Why study playfulness?
I landed on earth as man landed on the moon. Not one for direction-following, I arrived feet first and have liked to do things differently ever since. The inquisitive ‘what ifs’ that Rowan Atkinson’s Mr Bean is so good at, have got me into a few spots of trouble in the past. This included sniffing a dice up my nose just to see what would happen, resulting in a rapid trip to the local hospital as the said item travelled places it shouldn’t. My mum wasn’t impressed. Yet it is this desire to discover, experiment and explore that are the ingredients that have enabled me to reconnect with that playfulness and sense of fun that makes me who I am. After completing a BA and MA in Illustration, I realised that the playful characters I created and my playful attitude and approach allowed me to to engage with my audiences and provided openings to show and engage them with something new about their town, history or whatever subject I explored, they didn’t know.
I wanted to explore that aspect of my work that intrigued me most – playfulness. It was important somehow. It had value and meaning. I decided I wanted to research further, digging deep to follow the footsteps of others who had explored this word and had gone before me. I knew I needed to find out more so I could identify if there was something missing that I could add and encourage others with.
And having experienced a year of lockdown, social distancing, isolation and uncertainty where many have felt anxious, frightened and fearful, surely playfulness has to be part of the answer?
I completed a series called ‘Laugh through Lockdown’ during Lockdown 2 and this image, sums up my playful approach for words and image – the medium I will be using to test and explore my methods and research.