By Amala Dasarathi
Sick and tired of all the pseudo-inspirational quotes, false body positivity and cringeworthy aspirations directed at women all the time on the Internet? Laura Callaghan, an Irish illustrator based in London, has a new series titled ‘Aspirational’, that presents extremely detailed images of women in bold colours, and shows them as complex beings with multiple layers.
Young women are constantly bombarded with stimuli on social media that tells them what kind of lives they must aspire to, how their bodies must look, and how they must feel, through apparently profound motivational quotes, cute gifs and, false idealism. Callaghan wants to change this.
Her work presents women as they really are, in all their contradictions and insecurities; they are simultaneously relatable, and yet discomforting. In an interview with Dazed, she flagged this constant bombardment of inspirational quotes as a problem – “When these bits of advice or encouragement are applied to real life situations, they are useless, the meaningful becomes meaningless.”
Callaghan graduated with an MA in Illustration from Kingston University, London, in 2010 and has been living in London ever since. She was the illustration editor for Oh Comely, a women’s magazine from 2010 to 2013. Similar illustrations of hers have been featured in The Pitchfork Review, and she has been a contributor for the Sunday Telegraph’s weekend supplement Stella for the past three years.
Callaghan’s images are hand-drawn using a mixture of mediums, such as watercolour and indian ink, and features mostly girls. She hopes that her work will move people to pause for a moment and question the things that pop up on their newsfeeds; she wants to give a voice to female narratives, which she feels are highly underrepresented, especially in comics and illustrations.
A show of her pieces is currently running at the KK Outlet gallery in London till 30th June.
Images courtesy KK Outlet Gallery