PDP: Reflecting on Constellation and How it Has affected Me and My Practice

 Constellation has been an extremely valuable part of my first year studying at degree level. Attending the Key Note lectures within the first term of undertaking the constellation module opened my eyes to new ways of thinking. They taught me to think beyond what I see and to question a theory, artist’s work or object further than my initial thoughts and assumptions. I had never even considered philosophy within art before Clive’s lecture: do I have ideas or do Ideas have me? I found myself questioning this lecture for hours afterwards as it really grabbed me, it encouraged me to think about what art really is today. Although I was engaged in the lecture room, If I’m honest, I’m still not really convinced that I understand the literal and the phenomenal through no fault of the tutor and may have to research that further. Learning about artistic periods through history such as the arts and crafts movement has broadened my historical knowledge and within constellation, I have quickly learnt that you have to have knowledge of the past to create new artwork today inspired by what you know.

Study skills sessions not only allowed me to choose an appropriate tutor to aid me in my essay writing, but allowed me to gain a wider knowledge. As an artistic individual, I was not really familiar with the world of sonic arts and so it was interesting to learn about music and sound being considered and utilised as an art form. Although I’m not particularly interested in this medium, I saw how effective sound can be and within my field module thought far more carefully about the music I decided to add to stop motion animations that were produced. Something I found particularly overwhelming before attending John Clarkson’s skills session was being faced with a piece of academic text that is incredibly wordy and far away from the main point. I feel in this session, I learnt how to find the key points and to summarise academic text into my own words in order to understand its content a lot easier. This is undoubtedly a valuable skill to gain as when reading books as support for my essay and analysing artists work and information I feel I have been able to understand texts a lot better and in return been able to write a far more successful essay than if I had not attended this session. I have referred to the thoughts of Clive Cazeaux’s study skills session when writing academically also. Cath Davies’s option taught me how to analyse an image in depth and look beyond what I am seeing and consider why objects have been put a certain way or why a person created a piece of art and what message is being conveyed. I think this impacted on me as an arts person the most, as I feel I analyse my own work and the work of others a lot more successfully than when I first started the course. Ranking this as the most valuable skill I learnt, I chose her subcultural option which incorporated image analysis to write an essay from and I am definitely glad I did.

Cath Davies Subcultural Sessions that I have been attending every week have changed the way I read imagery and made me think a lot more about what I’m painting, why I’m painting it, What materials I am using, the connotations behind them and messages that I want to convey to the viewers of my work. Also, I look at other artists work far more in depth and aim to decipher why elements of their work are the way they are. I understand how artists make appropriate decisions now and how even if something looks abstract and like it doesn’t really represent anything, it most definitely does. In terms of subculture, I have learnt an incredible amount about how you can reclaim objects and change their meaning to portray a new one. My field work has been far more successful than my subject work in my opinion and I feel this is partially down to this constellation option. I have really thought about portraying a concept and how the imagery I use would portray a certain meaning. I have thought about how certain colours have connotations and will aid me in emitting a certain mood from within my work. I can confidently say that I would not have looked at images in such depth before being asked to produce my constellation case study. I chose to write about a punk aesthetic and I definitely approach my practice differently after undertaking this. Being interested in fine art, learning about destruction being creation in punk artwork could definitely inspire future projects.

Constellation has helped me achieve a lot really. It has equipped me with such a variety of tools that I will take with me throughout my degree. My eyes have been opened to the work of so many artists that I wasn’t aware of and I have learnt to consider decisions that I make within my artwork more carefully. I now think about statements that I am aiming to make and how powerfully they are being conveyed within my work.  However, there is still room for improvement and I feel that my knowledge of analysing images, understanding academic writing and having a knowledge of the original meanings of objects in order to change them will grow as I continue doing so and practice. I am sure that the concepts behind my art, its appearances and the thought processes I go through will improve as I progress through the course. Constellation has been an opportunity to progress as both an artist and an academic. We have been given the chance to take the skills we have and improve them and I have been shown new ways to understand and develop. I am confident that constellation has already made me a stronger contender for whatever I may wish to do in the future.

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