Wednesday, 27 November 2013

The Masked Goat

Feel like I have been really distracted with journal writing, presentation and the current project lately, and I was thinking the other day that I miss just drawing a picture!.  I came across my henna patterns book yesterday, and it inspired me to draw a colourful masked goat, It's a little Tribal with a bit of henna patterns thrown in!. If I get a bit more time after Christmas I would like to carry on making a few more images.

'Masked Goat'

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Sigmun Freud - Psychoanalysis (Self Directed Project Researc)

I have been looking at key ideas by founder of Psychoanalysis - Sigmund Freud and how it will feed into my current self-directed projected 'Inside a Surgeon's Mind'. There are various tenets of Psychoanalysis,  but in particular I am concerned with the following:

- In addition to inherited constitution of personality, a person's development is determined by events in early childhood.
- Humans attitude, mannerism and experience is thought largely influenced by irrational drives that are unconscious.
- Conflicts that occur between conscious and unconscious, can materialise into the form of mental or emotional disturbances such as anxiety, depression, neurosis and neurotic traits.

The above areas intrigue me the most due to curiosity and memory being the themes that are the most present within my work.  I find myself questioning what the Surgeon's childhood and life experiences were like, how did they shape him during the transition from childhood to adulthood, how they affect him mentally and what conflicts occur in his mind?, what are his obsessions? What do his personal belongings look like? What elements does he preserve? - These are all questions I am currently asking and hopefully will respond to through my project.


I am reading FREUD by Anthony Storr as part of my research on Psychoanalysis.  I found the following quote very interesting as I want my character to display a high level of self control:

''Obsessional personalities usually exhibit self-control to the point of appearing inhibited and lacking in spontaneity''. Storr,p.9

Artist Sophie Calle - Self Directed Research.

I was first introduced to French Artist Sophie Calle during my second year for the 'Invented Persona' brief and was instantly curious and intrigued by the way she carried out her projects and how she submerged herself so deeply within her work.  I thought it was relevant to re visit her work as part of my research for my current self-directed project 'Inside a Surgeon's Mind' as I want to open my mind in how I approach this project, I don't want to be too literal and I am keen to expand my working method to enrich my practise as an Illustrator.

I find her work fascinating and intriguing with a curious streak that runs through out all of her projects, but it is 'Suite Venitienne' and 'The Hotel' that really inspire me the most in many ways.  Sophie Calle's work inhibits the space between fact and fiction, she crosses boundaries to explore hidden meanings and exploits public spaces, investigating them with a sense of intimacy, these are areas that I want to explore for my current project as I am working in that 'space' between fact and fiction whilst creating my Surgeon's personality/behavioural traits.

In 'Suite Venitienne' Sophie Calle follows a man she met at a party all the way to Venice without him knowing, when in Venice she continued to follow and photograph him for 2 weeks.  Sophie Calle's work is inseparable from her own life, which is what I find fascinating as she submerges herself in her pursuits and curiosity to explore and observe a person who she does not know, black and white
photographs and text are used to record her thoughts, happenings and emotions - through her own perception.  Her work really gets the viewer to see it through her own eyes and in doing so draws the viewer in. 

Below are some images of the mystery man whom she followed around Venice. There is so much mystery to the photographs, they leave a lot to the imagination, also the viewpoint is interesting, and draws you into Calle's viewpoint.

''Her use of the diaristic entry, the snapshot, confession and surveillance has greatly influenced much contemporary work concerned with self-documentation and the investigation of ritual, fantasy, anticipation and desire.'' - The White Cube (1997).

The above are methods I would like to use in my work on future projects, as I am concerned with human behaviour, memories and experiences that people have encountered and they way that they project it to the outside world via a persona or a hidden way, such as clues to the lives they lead through objects, daily routine etc.  I also think this way of observing could be used for my current self-directed project.

'The Hotel' is also set in Venice and is based on Sophie Calle actually getting a temporary job in a Hotel as a Chambermaid and created a piece of work about what she thought the hotel guests were like based on their personal belongings.

''For each room there was a photograph of the bed undone, of other objects in the room, and a description day by day of what I had fund there.'' - Sophie Calle

Below: Room 47 belongings.

Wednesday, 6 November 2013

What does Illustration mean? (PDP Level 6)

I guess the question ''What does Illustration mean'' is something I rarely stop to think about or have answered so this is a nice opportunity to get my thoughts down in response to this.  Like everything in life I think people can have their own interpretation of what Illustration means to them individually.  When I try to explain to people what I am studying, people who are not in the creative industries don't understand what I do, so I either say it's like Graphic Design, even though it's not!, some people at that point get it and some still don't have a clue, so I mention pictures in children's story books and explain how they are created by Illustrators, it's the easiest explanation to give sometimes.

I read the 2012 article in Varoom  magazine by Michael Salu, he quotes ''As our visual language evolves, the playing field is levelling. Graphic designs, sculptors, painters, creative developers and even musicians amorphously meander across different parts of our creative industries."

The above quote to me sparks excitement, that the industry is becoming more diverse and versatile, I think traditional illustration was more confined to just being an illustrator and only using drawing, painting, collage as means of communicating a message, this was something that worried me a little in second year when I discovered a love for making, I wasn't sure if there would be a market for me out there as my work isn't about drawings, but more about making and creating a 3D world.  However as I have progressed through the course and have looked towards wonderful inspiring illustrators such as Lord Whitney, Vanessa Boer and Polly Becker, and even Hattie Stewart - It has really instilled confidence in me that you can be true to yourself regardless of what medium you use to communicate your work and that there is a market out there regardless.

For example if there was a Theatre Set with a violinist playing music, that in a way to me is illustrating a mood, a meaning and a narrative.  That's why I am excited how the boundaries are changing, to me it says there are no limits.  I like to think in the future I will be illustrating through various mediums such as drawing, props, objects, costume and use of photography/music.  I read an article on Hattie Stewart who has been collaborating with the fashion/beauty world internationally, which really shows that different industries are inter-twining and collaborating, again this is really interesting for people such as myself who will be graduating next year. Technology developments are also altering how Illustrators create and see their work, we are also having to broaden our skill sets, which may not be a bad thing.  Another great example of a versatile illustrator is Jan Svankmajer, he uses what ever medium he feels relevant to use such as film, photography, animation, I-stop motion, drawing etc, I love that his work is varied and not confined, he also pushed the boundaries as he was banned for 10 years from making any films, due to a controversial piece he created that had political connections. 

The term 'Illustration' dates back to the 15th Century when wood cut illustration became available in books, it also originates from the latin word 'illu'stro' to enlighten or irradiate.  Polly Becker's view on what illustration means to her ''is the idea that an illustrator might be trying to elucidate, shed light, or be lucid'', this is a really nice idea, I think aims and themes in illustrators work can alter how they see illustration.  That's the beauty of it, it's different in everyones eyes and mind.

When I look back to my work in the foundation Visual Communication course, my work was very ephemeral and a little graphic, in my first year of my degree I was still very sketchbook based and my work was all flat and I didn't really take risks, then I discovered making in 3D, and I have been working this way since, developing into character making and I have recently become fascinated with props and found objects, I feel like I am still evolving though which is a humbling feeling.  I still really enjoy collage and using ink pens, I realise that I don't do as much of this anymore and I hope to get back to it soon.  In the future I hope to be playing more on the senses by collaboration or bringing my work to life by use lighting, music, props and film, and I also hope that I stay true to myself.

I personally don't think the name 'Illustration' should be changed, as it's clear that it can be interpreted in many ways and can be delivered via any medium.

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Polly Becker Assemblages

I really love Polly Becker's Assemblages that are created with found objects, children's toys, vintage paper cuttings and fabric.  They so intricate and beautiful, little narrative unfold in each composition.

Below are a few of my favourites....

Here is a link to Polly Becker's website.
I also looked at Polly Becker's Blog and read an interview she did with a French magazine Grandbag / Open Art Revue.  A really interesting read, I really liked this comment by Polly Becker:
''I think not fitting in has probably helped me, even though I am aware my work isn’t for everybody. Work that is odd might sometimes put people off, but can also be easier to notice and remember''.
It's nice reading that of someone who is practising and is making and selling work, It just shows that you should be true to yourself and your not work, and do what us natural, as I also like to 'go against the grain' as so to speak and make work that I want to, I don't want to conform or please, I just want to be true to myself and interests, and take the risk, not everyone likes everything!.
I also loved her definition of what Illustration means to her:
''I do! I notice that the word includes the root of the word for “light” –”luster” being like illumination (as in an illuminated manuscript). I love that: the idea that an illustrator might be trying to elucidate, shed light, or be lucid.''
Link to the interview here.

Web Site Review Post - PDP Level 6

Graduation is still a little way of, but already I am starting to think how things will come together in terms of promoting my illustration and making work by use of a website.  There have been a few brief discussions about this in the studio with our tutor's and from what I have gathered is that the website needs to be maintained, eye catching, easy to navigate as in clients/viewers can access an image straight away with minimum hassle as possible, I also think memorable springs to mind as it really needs to capture what I and my work are about in terms of style and themes etc.  For this short report I have tried to look at quite a few websites to get a good idea on how I would like my own website to look.  The most recent site I looked at was Joseph Cornell's 'The Joseph Cornell Box, being a maker I loved how interactive the site was, like one of his boxes was right before your eyes, very magical.  The site was really easy to navigate around as each little compartment of the box has a header in each section that appears when you hover over it, there is also a small image that shows before the header appears, which gives you a little taste of the theme and feel of his work, I like that it's interactive as I am very into engaging the viewer with my work where possible, it's also clean and simple, not too over the top and confusing, yet it's effective and the use of white background makes the elements stand out, the link to the site is here.

Vanessa Boer is a current Illustrator & Maker, I really lover her site also, again simple headers and categories that will take you straight to say her contact details or Portfolio, it's really user friendly and accessible.  It's very sophisticated and professional, once you go in to a particular section, a set of thumbnails appear so you choose the image you want to look at, I also like the portfolio is broken down into sub sections, which I feel really works if a client is looking for a certain style such as 3D or collage, it also shows the different styles you work in rather than the client having to scroll through all the images as more than likely they are under a tight schedule so I think if they can see what they want straight away, it will go in your favour.  My favourite section of her site is the studio tour, this may be because I am fascinated with peoples working spaces and things/objects they own, I think it's a really nice touch to the site especially as Vanessa Boer is a maker also, and the few carefully selected beautiful photographs that are featured on the site show a flavour and theme of what her interests are, the objects she collects which give an essence about what her work is like, this is definitely a feature I would like on my site, even if it's just a few photographs.  I think it's also nice for clients to see where the work is made as well as the finished work.  See Vanessa Boer's work here.

Roberta Wood is also an Illustrator & maker, her work is great, very colourful and busy, but I feel the layout of her website was a little busy.  Because her work is very loud I personally feel that headers or limited images would of been more effective, I also think the colour scheme and letter colouring style could be more effective as the colours don't work with the style of her work, this is only a personal based opinion. A link to her site is here.

Self Directed Project Research: Joseph Cornell

I have been looking at the wonderful book entitled: Joseph Cornell / Master of Dreams.  I looked at his worked very briefly in my first year but didn't really appreciate it as much as I do now, especially as I have discovered more about the strong themes within my work, looking at the themes in his work I was intrigued to explore his wok further, which will also form part of me research for my journal writing.

The themes he explores in his work are memory, dreams, surrealism and mystery.  These are all things that appear in my work and make me curious as an illustrator.

''A poetic theatre of memory'' quotes Diane Waldman, this quote is beautiful and it definitely captures what his work is about.  Joseph Cornell uses found objects, vintage paper cuttings and small oddities in his work to create shadow boxes that tell a narrative, meaning or sometimes they are just mystical and it's up to the viewer to apply their own perception and meaning, again this has a resonance with myself, how I want to make work, how I create work and the themes I desire to explore in my own work.

Cornell's attitude towards the world around him is that the ''universe acts as a mirror of mysterious truths'' - some which he portrays in his box constructions. (p.13)

Box Construction - Soap Bubble Set (1936)
Box Construction: Medici Princess (1948)
Box Construction: Pharmacy (1943)
Click here to see more of his work.
I just loose myself in his work, there is so much to look at, it really inspires me to think where every little piece was found, they all have little stories to tell.  For my current project I am showing the Surgeon's hidden personality and traits through objects and the things he owns and uses to preserve elements of his fascination, Pharmacy (above) is a great point of reference for ideas on how I can make, the look and feel of the work fit really well with the old/worn and vintage feel I like to use in my work and the above box constructions are so rich in narrative and have a mystery to them.