visibility. Together with the writer Yancé-Myah, we created a visual narrative for their story, thinking out together about how to best portray the words.
This story makes use of Riso style textures and colours, making it look like a textured gritty comic book. We used this specific style as it is one the writer really likes, together with bright colours that remind them of political riso posters. Each page visualises a specific memory or instance in Yancé’s story. In some pages where we are talking about anxiety, instances of violence and dysphoria more abstract images are used. Specifically Van Gogh imagery, water colour painting and body parts to symbolise dissociation. We had to make sure that a narrative was being followed between all the words and visuals, so we decided to make it all a visual trail of thought Yancé had whilst scrolling on instagram. The idea was to capture one of many thoughts Trans Black Femmes have in a time where visibility is taking centre stage in Transness, which doesn't necessarily ensure liberation for us all.
Future is now is a story about self love and gender histories. This story is a visual illustration of a dream AJ had. AJ narrated their dream to me in great detail, and I made notes of everything they shared, with possible ideas of how to represent everything, almost like a written storyboard.
After AJ made this generous offering, and shared childhood pictures as reference, I divided each part of the dream into individual frames, shot by shot still images of the dream. We chose vibrant yet comforting colours and incorporated specific details based on AJ’s childhood memories. This story has no text, only at the end of the story do we see some text. The words “The Future is Now” are shown in the final page, which is the name of the piece. These words signify that the future that they imagined is happening now. As the story has no text, each frame had to be very detailed, almost like an animation. Dreams also tend to be images in our mind with no text, so we wanted to represent that specific feeling in this piece.
Story of me is a piece that shows Ali’s life and the journey they have been on to come into themselves. As Ali and I spoke, we discussed many moments in their life that they wanted to portray in the anthology. Each significant moment in their life, has had a complex backdrop of other events that shaped the moment they wanted to share. These conversations shaped the composition and final design decisions for the work.
We decided to follow a pattern for each illustration: having one still image in the middle of each page which represents a particulaly meaningful moment in their life that they wanted to centre, with an array of other images in the background, simillar to a collage with one image linking into everything going on around it.
The design speaks to the story itself, taking into account all the many things that happen in the background that contribute to the most significant moments in our lives, some happy and others quite painful and traumatic. We went with bright colours to represent joyous moments and dimmer colours to portray instances of violence and trauma. We did not want to depict the events per se, but instead using imagery to share these moments in a trauma informed way.
The last image is a beautiful colourful drawing of Ali and their child in Ali’s plant room. Each page takes us on a journey ending on that final page, to show that one can have a visible and happy life despite all odds.
Thank you, blkmoodyboi. Blind Faith, A Visual Anthology of Black and Brown Trans stories in the UK, is currently in production. We will let you know as soon as the anthology is available.
If you were inspired by this interview with blkmoodyboi and would like to find out more about them and their work, head to their website here. You can also follow blkmoodyboi on Instagram.
To find out more about Blind Faith, click here. To find out more about The Big Draw Digital Residencies in general, click here.
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