Previously, I have drawn on top of tracing paper to portray the fact that everyone else around a person in the city might as well not exist and to show the ghostly bodies of the city that move around you with zero interaction or conversation. I have now experimented with cutting a single figure out of the tracing paper and placing it over my photographs which I feel is more successful in its portraying my concept but not as visually appealing as drawing on top is.
As with my more recent photo manipulations, I started experimenting with ways of showing that vice versa, you may as well not exist to all the others around you and that not being noticed or acknowledged in the city can make you feel extremely lonely within it. The manipulation below is highly unsuccessful in my opinion, It hasn’t really worked in showing that you may as well not exist and looks unprofessional as the tracing paper shows the glue underneath it.
Due to this being unsuccessful, I experimented with cutting out all the people in an image apart from one. That one person is definitely unnoticed in the image and I feel this method of manipulating the tracing paper accurately shows that to all the other people in the city you might as well not be there. I am glad to see successes coming out of my exploration and continuous working.
I am glad my tutor suggested I continue experimenting with these materials as I believe I have created some successful outcomes here. I have also learnt what doesn’t work and progresses within my project.
As my tutor suggested, I have been conducting further experimentation into portraying the hidden loneliness of the city through photo manipulation. He suggested I considered the fact that I didn’t have to cut out the whole of the figures from my photos and that I could make statements by just cutting out certain parts. Below, I have experimented with cutting or blocking out the face of all the bodies bar one to portray the fact that in the city, all the people around you may as well just be bodies with no identity just moving around you. As you do not interact with them, they may as well have blank faces. I think this definitely shows one person to be singled out and portrays the feeling of being alone, but I do not think this manipulation is as successful as cutting out the whole figure and for me does not make as bigger impact. The white cut out faces are clear, but I feel the image below where I have blacked out the faces is highly unsuccessful and the act of manipulation is unclear.
Throughout my exploration of photo manipulation, I have focused on the fact that all the people around you in the city may as well not exist, but until now I haven’t portrayed the fact that you may as well not exist to them either. Below are some images I have worked with in portraying this idea. Feeling unnoticed and unappreciated by others is a massive contributor to feeling isolated or alone.
Here, I have scribbled out one figure. I think this is successful in making a subtle statement about people feeling lonely and going unnoticed in the city, It is not immediately obvious until you really look at the picture and draws you in to think about the reason behind blacking out a person. Below, I picked someone who goes unnoticed and is ignored by many on a daily basis, a big issue salesman and scribbled out their face to heighten the fact that their identity is unappreciated.
In my opinion, these below are my two most successful manipulations in showing the fact that you may as well not exist to others in the city, and how lonely it can feel being unnoticed. The figure is obviously singled out and prominently taken out of the picture portraying the fact that they may as well not be in it in the first place. Being different can evoke feelings of loneliness and here a white silhouette differentiates the figure from the others.
Experimenting further with photo manipulation has definitely given me new angles to explore feelings of loneliness in the city and I have explored different ways of portraying these angles. As my tutor suggested, I am now going to do some more experimentation with tracing paper and combining it with my photographs.
On reflection, painting on a variety of grounds has definitely aided my learning and expanded my knowledge as an artist. Below I have highlighted the successes and failures of working with six different grounds. I have also noted my thoughts and potential uses for the grounds that haven’t been successful for this project work.
Burnt Umber – Dark Brown
Dark Brown is definitely the one of the most successful grounds for this kind of painting. It was incredibly effortless to create shadows because I didn’t have to paint the dark areas, I just used the ground to guide me. It was easier to paint and focusing on the highlights allowed me to create a far more successful image than if I was simply working on white.
Mid Tone Ground
A mid-tone ground worked quite well, but it didn’t allow for a dark feeling painting. It is quite unsuccessful really and does not heighten the feeling of loneliness as much as a darker tone ground. Also, I found myself using the ground to guide the highlights in the image which I feel made the image look quite flat and I don’t feel there is enough contrast between the figures and the surrounding here. I am incredibly surprised by how much a ground beneath a painting actually affects the outcome in the end.
Red Textured Ground
This textured ground made it very difficult to paint the straight edges of the buildings and figures within the outcome. However, I feel quite an interesting effect has been created here. To me the red ground made the scene look almost apocalyptic which isn’t exactly the feeling I was trying to create, so in that respect it is unsuccessful, but using a textured ground was a valuable insight into effects that can be created with grounds and demonstrated to me what my tutor meant by making more work for yourself when painting on an uneven ground.
Cadmium Yellow Ground
The cadmium yellow ground did weird and wonderful things to my painting. I like the effect it created and the yellow highlights peaking through as if the sun is shining, but it does produce a positive feeling so is unsuccessful in aiding the portrayal of loneliness in the city. In the future, if I am thinking about light or painting sun light, I will consider using a cadmium yellow ground.
Dark Brown Textured Ground
Textured grounds could definitely be interesting to explore and would undoubtedly benefit an abstract piece of work, but in this painting, even though I like the effect created, it was difficult to paint any straight edges because of all the lumps and bumps. I kind of feel that the attention is detracted from the subject a little bit by the interesting textures and palette knife work highlighting the surface.
Black Emulsion Ground
The black emulsion ground is also incredibly successful. It is between this ground and the dark brown as to which one has worked best. Again, It was effortless to create shadows because I didn’t have to paint the dark areas, I just used the ground to guide me. I would say this is so successful because the highlights and white figures really stand out and the darkest areas are black so there is a lot of contrast within the work.
On reflection, painting on a variety of grounds has undoubtedly been a valuable exercise. I have learnt first hand, how the colour or texture of a ground can affect that final outcome. I have also learnt the importance of choosing the correct ground to work with and how some grounds can make the painting you are producing easier to paint or vice versa. It is important to consider how the ground that you choose could affect the mood of the piece as here some of the grounds have helped heighten a dark mood and loneliness and others haven’t. The textures grounds definitely made it more difficult to paint figuratively but could be incredibly useful and valid for abstract works. Now that I have experimented with grounds, I will produce a large piece on a dark ground to add to its success and highlight my findings from these explorations.
I took some more photographs of people in the City, again there was minimal interaction and I noticed many lonely beings. I will use these images to produce some more photo manipulation experiments and to explore ways of showing loneliness in the city by editing my images by hand.
I had a tutorial today and the tutor seemed to like my photo cut outs and tracing paper experiments so I plan on using these images to work with those ideas and develop ways of portraying urban loneliness through photo manipulation further.
The work of Nesta is highly relevant to my project. She portrays the loneliness of living in a city within her work and as I have done in my work portrays the figure as a white silhouette. However, she focuses on the fact that she may as well be invisible in the city and how she feels alone and I have looked at this subject from a different perspective.
“Alone in the City is a digital collage series based on my experiences living alone in London, I hoped to capture the day-to-day happenings of living in a big city by yourself.” -NESTA
I am focusing on everyone else around you in the city and the fact that they may as well not exist because of the loneliness and the zero conversation that occurs. I had already thought about making the figures silhouettes and white in colour to create a ghostly image, but her work confirms to me that it makes for a successful outcome.
Here are some paintings that I produced in relation with Hidden Loneliness in the city. As I’ve mentioned I was heavily influenced by the colour palette and technique in the work of an artist I saw in the urban spree gallery and the work of the user shoe18 on deviantart online (previous blog post), I made some quick sketchbook drawings and I have decided to take it further and experiment with their inspiration in my paintings. These are mixed media pieces. I have used Black and Brown drawing inks, charcoal and Acrylic paint applied with a palette knife to produce these pieces.
I am really happy with these pieces. I think they portray my concept incredibly accurately. As I proposed earlier I have painted one person in colour and everyone else as white silhouettes with slight detail. I have deliberately painted the colour figure with no features to show that you are lonely in the city and when wandering it, you may as well not have an identity. People don’t notice anything distinguishing about you at all. The dripping ink is very effective. I am really pleased with the outcomes and I think the paint being applied with a palette knife and the bleeding of the inks is really effective. I am really taking a risk working with figures as I find it extremely challenging. If I was to do this style of work on a larger scale which I am tempted to do, I will spend more time working on the figures.