Rotation 5 Evaluation: Fine Art

For fine art we were required to create a visual response to the project theme of ‘something like a phenomena’. The project was interested in the gap between the explained world and the unexplained, drawing influence from the human idea of the ‘self’ in direct relation to concepts such as the metaphysical, the dream state and personal human belief systems. Some starting points we were given included illusion, religion, mythologies, occultism and ritual.

During this project I was very short on time for a number of reasons and so there is a lot of room for improvement and development. I had carried out some research into the above topics as a starting point but this is not shown, so the project begins with my artist research. I have looked at three artists that I felt had links to the broad theme of ‘phenomena’. The first was Rene Magritte, whose witty surrealist work gave me a lot of inspiration for potential final pieces and also led me to consider the use of collage and mixed media in my development work. Secondly, Javier Perez’s disturbing sculptures that aimed to ‘confront humanity with its own condition’ was a collection of work that stood out to me both for its rich use of materials such as intestines, hides, parchment and latex and the way he manipulated these materials into strong thought-provoking pieces. Contrastingly, Constantinos Chaidalis’ delicate, mostly pastel collages were reflective of ‘phenomena’ but in a  very different way. Like Magritte’s, Chaidalis’ playful collages inspired me to make use of collage and mixed media in my own development work.

After my artist research I experimented with this idea of collage. As well as Magritte and Chaidalis, I used the collages of illustrator and painter Eugina Loli to inform these small mock-ups. I used the internet to source images from two distinct areas; vintage candid photographs and images of space and constellations. In combining these it is quite easy to create some witty and interesting pieces in not very much time. I feel that these were particularly effective at showing the theme of phenomena simply because of the juxtaposition between the two kinds of images put together – showing the vastness of space beside the small, candid images of humans.

Overall this project shows that there is lots of potential for development of this work and I think better time management would definitely have helped with that. I would have liked to create one or a series of final pieces making use of the techniques I had experimented with, and would definitely have taken some of those small-scale experimentation pieces and re-created them on an A3 or A2 scale because they could have been strong pieces of work showing the idea of phenomena.

Rotation 6 Evaluation: Vis Com

Our visual communication brief took the word ‘choices’ as a starting point. Through the project we were asked to communicate different choices through innovative illustration and design methods, using exploratory research to select two potential directions. After considering the different areas we’d been given within ‘choices’ (everyday, lifestyle, life defining, taste and ethical) I was drawn towards the theme of choices within lifestyle. I began my research by drawing up a mind map around this, thinking about things like culture, health, norms and values, routine and self-expression. This mind map, along with some online research, led me to select my two directions for this project: the choice to eat meat, and the choice to wear makeup. I chose these two because I felt that they were broad enough to give me a lot of different ways to communicate them, and also the ideas and opinions behind them were strong enough to make the work impactful.

The next stage was to create a visual mind map for both of these themes. In my sketchbook they both have a double page spread that uses many different elements including photography, painting, drawing and text to form mood board-like work that was a strong source of inspiration for the later designs.

For my artist research I chose two illustrators from the list given; Alice Ferrow and Julie Bourdais. I chose to study their work in particular because as well as simply enjoying their illustrations I felt that both of their styles could work well in combination with the two themes I had for my final piece. I went on to use some of Alice Ferrow’s motifs in my design development, for example. Furthermore, the Picasso-esque face created by Bourdais ended up being developed and refined and used as part of my final piece.

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Overall, I feel that my final pieces are of quite a good quality. I think that the development of ideas was effective in making the final designs  strong and reflecting the theme (the choice to wear makeup). In terms of improvement I think that I could have made a better choice of medium to use for the final pieces, perhaps creating them digitally rather than just using watercolours, or creating them on a larger scale and using acrylic paints or even mixed media.

Rotation 4 Evaluation: Textiles

In textiles we investigated printed textiles and surface design, basing our design work around a visual journey that we took through Newcastle. We indivudually recorded observations around the city, keeping in mind how our images could be used to inform a range of surface designs that could communicate that journey. Below are a selection of the photographs I took during that research.

After returning with our own images we were given the first research task; to create responses to some of them using a variety of mediums and reflect on the photographs in a way that could be used in developing a print design. I have four pages of this research and I used techniques including cut-outs, oil pastels, coloured pencil, fineliner on acetate, drawing with thread and watercolours to respond to the photos. This wide variety of methods was a good way of looking at the photographs in new ways and it brought out elements of them that I hadn’t seen, such as the shapes that can be picked out from architecture. Following these responses we were asked to think of five adjectives that described the journey we had taken, and respond to these words using a different medium each time to come up with a motif. The words I chose were busy, flowing, urban, autumnal and wandering. All of the motifs are monochrome and I used charcoal, pastels and ink for them.

I then moved into the developing stages of my print design, looking at mirroring as a technique. Working onto acetate and tracing paper I was able to quickly create intricate print designs by using simple shapes taken from my own photographs. I also took some imagery from maps of Newcastle – reflecting the theme of ‘journey’ – and thought about how negative space would work if the designs were to be developed into real prints, so there are some blocks of colour in some motifs. After this the pages become more colourful as I used watercolours to experiment with possible colour schemes. I also went back to the mark-making I had done earlier and added colour to some of those motifs.

After this development I refined my ideas into two potential surface designs that both incorporate many of the ideas I developed through the project. I feel that they both reflect the theme well, particularly the design that is more suited to a placement print (below, right).

Overall, I think that one of the successful parts of my textiles project was the number of techniques and mediums I used. This was very useful for translating my original photograph starting points into an abstract and visually interesting print design(s). However, I think that there could have been improvements made to the first parts of my research where I responded to my photographs as I think some of them look unfinished and not as effective as they could be. I also think that my final pieces could have been improved by doing some experimentation with colourways before deciding on the final prints.

Rotation 3 Evaluation: Fashion

For fashion the brief was based around the work of an artist, we were given Egon Schiele.

We were to use his art as a source of inspiration for the project; taking colour palettes, shapes, patterns and imagery to inform our design ideas. My initial thoughs when looking through Schiele’s artwork was that there was a lot that I could take from it in terms of colour, motif, etc, to be translated into some strong garment designs.

My research began by reading up on key information about the artist, and then creating small studies of his work for which I used watercolours, fineliners, acrylic and fabric scraps. I also used one page to look specifically at the fabric prints that he has recorded in many of his paintings, of the clothes worn by his models.  The next research task involved using the internet to look at current collections (ss17) and find pieces that showed links to some of Schiele’s works. My sketchbook has five pages that show this research, and for each one I have used a variety of materials along with a catwalk image and Schiele painting to create some abstract responses to the two images. This research task was useful in projecting ideas about what linked the two elements together, as well as producing some initial ideas for designs for the final six-piece collection. The final research task was to investigate an entire collection (ss17) and consider things like the range of garments, aesthetics, suitability for the season, key design features and fabrics. By looking at a collection in this much detail it was useful in finding out about specific fabrics, techniques and prints that I might want to use in my own designs, and the Fendi collection provided a lot of inspiration.

When starting to develop our ideas we first looked at elongating a model pose to give the designs a form more similar to those used in industry. I also thought about how the pose might be stylised, using Schiele’s continuous line drawing to come up with some small sketches for the face. In this section I also used some of his paintings to create seven different colour palettes from which I could take individual colours forward into designs so they would better reflect the artists’ work.

Next I have included fabric swatches that I picked based on their similarities either visually or texturally to some Schiele paintings, and which I went on to include in my final six designs. These swatches helped in bringing the initial ideas I had to life, so I could better visualise what fabrics I might want to use and how these would work in real life. Before my design development but not included in my sketchbook are some pages from WGSN that I used as further inspiration, mostly for fabric types and garment construction by looking at the ‘flats’ templates.

 

I feel that the final piece is of a good quality. I think that the six designs are effective and each one would work well as a real garment. Design features such as gathering, layering and the use of sheer fabrics as well as some angular shapes make the designs stand out and create interest. However, I do think that the links to the artist’s work could be more clear and perhaps there could have been slightly more variation in the colour palette. These results could have been improved if I had managed my time more effectively which would have allowed me to ‘think out’ my final six garments slightly more, making full use of all my different pieces of research instead of just one or two.  img_1055

Rotation 2 Evaluation: 3D Design

The brief for this project was to propose an exciting and considered response in either conceptual, functional or lighting design that could be installed in the coastal town of Whitley Bay as part of its regeneration. The response should be interesting, creative and viable and should push the boundaries as much as possible.

I began by laying out a mind map with Whitley Bay at the centre. I though about what is commonly assosciated with coastal towns such as tourism, holidays, costal industry and amusements, as well as things specific to the town such as its location in Northumberland, and the mix of architectural styles that has come as a result of different regenerations throughout the years. After this I collected some visual research from the internet that includes professional and amatuer photographs and old fashioned holiday advertisements. This initial research was useful in generating some first ideas and also helped me get a better understanding of the town itself.

After this I began my practitioner research. I started by looking at the neon lighting installations of Tracey Emin, who used handwritten quotes that have a lot of impact. I followed up that piece of research with my own artist study that didn’t use the same mediums but took the idea of using a hand written quote and made use of natural lighting and the way that water can be used to manipulate this light.

After completing a small page of expressive mark-making to experiment with the effects created by five different materials, I began my initial designs. The first was inspired both by my research in the project, and some primary photographs that I already had.

—to be completed—

Rotation 1 Evaluation: Lens-based Media

The brief for this project was centred around the idea of Obsession. To connect this “psychological state within the historical context and process of analogue photography, and providing an insight into how easily we can find ourselves consumed by obsessions.” We were tasked with exploring this theme and visually communicating our own interpretations of it through a type of lens-based media, be it photography, film, animated GIF, etc.

My initial thoughts about this brief led me to think about the modern-day obsession many of us have with technology and social media, and our increasing reliance on them. I looked into the dictionary definitions of obsession to gain a clear understanding of the characteristics of obsessive behaviour, and I related these definitions to my ideas of technology and social media.

Although I had already formed some rough ideas for possible themes and carried out some brief visual research for this, I still created two mind maps as part of my research. The first considered the things that could come under the theme of obsession, and split them into ‘positive’ and ‘negative’ sections. Branches on the mind map included culture, the media, addiction, materialism and power.

My next section of research was to study the work of three artists that I felt showed links to the theme of obsession. I looked at the “joiners” style of photography that David Hockney popularised, the “Body Dysmorphia” series by Scarlett Carlos Clarke, and Eric Pickersgill’s “Removed” series. From this artist research I gained a better understanding of the kind of direction I wanted to take my work, and the way that other people have approaced the obsessive side to social media.

After my research I began with two initial ideas. I then took forward ‘idea 2’ into development. As part of this development I went out and took a small selection of test shots around Newcastle to investigate potential environments for the ‘outside’ portion of the timelapse video. This helped me to decide that the area around Grey’s Monument, Grainger Street for example, would be an ideal location to capture timelapse footage of a bustling environment that represented the movement and business of life outside of social media and our phones.

 

Unfortunately, I was unable to resolve this project into the final piece that I had planned because of issues including time and the availability of equipment. Had I completed the time-lapse piece as I had planned I feel it would have been a strong ending to the project and would have shown in a very direct way the message that I was trying to get across in relation to obsession. Despite not having the completed final piece to show, I think the idea itself is successful and makes full and effective use of lens-based media techniques.